With the droughts that have plagued much of the country over the past several years, the subject of carwash water has taken on increasing importance. Ever strengthening Envrionmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations and federal mandates indicate that recycling carwash water is high on their agenda in addressing these water problems.
Water is the single greatest input used in washing vehicles. Unfortunately, water recycling seems to have gotten somewhat of a black eye over the years. Early systems were unsophisticated and produced water that looked and smelled dirty.
Such systems are still used today, but they can also be very detrimental to a carwash facility by turning away customers and causing premature equipment failures or maintenance nightmares.
Modern technologies have eradicated many of the drawbacks to the earlier systems. Competition has forced reclaim system manufacturers to improve equipment designs thus, offering the end user a much better water quality with far less maintenance hassles.
When done correctly, recycling wash water can be an effective means for carwash operators to meet water conservation and environmental regulations. In addition, recycling makes very good business sense by saving up to 90 percent on water and sewer bills and lowering or eliminating sewer hook up fees often associated with car wash facilities.
The key to a successful water recycling program is to attain a system that is cost effective, provides quality, odor free water and doesn’t require you to baby-sit or spend a fortune to keep it up and running. As with most equipment, it is wise to invest a little more upfront to get a system that will serve you well.
To the inexperienced, price often an indicator of quality and/or performance. In the reclaim system market, don’t let yourself be pulled into this trap. There are systems on the market for half the price of expensive ones that work just as good or better. Very expensive reclaim systems typically indicate complex or cumbersome designs that require a rocket scientist to set up and operate or maintain. For a good quality system, typically you can expect to spend between $15,000 and $30,000, depending on your car wash size and requirements.
Although there are many reclaim systems available, there are only a handful that have tackled the true issues at hand of cost effectiveness while maintaining good quality water and total odor control. It is advisable to do your homework, shop around, gather references and weigh out your wants and needs prior to making an investment. A little common sense can go a long way in the reclaim market.
Ben Franklin put it well with his famous quote: “We do not appreciate water until the well runs dry” It is a wise man that recognizes the value of this statement and takes steps to preserve his existing resources today.