Innovation continues to keep the car wash business in constant change and forward momentum. Whether it’s an eco-friendly bacteria-based treatment of wastewater, a smart management system for ultra-concentrated car wash chemicals complete with real-time mobile alerts, or arch lighting capable of producing millions of different shades, new solutions have launched in Canada, giving indication of where the industry is going in the next two to five years.
In the recycling of water, the innovation the industry is seeing dramatically reduces waste of this important natural resource, while still giving vehicles a spotless, odourless clean and rinse.
Since 1994, Aquadetox International has been developing systems for biological wastewater treatment, including in food processing and the hotel industry, with the car wash sector being their largest client base. According to the company, which is based in Germany and has more than 6,500 clients, a single car wash wastes up to 400 litres of clean drinking water.
With a fully automated low-maintenance Aquadetox system, a car wash operation can reclaim about 90% of its annual water use (both freshwater and wastewater).
“The Aquadetox system captures the same biological process by which stream water is naturally kept clear and clean with bacteria cultures growing on the moss and rocks,” says Craig Wood, distributor of Aquadetox North America in Burlington, Ont. "And so, dirty water that flows into the system comes out clean through this bacteria.”
In fact, the reclaimed water is clean enough to re-use throughout the entire wash cycle.
Aquadetox North America launched this summer after the company’s success with its car wash system in Europe, Australia and New Zealand. Wood has 30 years of engineering experience in the oil industry and is familiar with refining processes and environmental issues.
In addition to doing right for the planet, the solution addresses water restrictions being enforced by municipalities during dry, hot weather conditions. It also makes financial sense for car wash operators for their long-term profitability and membership programs.
“Mostly the system pays for itself in about three years thanks to the cost savings in water use,” says Wood, noting the amount of H2O some large-scale car wash operations use per year would fill 21 Olympic-sized pools.
It can accommodate new builds to retrofits from other reclaim systems. He adds that the Aquadetox system includes an app for web-based monitoring and a 24/7 helpline; plus, it doesn't require high maintenance.
“We are getting a great response in Canada and the U.S. to the Aquadetox system. We offer car wash owners a complimentary, no obligation cost/savings assessment to discover how much they would actually save and what the ROI is, because each installation is a custom job,” says Wood.