Basalt carwash installs new technology to save water | AspenTimes.com
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Basalt carwash installs new technology to save water

The environmental consequences of washing your car during a summer drought or washing it repeatedly during the winter to remove magnesium chloride are starting to drop.The owners of the carwash at the Basalt Store said they invested in a new-and-improved recycling system that reduces the amount of water used from 45 to 55 gallons per vehicle to about 14 gallons.”We’re kind of at the front end [of this new technology] but it’s going to be ubiquitous,” said Jon Seigle, a partner in the store and carwash.He said water recycling technology has improved drastically since 2001, when the Basalt Store’s carwash was installed. At that time, he and his partners invested $30,000 for a recycling system that he acknowledged wasn’t all that great.That system filtered the water but didn’t capture small particles. The water recycled by that system could only be used for high-pressure rinses and to clean the undercarriage of vehicles. The new system by VERWater Environmental LLC recycles water so clean it looks like it came out of the tap, according to Seigle. That water can be used for everything to wash a car except the final rinse, he said.The new system forgoes filters in favor of infusing at least 60 percent oxygen into the water and creating optimal conditions for aerobic bacteria to form, according to the manufacturer’s information. That bacteria consumes and removes organic materials from the wastewater.The system is designed to break down all waxes, detergents and oil emulsions that get washed down the drain. VERWater’s motto is, “Working with Mother Nature to refresh dirty wash water back to its original condition.”Seigle said he wasn’t willing to buy into the claim without intensive research because it meant writing off the $30,000 he invested in the original system and spending $75,000 for VERWater’s system.But Seigle figured the extra investment will pay for itself in five or six years because of savings on water and sewer charges. The new system should save him $8,000 per year on those charges.The savings comes at a time when Basalt is increasing water rates to try to force greater conservation.Seigle said the Basalt Sanitation District will measure the carwash’s discharge of wastewater during its busiest time between January and March next year. His rate will be adjusted if the wastewater reduction is as drastic as he anticipates.Along with being more environmentally friendly, the new system will produce a better car wash than his old system, Seigle claimed. “There’s no question about it. It’s going to be as different as night and day,” he said.That was another impetus behind the change, along with water conservation. Seigle said the carwash business is more competitive than ever with the opening of the Willits General Store.But he predicted it is just a matter of time before every carwash has the top-of-the-line recycling technology.Scott Condon’s e-mail address is scondon@aspentimes.com


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