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Environmental Issues / Water reclaim

Top 20 Tips for optimizing your water reclaim system

May 26, 2014
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Most of the things listed below are not daily maintenance issues, but instead are things that should be done periodically:

  1. Take the five minutes per day and do the maintenance.
  2. For our systems, daily maintenance involves: Clearing an inlet strainer: Making sure that the pumps are operating properly. It is important to realize that if this system works properly it is saving you money.  
  3. Don’t get overwhelmed by your system.
  4. If the reclaim unit is not able to pump water, it cannot deliver it to the carwash. The main function of any reclaim is to pump water through a filter and circulate the reservoir for pre-treatment. If it is not pumping water, it is typically not getting any due to plumbing issues.
  5. Treat the reclaim system the same way you treat other equipment at the wash and keep it clean and tidy.
  6. Follow the maintenance prompts provided by the touch screen/owner’s manual for best results.
  7. Periodically check the reclaim reservoir to make sure that it is full of water and not full of sediments.
  8. Make sure the water can flow freely from the wash trough to the reclaim reservoir. If full of sediments have them removed to prevent from damaging pumps.
  9. Periodically check the reclaim plumbing for blockage and make sure all lines are flowing properly.
  10. When plumbing lines, use as few elbows as possible, these niches could become clogged over the years and be the source of pump seal loss due to inadequate water supply as well as other issues that can arise.
  11. Pick a chemical line and stick with it. Mixing and matching chemicals from different vendors can wreak havoc on the reclaim reservoir pits.
  12. Make sure that you are mixing your chemicals at the proper rate. Too much dressing, such as mineral seal oil and silicone, is an issue for all reclaim water. Chemical reactions that occur from mixing and matching and overuse of chemical make it very difficult to pre-treat the reclaim reservoir pits. Remember, what goes in is a direct result of what comes out.
  13. Keep the introduction of grease, oil and foreign matter to a minimum into your reclaim pits. Your reclaim provider will give you ways to combat these issues, but it is difficult to hit a moving target if you are not consistent with your chemicals.  
  14. It is a good idea to dam off any silicone based products from the reclaim reservoir pits.
  15. In order to optimize your reclaim water quality and use, you should experiment with your chemicals and use as little as possible to get the clean car you are looking for.
  16. The biggest mistakes we see are in the plumbing of the reclaim reservoir to the equipment room and the electrical service for the pump room. When the plumbing is done incorrectly it hampers the ability of the reclaim to operate on a consistent basis. This is a huge issue in the carwash industry and is the reason some owners have become disillusioned with reclaim systems over the years.
  17. If you haven’t yet installed a system, note that if the unit is plumbed correctly you will not have the issues down the road that lead one to blame the reclaim system for subpar performance. Do not skimp or cut corners on the plumbing of the reclaim system. Generally this plumbing is underground, make sure it is done right before being buried or paved over.
  18. Also, most of the systems use centrifugal pumps to draw the water from the storage tanks and send to the wash process. This means that distance from the reservoir to the reclaim equipment is another point that seems to get overlooked or not considered when installing a reclaim system. This distance should be as short and as direct as possible between the two.
  19. Operators need to make sure that the breakers and electrical lines are sized properly.
  20. With the use of VFDs and PLCs in today’s reclaims, it is imperative that the wire size is adequate for the length of run from the service panel to the unit, and that there are proper PE Grounds in the circuit. Crossing grounds, improper PE grounds, and pulling power sources from otherwise dedicated circuits is a huge problem that we see. This goes for all equipment involved, not just reclaim units

Stan Royal is vice president, sales, for Con-Serv Manufacturing, which is located in Lakeland, FL. He can be reached at sroyal@con-servwater.com or at (800) 868 9888. Website: www.con-servwater.com.

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