Industrial Water TreatmentTechnology

Zero Liquid discharge philosophy for recycling water at vehicle washes

There is a tendency in circular economies to implement a new model that closes the life cycle of products, services, waste, materials, water and energy in comparison to other more consumerist systems, which currently dominate the sector but are not without detractors.

This context gave rise years ago to the concept of zero liquid discharge (ZLD). The main objective is to reduce facilities’ discharge of liquid waste to an absolute minimum, obtaining reusable water for the process, minimising consumption and environmental impact.

INERCO‘s design for the application of zero liquid discharge solutions to vehicle washes enables the recycling of the liquid used to obtain clean, odourless water that can be reused.

The system is recommended for all kinds of vehicle wash facilities: for cars, trucks, trains, buses, civil engineering machinery, etc.    The system allows for economic savings, associated to the reduced consumption of water, and an environmental improvement due to the reduction in waste water discharges from the facility.

The operating model brings together INERCO’s past experience with implementing the zero liquid discharge concept in multiple facilities and processes. Requirements for the installation are:

  • The removal of solids using a combination of centrifuge, decantation and microfiltration technologies.
  • Physical/bacteriological treatment to remove microorganisms and prevent the proliferation of anaerobic bacteria.
  • The separation of greases and oils.

Advantages of zero liquid discharge at vehicle washes

In addition to the economic and environmental benefits mentioned above, the advanced design of these kinds of installations has significant advantages from an operations point of view:

  • Operating costs are minimal, as the functioning of the installation is fully automatic and requires no chemical products, ozone, or even filter elements.
  • The end-product water at all times meets regulations for the parameters generally monitored in a vehicle wash process: BOD, COD, suspended solids, greases and oils.

Definitively, the installation of a ZLD-compliant water treatment plant at vehicle washes enables significant economic savings and environmental improvement.      The past experience and excellent results obtained in Europe and Latin America represent the best guarantee for the implementation of this technology.


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Antonio Copado Ceballos

Antonio Copado Ceballos

INERCO Tratamiento de Aguas

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