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Environmental Responsibility and Pressure Washer Wastewater Recovery
 
 
Wastewater Recovery

The past two decades have brought significant changes to the pressure washing industry. Newer chemicals and technology, along with better techniques and more regulation, are just some of the ways that our business has been revolutionized.  Wastewater recovery has become a particular issue, as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) creates new policies aimed at protecting our environment.

Wastewater recovery, in particular, has been in the limelight as government agencies strive to educate the public and enforce sanctions against people who violate policy. The EPA position on this is that no substance, other than rainwater, should enter the sewer and storm drain system.  This is especially important for PH-altering cleaning chemicals. Sanctions for discharging polluted water can be serious. Fines and even imprisonment can result if a company is found to be in violation.

In Georgia, authorities urge consumers to investigate a power washing contactor’s wastewater recovery practices before hiring them. An online statement is available that warns them of the risk of contaminated water entering the public streams and water systems. As this becomes increasingly common, it will be more important than ever for power washing companies to get on board with legislative changes.

Wastewater Recovery Systems for Power Washers

The best system will depend on exactly what you are cleaning. Mats are good for large objects, such as rail cars. The mats come in a variety of sizes and transport easily. The relatively low cost is an added bonus. Other options include drain cover, drain seals, and point-of-recovery systems.

Point of recovery systems operate by vacuum. The larger units can be quite expensive, but has the added advantage of being an all in one piece of equipment. It is also good for those who accept higher paying environmentally sensitive jobs. Wastewater recovery tanks store the water for discharge or transporting.  Special filters trap debris as the water passes into the container.

To further complicate the matter, you must also decide what to do with the water once you have collected it. Some municipalities permit you to dispose of it in a drain, but many will not. If you think it would be easier to just haul it back to your shop and get rid of it, think again. States such as California require permits and special container labeling before it can be transported. The only option may be to pay another company to dispose of the wastewater for you.

The best solution may lie in systems that have built in wastewater recovery filters. These are capable of removing the contaminants most often associated with pressure washing: fuel, grease, oil, chemicals, and heavy metals. While the technology for this is improving, the current disadvantage is that it requires different types of filters for each pollutant. The number and type of filter varies among manufacturers.

A flocculent filtration system is superior to those using sand or activated charcoal. It catches more contaminates and is less expensive. The big bonus is that once the sludge had dried, it can be disposed of in a regular fashion.  There are other types of wastewater recovery methods available, but the most important thing is being environmentally aware of the need.  As our livelihood depends on the availability of clean water, it behooves us to encourage self-regulation.