Zeta Rod® biofouling prevention technology drives car wash cost savings

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Operations Manager Eric Traband: “I’m sold on this [Zeta Rod] sys­tem. What I have now is an odor-free and bac­te­ria-con­trolled envi­ron­ment, I’m using a lot less water, and cut­ting my over­all costs. This sys­tem is a win­ner.”

Within 60 days, results of the Zeta Rod instal­la­tion into the Mill Valley Car Wash were impres­sive:
• Reduced water con­sump­tion per vehi­cle from 48.75 gal­lons per car (gpc) to 35.51 gpc; a net reduc­tion of 27% per vehi­cle
• 235,000 gal­lons of water saved in 60 days
• 38% drop in the total per vehi­cle wash­ing cost

MILL VALLEY, Calif., April 2003 – Car wash Operations Manager, Eric Traband, recent­ly demon­strat­ed to his boss why he had been named a nation­al Car Wash Manager of the Year in 2000. Traband, an 11-year vet­er­an of the indus­try, seized an oppor­tu­ni­ty to help trim his car­wash operation’s spi­ral­ing water costs and, at the same time, deliv­er bet­ter, more effi­cient ser­vice to his grow­ing ros­ter of cus­tomers.

The Mill Valley, California Car Wash serves a decid­ed­ly upscale clien­tele with a brush­less, hand-wash­ing process that allows cus­tomers to remain in their vehi­cles as they are drawn through a tun­nel for a three-cycle wash.

High costs & odors associated with water recycle in car wash operations

As the oper­a­tion grew, so did its water con­sump­tion. Traband saw his bills for fresh water sky­rock­et­ing. In a state where water has become a pre­cious com­mod­i­ty, exces­sive use can be both cost­ly and con­sid­ered envi­ron­men­tal­ly insen­si­tive.

Most car wash oper­a­tions are able to com­bat this expense by installing and using reclaimed water. At Mill Valley, how­ev­er, this solu­tion was­n’t so sim­ple. “Our goal had always been to use reclaimed water as much as pos­si­ble in our sys­tem,” Traband not­ed, “but the bac­te­ria and odors that went along with using it were a big prob­lem. I want­ed to get rid of them for my cus­tomers.”

In addi­tion, he said, the low­er tun­nel walls were col­lect­ing a mud­dy film that was next to impos­si­ble to keep clean. Prep gun noz­zle clog­ging and oth­er mechan­i­cal issues added to the prob­lems.

Zeta Rod® water treatment technology to the rescue

Traband’s boss, Richard Mills, agreed to give the suc­cess­ful Tucson, Arizona-based water and flu­ids treat­ment com­pa­ny a shot at clean­ing up their reclaimed water suf­fi­cient­ly to enable them to use their sys­tem again. They knew that Zeta had suc­cess­ful­ly treat­ed water and indus­tri­al flu­ids using its patent­ed, Zeta Rod® sys­tems in sev­er­al large-scale appli­ca­tions— indus­tri­al cool­ing tow­ers, met­al­work­ing flu­ids machin­ery and HVAC equip­ment, to name a few, but this was some­thing else entire­ly.

After just one week, Traband said he start­ed to see results. “The bad odors were sim­ply not present,” he report­ed. “Also, the wash tun­nel itself appeared much clean­er. The thick film that usu­al­ly accu­mu­lat­ed along the low­er walls was near­ly gone.” But ulti­mate­ly, Traband said, it would be the water bill that would tru­ly mea­sure suc­cess.”

click here to link to the Mill Valley Car Wash Case Study