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Nostalgia is king at Rock-N-Wash™


0037_John Kroetch _YCM March 2014_Environmental ProfileIt’s been two years in the making, but Sylvain Blouin’s vision of a 50s- and 60s-themed car wash is finally a reality. Rock-N-Wash™ opened its doors this past fall, offering Edmonton customers a modern wash site with all the bells and whistles.

The total project cost Blouin $7.5 million and features 12 self-wash bays, 2 truck and RV bays, a 100-foot touchless Belanger wash tunnel, a retail store, and in the spring, an RV dump station with fresh water fill.

For Blouin, his business is all about providing a one-of-a-kind experience for his customers.

“When the door goes up on the soft wash bay, and clients come in for the first time, I just love watching their reactions through the windshield,” says Blouin. What they see are 12 LED lights and four-foot-tall Coca-Cola bottles at the end of each bay, a green feature wall by the retail store covered in vinyl records, 8 tracks, and of course, in keeping with the theme, two disco balls. There’s also rock-and-roll music playing throughout the site as well as outside.

A new precedent 

The unique, concept-driven car wash is based on eras gone by, but the technology at this site is anything but nostalgic. In fact, Rock-N-Wash™ has set an industry benchmark in Alberta with its grey water system.

In the car wash world, grey water simply refers to the water that has been previously used to wash a vehicle. With a reclaim system in place from PurClean PurWater, this water is captured, treated, and reused during specific cycles.0002_John Kroetch _YCM March 2014_Environmental Profile

The price tag for the grey water equipment came out at $75,000, and total implementation costs totaled $250,000, including sumps, concrete, design, pipes, labor, and engineering.

But it wasn’t easy. After six months of red tape, Blouin admits he almost gave up. “For the province, it’s a big deal because it’s the first time, so we’re all hoping that Rock-N-Wash™ will help others going forward and establish a benchmark.”

To learn more about Rock-N-Wash™ visit

What’s grey water?

In the professional car wash industry, grey water refers to the water that has been previously used to wash a vehicle. “The wash water is captured in a series of large underground water storage tanks designed specifically to promote settling and separation of solids (dirt) from the water,” explains Gary Hirsh, president of PurClean PurWater. “Each tank has a baffle or floor-to-ceiling wall that essentially divides the tank in half to retain the solids and allow the water to flow to the next tank in the series.” This results in the water getting progressively cleaner, with the cleanest water ending up in the last tank in the series.

“By incorporating the environmentally friendly PurWater™ Recovery system into a wash, the operator can conservatively reduce his fresh water usage by as much as 75% without negatively impacting wash quality,” explains Hirsh. The system also discharges a cleaner quality of water back to the municipality, which significantly reduces their cost of water treatment.

Quick tips:

Research your options. Attend industry shows and conduct research to learn about options for environmentally responsible upgrades.

Understand legislation. Before any planning begins, look into local legislation to find out what exists in your area.

Turn to the pros. Enlist the expertise of those in the know to ensure you’re navigating any bylaws correctly 

Stick to it. Red tape and setbacks are part of the process, so don’t give up if you believe in the end product or result.