Wash Rack Systems

March 11, 2013 — 1,073 views  
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Water gathers everything in its path along its way to the lowest point, flowing into our creeks, rivers, streams and lakes. It's illegal to dump any solid or liquid waste into it. Keeping our water clean is the province of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and each local SWPPP (Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan).

A dirty wash water stream can contain large amounts of oil, chemicals, solvents and other substances making it highly contaminated. Washing over porous or even hard surfaces could cause this contaminated water to enter storm drains and potentially pollute ground water. In order to be environmentally responsible and compliant, equipment and vehicles should be washed in a containment system. Containment systems allow the water to gather for recycling and any waste can be separated out and disposed of properly. As the number of laws put in place to protect the environment and regulate industrial practices increases, companies such as Riveer™ have stepped up to meet the increased demand for compliant technologies and systems.

If you have heavy equipment or a large fleet of vehicles to wash, you should be asking yourself, "What is the best way to clean them in an efficient and environmentally sound manner?"

Wash Racks

The environmentally correct way is to use a wash rack. A wash rack is a piece of equipment used to contain the pollutants that are created from washing your equipment. For solid waste, the rack is used to gather and then separate solids and contaminated wash water in the containment system. As with any other piece of equipment, the ideal wash rack should be flexible enough to meet a wide range of challenges, it should be reasonably priced, and it should operate effectively and efficiently.

Among wash rack manufacturers, Riveer has seen success specifically because their products meet the above criteria. Riveer Racks are becoming the go to solution for organizations complying with Storm Water Pollution Prevention Programs and they effectively prevent wash water from finding its way into sewer systems, streams, ponds and lakes.

If you are in the market for a wash rack, below are some of the questions you need to be asking about your operation as it relates to a wash rack system:

ü      What is the largest piece of equipment or vehicle you will be cleaning?

ü      Does it accumulate light, medium or heavy debris and soil material?

ü      How large of a pad (where the equipment sits) do you need?

ü      How many hours a day will you be washing?

ü      Is natural gas or propane available at the location?

ü      Is 208V, 230V or 460V power present?

ü      What chemical(s) will be in the wash water being generated?

ü      If you have an existing wash pad, do you want it expanded or modified?

Water Treatment Equipment Technologies

There are several types of water treatment solutions. They include:

  • Wash Pads: These portable pads allow for all of the contaminated waste and wash water to be disposed of in an environmentally appropriate manner. The pads are reusable and used especially for operating in environmentally sensitive areas.
  • Electrocoagulation: Heavy metals, suspended solids and emulsified oils are removed with this treatment using a low-voltage DC current. This causes any contaminates to coalesce and separate from the water by neutralizing the charges contained in them.
  • Injecting Chemicals: This process cleans the water by using small pumps to inject precise chemical doses into a flowing waste stream. The coagulated particles are then separated from the water.
  • Bioremediation: Effective on oil, dirt and soaps this process utilizes microbes or bacterium that naturally consume dirty wash waster oils and contaminants turning them into water and harmless carbon dioxide.
  • Mechanical Filtration: Contaminant particles like mud and sludge are prevented from flowing downstream because they are screened out with this treatment. However, this treatment is not effective for handling emulsified oils.
  • Evaporation: Subject to heat, the water evaporates leaving the solid contaminates to be disposed of. The pollutants are usually less than 10% of the total volume.
  • Ozone Injection: This process injects ozone into the waste stream. The high-intensity aeration helps prevent the accumulation of odor causing bacteria in the stream.

Some of the features to look for in a wash rack include:

  • Easy Installation: The easier to install, the better. Bolt-together systems often do not require a permit and can be erected quickly.
  • Flexible Sizing: Being able to size the system to meet the specifications of your equipment enables it to meet any of the demands of your site. A system that can expand and contract to your needs is ideal.
  • Above Ground and Portable: A wash rack that can be installed above ground is a practical way to go when the property is leased (such as in a fracking project) and where trackout requirements must be met without having to incur expensive leasehold improvements. An above ground wash rack is also good if you intend to move it or do not want to go through the process of obtaining a permit for an in-ground wash pad.
  • Safety: A low profile rack makes it easier and safer to move your equipment and employees in and out. Also, appropriately treaded and treated plate decks will help reduce slip and falls even when the surface is wet and soapy.
  • Compliant: You want to make sure that the rack meets the local SWPPP requirements in its disposal of the waste and contaminated water.
  • Options: A good wash rack system should provide customization options to meet your specific needs. Spray bars, inspection ramps, wedge wire screen filters, and suction pumps are some of the options that you should be able to choose from if you need them.
  • Technologically Current: Every part of the rack should be fitted with the most advanced technology available. For example, an automated undercarriage wash is an advanced feature that your project could benefit from having.

There are other factors to consider when deciding on a wash rack system. Remember that recycling and pre-treatment systems do not dispose of the accumulated waste. They make them ready for proper disposal according to the laws of the state. It's important to know how to dispose of the waste generated by a wash rack.

Often, a two stage wash rack may be a good option. In this type of system, solids are cleaned off with a high-flow water blaster with low psi, and then hot, high-pressure water is used to finish the job. These systems are not only productive, but they can save money on the cost of waste disposal.

Ensure that they wash pad is large enough for overspray and for the operator to move around the equipment. A 5 to 10 foot space all around the equipment is usually sufficient. Also, keep in mind that some municipalities have limits on how much of the pad needs to be covered if the material will be disposed of into a sewer. Top of the line wash rack manufacturers including Riveer, are able to customize wash rack systems to meet the demands of all local municipalities.

Be sure that the wash water is appropriate for sewer discharge. Heavy metals and other tough to handle materials will have to be dealt with on a case-by-case basis with the local municipality.

The pressure washer or cleaning fixtures have to be sized in alignment with the treatment equipment. If it's too large, there will be unnecessary water use. If it's too small the cleaning will be inefficient.