Ecologic international has introduced wash water recycling systems that can eliminate contaminants and lower heavy equipment washing costs.
Today a wide range of businesses from heavy equipment dealers to mines to golf courses to auto dealerships are faced with the problem of reducing their water consumption and eliminating harmful contaminants in their wash water discharge.
Over the past decade the majority of heavy industrial wash water dischargers, referred to as point sources have cleaned up their operations to meet improved environmental regulations.
Now the focus has shifted to smaller (trade waste) generators known as non-point sources. Trade waste is liquid waste generated from any business (commercial or industrial) other than domestic sewerage. Common trade waste streams originate from equipment/vehicle wash bays, cooling towers and manufacturing processes.
In many cases businesses may have been discharging trade waste streams to ground or sewer for a long period of time without consequence.
Discharging the trade waste to sewer, ground or storm systems without approval is now illegal and can bring large penalties. It is one’s responsibility to obtain a trade waste certificate and in most cases take steps to treat or reduce the level of contaminants in the wastewater.
Besides the illegality of discharging trade waste without approval in the country now faces a dire water shortage brought about by the past misuse of this natural resource.
The destruction of water tables and desertification of soils has destroyed civilizations before and is capable of doing it again. Instead of turning to water trading and desalination projects, Australian’s must focus on grassroots solutions, starting with pollution control and water conservation.
Eliminating discharges requires careful evaluation of current practices. Determine which practices produce unnecessary wastewater and if possible discontinue them. If practices must continue then take steps to prevent or reduce discharges.
For example, elimination of needless contaminated run off water may be as easy as covering piles of material stored outdoors with a tarp or roof to prevent contact with rain water. This practice can usually reduce large volumes of contaminated storm water and is relatively inexpensive to implement.
Where cleaning operations such as equipment or vehicle washing must continue, the action to be taken is to minimize the volume as wastewater by pressure cleaning rather than using a tap and hose (this will provide more efficient cleaning with less than half the water usage) and reclaim the wash water for reuse in washing operations.
Reclaiming water for use:
Water filtration and purification systems are used for this purpose. Typical systems rely upon a variety of methods to remove contaminants from the wash water and make it suitable for reuse in the washing process.
There is no need to purify water to drinking standards when reclaiming for further washing operations. It is however a requirement to ensure the recycled water does not create a pathogen risk to the end user or general public.
The right wash water recycling application for operations:
Many variables must be considered including types and quantities of contaminants, the available space, volume of water needed, environmental conditions and climate are some of the factors to consider.
Each business must make a detailed examination of its needs, both current and future with regard to water use. If all activities are identified early a system can be installed that will take care of a number of needs.
Wash water recycling systems have limitations that must be understood. Some are separators and concentrators while others aim at elimination of contaminants. In the case of separators and concentrators, at some point in time the contaminants must be removed from the system and disposed of properly.
Normally, contaminants collected in a wash water recycle system will be concentrated and have a small volume, thus their disposal costs will be minimized. Water in a separator or concentrator can be used several times before it accumulates an excess of dissolved solids and needs to be replaced.
Two types of solid contaminants are present in wash water, suspended and dissolved. Lower cost recycle systems can remove suspended solids while more expensive equipment is required to remove dissolved solids.
Systems which are able to eliminate contaminants in wastewater employ much more sophisticated technology such as reverse osmosis and thermo oxidation.
Save Water, Save Money:
Consumption based (user pays) water and wastewater pricing has now been established throughout Australia. Non-residential pricing involves paying to be connected to town supply and paying for the water used, paying for connection to city sewer and paying for wastewater volume discharged.
There are many ways to save water in business by using less water and paying less. By recycling wastewater one can also avoid illegal discharge penalties and downstream litigation for accidental and prior unauthorised activities.
Systems that recycle wastewater for reuse provide financially feasible solutions to waste management problems. As Australia develops tougher regulations in regards to trade waste discharge and the cost of water unavoidably increases, cost effective water management systems have become a necessity.