For many PEP members, simply satisfying environmental laws or regulations is not enough; wherever possible, they choose to surpass regulations through innovation.
This philosophy is what drove a local environmental engineering firm and PEP member, McFadden Engineering, to introduce an innovative patent-pending water treatment solution designed specifically for small- to mid-sized businesses that removes 98% of contaminants.
“Our target is smaller industry, smaller flow problems that sometimes get forgotten about because many companies market mainly to large industry,” says McFadden Engineering President Frank McFadden. "Our philosophy is if you’re going to treat water, it’s really easy to go the extra mile and get much better treated water for just a little more money. You don’t just have to meet the permit requirements; you can far exceed it. The result is enhancements to the receiving water.”
McFadden’s new wastewater treatment system, OxyShark®, has debuted at four Mobile, Ala., companies including an oyster processing facility, a commercial specialty wastewater facility, and two local car washes.
The new wastewater treatment system is a biological system. Simulating nature, “friendly” microscopic organisms consume pollutants within the water, and then ozone aeration adds the finishing touches, disinfecting and removing foam, color and odor. Within a tank the size of a cargo van, woven filters offer more than an acre of surface area to house organisms. The result is water so clean it could almost be drinking water, McFadden says.
Treating the water gives the Mobile, Alabama-based Rich’s Car Wash chain more options for how they handle their waste water and saves money and water. Most car washes receive water from the local utility and then return their wastewater to the utility’s sewers. A typical carwash can use 20,000 to 30,000 gallons per day of water, or 7-10 million gallons of water per year. The new McFadden system allows Rich’s Car Wash to reuse 80-90% of its water which translates to a huge water and sewer bill savings each month.
The car wash now has the option to discharge any leftover treated and clean water into an adjacent stream because the new system has treated it so effectively, McFadden says. After careful review of the treatment system’s capabilities, this discharge process was permitted by the City of Mobile, Mobile Area Water and Sewer Systems (MAWSS), and the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM). The treated water has BOD levels in the single digits, which is very close to background water quality levels of the adjacent stream, McFadden says.
The goal was to exceed regulations, he reiterates. “The water that comes out of a car wash is not terribly bad, but it could do some damage if you just release it without treatment. Our water far exceeds the requirements of ADEM.