More and more, the regulations of the EPA and the local municipalities are requiring companies, including commercial Pressure Washer companies to think long and hard about what they are going to do about their Wash Water Waste or face stiff fines and penalties. There is just no way, in this environmentally sensitive climate for anyone to think any longer that their wash water waste is harmless to the environment or even to public sewer systems. Therefore, proper water treatment is vital to any company’s protocol when it comes to dealing with Wash Water Waste. The question is, what viable Water Treatment option are available? The answer ought to be quite encouraging to the problem needing to be solved. For companies that used to be known primarily for their lines of Pressure Washers, like Karcher, LANDA and Mi-T-M to name but a few, have also made significant strides in providing specific lines of Water Treatment Equipment. These lines of Water Treatment Equipment are providing many alternatives for dealing with wash water waste such as Evaporation, Bioremediation, Clay Filtration, Mechanical Filtration, Chemical & Electrical Coagulation as well as various combinations of each. Picking and choosing between these will of course depend upon the particulars of your typical Wash Water Waste Stream. I will address this subject in a separate blog. However here, I wish to address the three basic choices you have when it comes to proper handling of your Wash Water Waste: Evaporation, Hauling the Wash Water Waste Away, Water Treatment and Wash Water Recycling. Almost any one of these is a viable option for virtually any company, with few exceptions. Each alternative also provides its own set of advantages and disadvantages.

  1. Evaporation: Is basically a “set it and forget it” piece of Water Treatment Equipment. And although technically, it is water treatment, it aims at entirely eliminating the problem by evaporating the Wash Water Waste by way of equipment such as the WaterMaze HBG Evaporator, which can evaporate up to 30 gallons of Wash Water Waste an hour. This alternative seems the simplest of any, and it is! However, it is also quite expensive. Even though the WaterMaze HBG is reasonably priced, comparatively speaking, and it also is extremely efficient, it does however still require a great deal of energy to be able to totally evaporate the Wash Water Waste it has been assigned to manage. It is this cost of running the HBG that must be weighed out against the alternatives of Water Treatment, Wash Water Recycling or having it hauled away all together. It also has a long way to go before it could become portable enough for the commercial Pressure Washing Company.
  2. Hauling the Wash Water Waste Away: This is basically another simple way in which to handle the problem of Wash Water Waste. However, it still does not relieve of the “cradle to grave” responsibility the EPA puts on all Waste Water; that you own it no matter who takes it, where it goes and what they do to it. Therefore, if a hauling company mismanages your Wash Water Waste, the liability still falls upon you. This method is also quite expensive, certainly amongst the most reputable hauling companies. Therefore, while it might seem a simple and equitable way to handle your Wash Water Waste, this is not the case if you have long term Wash Water Waste to manage and worse still, if you are fined by the negligence of a disreputable hauling company. Most companies prefer to be more fugal and hands on when it comes to the long-term management of their Wash Water Waste.
  3. Water Treatment: This alternative is probably the most common. Even the early Mechanical Filtration Units of Water Treatment Equipment provided the end user a reliable way of removing harmful particulates and suspended solids from their Wash Water Waste Stream. There have been however limitations and drawbacks to the Mechanical Filtration methods. These units take up a good size footprint because of their size, they used to require a lot of day-to-day maintenance and like with any filtration system, there is only so much the filtration can remove and on a diminishing basis as the equipment is used over time. With the advancements that have made, not only have the Mechanical Filtration systems improved tremendously, but also now with the introduction of Bioremedial and Coagulation technologies, Wash Water Waste Streams can be individually treated and brought within the parameters of being able to be put into virtually any public sewer system.
  4. Wash Water Recycling: This is the most environmentally friendly alternative of them all. It seeks to utilize one, some or all of the Water Treatment Equipment alternatives in such a way as to reutilize the Wash Water Waste all over again.  Certainly this is a noble goal and reasonable achievable, within some realistic guidelines. The truth is that Wash Water Waste can never be 100% cleaned of all of its particulates and suspended solids. It also must be understood that such treatment of the water has a negative effect upon it. It can harden the water and therefore take away from it the very characteristics that make the water be a good liquid for washing. However, when extensive treatment of water occurs, the water can get hard and hard water doesn’t wash well. And yes, the water can be treated to soften it some, but it will never be the wash water it first was. That being said, there is a natural reality that occurs or could be included within the protocol of managing a wash water waste stream. By introducing, periodically fresh water or rinse water into the Water Treatment System, this has a natural “refreshing” effect upon the treated water. In most cases this is not hard to do as there is a natural evaporation of the Wash Water Waste that does occur, allowing for the introduction of some fresh water into the system. In those situations where this process is not viable, a forced introduction of fresh water can occur by way of a periodic hauling away of some of the “Over Treated” Wash Water Waste and thus allowing for fresh water to be always introduced to the system.
  1. The asphalt slopes to the center and because of the natural slope of the ground drains to the end of the wash pad. The location of the sump can be located any where within the wash pad, also the design allows the wash pad to be located away from the water.

  2. Washing vehicles on hard, impervious surfaces such as concrete areas can cause wash wastewater flow into storm drains. It is necessary to find out if area storm and sanitary sewers are combined or separate systems. Many storm and s a n i t a ry sewers in the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRDGC) are combined before the final discharge point; therefore, most wastewater is treated before it is discharged to surface water bodies such as rivers, lakes, and streams. Many newer areas and other cities have separate sewer systems; therefore, wastewater discharged to storm sewers is discharged directly to water bodies without treatment to remove pollutants. Car wash wastewater can be harmful to humans, plants, and animals if released untreated to surface water bodies. Additionally, allowing wash wastewater to soak into the ground can be harmful because the wastewater may contaminate soil and groundwater. More information on how to prevent soil and groundwater contamination is presented later in this fact sheet.

  3. Clean Harbors’ Deer Trail, Colorado facility is a fully permitted Subtitle C landfill authorized to treat, store, and dispose of a wide variety of hazardous and industrial wastes including RCRA, TSCA (megarule) and debris for encapsulation. Clean Harbors’ Buttonwillow, California facility is also a fully permitted Subtitle C landfill authorized to treat, store, and dispose of a large number of RCRA hazardous wastes, California hazardous waste, and non-hazardous waste for stabilization treatment, solidification, and landfill.

  4. The SCAT Machine requires water, AC electricity, and connection to a sewage treatment plant. It uses 176 liters of water per flush, and can use over 1,893 liters in an hour during heavy use. A holding tank is not recommended. In areas with very good soil percolation and a deep water table, a septic tank with a large leach field may be possible. To use the SCAT Machine, the container is strapped in the machine, the lid is removed from the waste container and placed in a rack, and the SCAT Machine door is closed. The SCATMachine flushes the waste and pressure washes the container and lid. Wash tables function much like fish cleaning stations. Waste containers are dumped through a hole into a vault and the container is hosed out. The wash table requires water and a holding tank, compost digester, or septic tank. Venting is very important to control odors.

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