HK Pretreatment Plant Goes Green

Go Green! Curb-It! Reduce, Reuse, Recycle! These phrases and others like them dominate the headlines in newspapers, magazines and websites every day. From small-town middle America to the big-city corporate giants, people are recognizing the importance of doing the right thing. Day-by-day, attitudes and mindsets are beginning to change and here at Hydro-Klean, we are working to do our part in the HK Pretreatment Plant.

Once only a concept on the back of a napkin, the HK Pretreatment Plant has become a vital part of the solutions that we regularly provide to our customers. The plant accepts most of the non-hazardous waste we collect during industrial cleaning operations, spill cleanup activities and scheduled waste disposal services. To prevent cross contamination between batches and avoid undesirable situations during on-site transfers, we wash out every Hydro-Klean debris tank between loads.

Dramatic Water Use Cuts
Although we recognized the importance of the washout procedure, a couple of years ago it became obvious that it consumed quite a large volume of water every day. In 2006 for example, the plant received approximately 750 bulk deliveries. Assuming it takes about 200 gallons of water to clean each truck, we purchased approximately 150,000 gallons from the local water works. However after searching through our spare parts bins and selection of used equipment, we configured a system to recycle the effluent water to perform the debris tank washouts in 2007. The modification saved enough water to fill approximately twenty-five, average-sized family swimming pools!

Solid Waste Reductions
Late in 2006, we also brought our new, forty-eight-cubic-foot filter press into operation to dewater the solids from the treatment process. Although we expected the filter press to yield measurable improvements in efficiency over our previous rotary vacuum drum, we were shocked to see the final numbers.

Employing the filter press allowed us to discharge sixty percent more water into the sanitary sewer in 2007 than we did in 2006, and reduced the amount of solids we hauled to the landfill by almost eighteen percent. Disposing of solids is not only costly, but also takes up vital landfill space. The acquisition of the filter press allowed us to decrease our operating costs, as well as our impact on the local landfill.

In 2008, we again are  committed to making our operation self-sustaining as possible. As we saw in 2007, our initiatives made both environmental and financial sense. To build on the debris-tank washout system, we already have  added additional pumps and piping so that we can recycle effluent water to clean out each of our treatment tanks between batches. Since we now utilize effluent water throughout the plant wherever possible, we use less than fifty gallons of water per week of potable water, which is required to mix one of our concentrated treatment polymers.

An Exciting Commitment
We definitely are  pleased with our progress. As the bar for environmental standards and awareness continues to rise, the rewards from finding new, creative solutions keep growing. We already have upgraded our lighting to high-energy, efficient fluorescents and installed motion-controlled switches in our offices. Future plant expansion plans are  rooted in the principles of renewable energy. However as we continue learning about innovative ideas and options, it is safe to say that we rarely believe in leaving well enough alone.

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