The Importance of Car Wash Water Recycling

Most people are surprised to find out that a commercial car wash uses less water and is more environmentally friendly than washing your car

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water dripping from top of car washMost people are surprised to find out that a commercial car wash uses less water and is more environmentally friendly than washing your car at home. How is this possible? Car wash water recycling! Installing a water reclaim system in your car wash makes it more efficient, more sustainable, and cuts water costs. But what is it and how does it work? We’ll break it down for you.

What Is A Water Reclaim System?

A water reclaim system gives you the ability to capture water used during a car wash. This water can then be recycled and used again during certain cycles of the wash. The benefits of these systems are two-fold: First, owners save money on utilities by not using as much water. Second, the contaminated water, full of soap, chemicals, dirt, sand, oil, grease, and other debris, is not sent back to our lakes and rivers through sanitary sewer systems.

Why Are They Important?

Car wash water recycling is very important, for both the car wash owner and the environment as a whole. The Clean Water Act mandates that contaminants and waste products cannot run off to lake or stream water. Your car wash must have water catches to capture the water and filter out contaminants before that water returns to nature. Because you have to capture the water and filter out contaminants before disposing of the water, it makes good sense to reuse that water and decrease the costs of operating your wash.

How Does It Work?

Car wash water reclaim systems work with your existing equipment, but are an independent unit. This is important to note because you can upgrade your system to include a recycling system without having to replace everything you already own.

water dripping off truck in car wash

All systems are different, but the general principle is this: The used water is collected in large tanks after each car wash. It is then treated to remove chemicals, contaminants, etc., treated for odor, and sent back to the wash system to be used again. 

After your water has been treated, you are left with a sludge, composed of the suspended solids, that you need to dispose of. How you dispose of this waste varies by location, so it is best to research your local EPA regulations. But generally, you will need to have a waste removal company remove and dispose of the sludge. Improper disposal of this sludge leads to groundwater and soil contamination, which is a huge health hazard.

Are There Ways to Reduce the Contaminants to Begin With?

If the ultimate goal is to get the contaminants out of the water so it can be reused to wash more cars, then wouldn’t it be more efficient if there were fewer contaminants to remove? Here are a few tips for reducing the numbers of toxic materials in your water:

  • Install water softeners and filtration systems
  • Use soaps and chemicals that are compatible with a reclaim system
  • Use less detergent

Feeling Overwhelmed? We Can Help!

If all of this talk of contaminants and sludge and toxic materials has your head spinning, don’t panic! The knowledgeable staff at Reliable Plus is here to help. We can assess your car wash and make recommendations for the right car wash water reclaim system. We also know about EPA regulations and can guide you through the process. Reliable Plus is your partner for any water treatment equipment you need to make your wash a success.

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