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Refurbish your carwash for a greener clean

Top considerations when choosing a water reclamation system.


We’ve all heard how consumers are increasingly supporting businesses that are introducing sustainable practices into their operations. A study by BDC (Business Development Bank of Canada) confirm this is a new reality that businesses can’t afford to ignore:

  • Half of Canadians are inclined to buy environmentally friendly products.

  • 75% of consumers would pay more for products and services from a socially responsible company.

  • 90% of consumers would stop buying from a company using irresponsible practices.

However, as a carwash owner, this stat may be of even more interest: By installing a good quality water reclamation system, your carwash can reduce your water and sewage bill by as much as 60%.

There are several water reclamation systems available. Here are some key considerations when choosing the one that is right for your operation.

1. What type of carwash are you operating?

There are water reclamation systems available for all brands, types and styles of carwash. Water consumption and operating parameters will be determined by the type of system you have.

Reclaimed water can be used for the following applications:

  • In-bay automatic touchless: high-pressure undercarriage rinse and high pressure passes.

  • In-bay automatic friction: undercarriage rinse, foam-friction side-warp, top brush or cloth mitter.

  • Exterior tunnel: undercarriage rinse, high and low-side washers, mitters, wheel washers, side and top blasters.

2. What percentage of recycled water can you expect to use?

While it would be nice to be able to use 100% reclaimed water, fresh or spot-free water is still required to ensure a quality wash. For a premium wash, you are probably looking at a mixture that includes 20% – 30% clean water (depending on the manufacturer and type of system).

The car wash manufacturer will be able to do the math for you.

3. What size of storage tanks do I need?

Reclamation systems work by collecting water in a tank called a clarifier tank where suspended solids (such as salt, sand, silt, waxes, soaps, BOD, COD, TSS and dissolved solids) settle – leaving clear water. This is called a bio/mechanical filtration process.

An improperly sized tank can result in cross contamination of your reuse stream. Your engineering firm or manufacturer will advise you on the correct size of tank required for based on your system and water volumes. So, I’ve installed a water reclamation system… what next?

Share the good news with your customers. Let everyone know that your car wash is doing its part to act an environmentally responsible manner. Be sure to mention any certifications your system has achieved. One certification which is worth having is the WaterSavers® designation – available from the Canadian Carwash Association. To qualify, you must meet the following requirements:

  • A water recycling system or a maximum use of 40 gallons/ car

  • Maintaining maximum efficiency of water saving devices and spray nozzles

  • Protection of our streams, rivers, lakes, and oceans by controlled discharge of waste water to municipal water treatment facilities, or as required by local ordinance

Those who achieve WaterSavers® certification receive marketing materials designed to help you explain what it means to your customers. For more information on the WaterSavers program, click here.


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