The days when wastewater was freely released into our waterways – contributing to the most significant environmental crisis in human history – are luckily well behind us. Modern business owners and industrial managers are well aware that wastewater needs to be captured and treated.
However, not just the liquid byproducts of industrial processes count as wastewater.
Runoff from wash down operations and surfaces contaminated with oil, industrial chemicals, cleaning agents, and organic matter is also considered hazardous wastewater. All developed countries’ environmental legislation requires that businesses contain and take care of this kind of runoff and not let it merge with city stormwater.
Environmental Impact of Wash Down Wastewater
Washing a single car produces 750 milliliters of contaminated sludge, containing hydrocarbons from fuel and grease, heavy metals, and surfactants (source: The Australian Car Wash Association).
Now multiply that with a number of active vehicles, and add the runoff from washing planes and huge mining vehicles. It becomes evident how something as basic as a maintenance wash down can significantly add to the overall waterway pollution.
That is why the wash down wastewater needs to be adequately controlled. It becomes easy to see why managing wash down wastewater is an essential environmental compliance requirement. Companies that don’t comply with the regulations can face fines and prosecution. The same way that commercial professional car wash facilities are obliged to strict regulations regarding the contaminated water, so are the business owners that conduct regular wash down activities at their facilities and premises.
On the upside, wash down water can be recycled if captured and treated. That can lead to a creation of a highly desirable closed system of water usage, leading to responsibility towards our shared environment, more extensive resource (water) independence, a better company rating, and long-term money-saving despite the initial investment.
To treat the runoff from the site, first, you need to find a way to capture it – and capture it efficiently.
That is where Wash Down Diversion Systems come into the picture.
What Are Wash Down Diversion Systems?
As their name implies, Wash Down Diversion Systems are designed to divert and help store the wash down wastewater, in order for it to be treated and recycled or released.
The Automated Wash Down Diversion System has a valve that automatically opens when the wash down starts, resulting in a care-free and straightforward operation. It is ideal for sites where a large number of vehicles are being washed regularly.
- Car washes
- Truck bays
- Loading bays
- Wash down bays of various types
- Equipment renting spots
Beyond vehicles, Automated Wash Down Systems can be used in other specific situations such as:
- Quarantine wash down
- Various industrial processes that create potentially hazardous runoffs.
- Industrial crate-washing.
It is essential to specify that these systems can only be used for stationary wash down operations, not mobile ones.
How Does the Automated Wash Down System Work?
The DD600 Automated Wash Down Diversion System consists of these main components:
- Demand Valve
- Copper Drive Line
- Collection poly pit
- Slit basket
- Storm Water Outlet
- Trade Waste Outlet
The heart of the system is the robust Fox demand valve, which has the prime role – sending the signal into the collection pit for the valve to open or close.
The main valve, DV150, is housed in the 600 x 600 square poly pit and protected with a slit basket to keep the gross pollutants out of it. The pit has two outlets – one trade waste, and one for stormwater.
DD 600 and the related systems are highly reliable and robustly built, making them suitable even for demanding applications such as truck washing, mining and machinery applications, and quarantine wash downs. They come in two grades – Standard (class B) and Heavy Duty.
First Flush Systems
First Flush systems capture the problematic, polluted segment of the stormwater runoff stored for further treatment. Clean stormwater is released through the system. It is designed for washing areas too large for hose cleaning at the end every wash down activity, so it has to rely on precipitation to cleanse it of chemical impurities.
The advantage of the FF600 First Flush Diversion System over the DD600 mentioned above comes in the form of the Programmable Logic Controller (PLC). PLC makes it possible to program and control the volumes that need to be collected with ease. The system can be programmed to divert a first flush volume up to 2000L on standard systems, while it retains the demand-driven (automatic) diversion capabilities. The demand-driven option requires no power to run.
Wash Down Diversion Systems And Water Recycling
As clean freshwater is becoming an ever more scarce and precious resource, there is an increasing demand for water recycling engineering solutions. Industrial activity, both large and small-scale, creates two kinds of pressure:
- Releasing polluting wastewater and runoff into the environment.
- Using large amounts of captured freshwater.
Instead of further increasing pressure on water resources, the modern industry can be a part of the solution. One of the ways to help preserve water resources and aquatic ecosystems is water recycling.
Recycled water is collected and treated salvaged wastewater and/or runoff water, purified enough so it can be re-used as clean technical water.
The most significant demand for recycled water occurs in farming and irrigation, industrial activities that use a lot of water in the production processes, and wash down operations of various kinds.
Despite the beginning unfavorable environmental parameters, these businesses can create a closed system of water usage and recycling. Investing in a water-recycling facility can be an intelligent move and a cost-effective solution – especially in circumstances when freshwater prices are sure to rise in the future, along with the more rigorous legislative environmental standards.
Wash down water recycling enables your business to capture the wash down water and use it as an alternative source of clean water. Some of the businesses that can benefit from water recycling are:
- Permanent washdown facilities;
- Carwash operations;
- Industrial vehicles wash down bays;
- …and more.
Automated Wash Down Diversion System Maintenance
As with all wastewater systems, regular servicing is required to ensure flawless and quality service of diversion systems. Nearly all elements should be serviced – including pumps, diversion systems, holding tanks, and naturally, any treatment systems that are added afterward.
Our Trade Enviro experts recommend that servicing is carried out every three months.
Collecting and treating wastewater and stormwater runoff from the wash down areas is not only a sensible thing to do but also a legal requirement.
Our robust Automated Wash Down Diversion Systems will (as long as well maintained) help you effectively and flawlessly capture the runoff that needs to be treated. Also, they have a place at the beginning of the water recycling chain – an industrial activity worth investing in, for both the present and the future.
Installing proper and quality Wash Down Diversion Systems and treatment equipment will help your washdown-dependent business be responsible towards the environment, complicit with the local environmental laws, and save you a significant amount of money in the long run.
Trade Enviro can provide expert advice to help you find the best solution for your needs.