Car Wash Uses Reeds to Recycle Water

A car wash in the UK is going the extra mile to conserve water. Pitstop, a drive through car wash in Swansea, Wales, is using a reed bed water recycling system to reduce its water use by 60 percent.

The system has reduced Pitstop’s water use from over 845,000 gallons per year to almost 343,000 gallons per year.

At that rate of savings, the car wash is looking to recoup the over $20,000 installation costs within four years. It also hopes to increase the efficiency of the reed-bed system to handle a greater volume of water in the future, ultimately becoming 100 percent efficient in its water recycling efforts.

After joining the Green Dragon initiative, a group which helps business find “environmental management systems relevant to its specific needs,” Pitstop’s owners learned about the reed-bed system.

How It Works

  • Used water from the car wash enters chambers, where gravity causes the water to settle. Then, the water is pumped up to a holding tank.
  • A release valve causes the water to travel through the reed-beds, which are set at a slight incline. Solids from the water are filtered out here and trapped in the reeds.
  • The clean water is pumped into storage tanks until it is reused.

Through the system, the company reuses almost 530,000 gallons of water annually.

The car wash is the first in the country to win an environmental award, including the Swansea Sustainability Award in 2006 and the Environmental Agency Award in 2007.

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