How to Reuse Wastewater to Wash Forklift Batteries

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By Jennifer Taylor June 13, 2016

The world may be headed for a global water crisis. The latest United Nations World Water Development Report warns that, if industries and governments don't change business as usual, there will be a 40 percent global water deficit by the year 2030.

Already, 20 percent of the world's aquifers are overexploited, the report says. As we divert freshwater from delicately balanced ecosystems, we risk a widespread loss of plant and animal life. Eventually, it will be humans themselves left to fight over the last remaining drops of clean water.

But that's a worst-case scenario. Every industry can help conserve water through a variety of low-cost, simple green initiatives. For warehousing and material handling operations that run electric forklifts, battery rooms provide a great place to limit water usage, helping to reduce the 55 percent increase in demand for water that the UN projects by 2050. 

The Environmental and Logistical Challenges of Washing Forklift Batteries

When you wash forklift batteries, you're left with gallons of dirty water that meets the legal definition of hazardous waste; you can't just dump it down the drain and start again at the tap.

As industries race toward greater environmental responsibility, decision-makers are looking for safe and economical ways to limit the volume of wastewater generated by washing forklift batteries. The easiest way to do that is to recycle the runoff from each and every wash.

Here's how to effectively institute a water-reuse program for washing forklift batteries:

Build a Closed-Loop System to Reuse Forklift Battery Wash-water

Fleet managers and battery room operators can easily reuse the same volume of water to wash battery after battery. You just need two complimentary pieces of equipment: a Battery Wash Cabinet (BWC) and a Recirculation/Neutralization System (RNS), both available from Solus Group.

Battery Wash Cabinets automate the washing process, quickly cleaning batteries without exposing staff to spray or runoff. They collect every drop of wash water, and, when connected to the RNS, pump the dirty water over into the RNS' 200 gallon tank.

When its tank fills up, the RNS automatically starts by filtering water down to 5 microns, clearing out particles of lead, dirt, and other pollutants. Then it releases a reactant into the water, neutralizing acidic content and bringing the fluid back to a safe pH level.

With the water safely treated, it's ready for reuse. Load the next battery into the BWC and activate the 12 volt DC sump pump in the bowels of the Recirculation/Neutralization System. The cleaned water flows back into the BWC, starting the whole process over again.

Because the water is completely contained in this closed-loop system at all times, there's no risk of hazardous contents escaping into the water supply. And, because the process is almost entirely automated, your staff can get back to other duties while the closed-loop system does its thing.

Wastewater Recycling SystemComprehensive Wastewater Treatment From Solus Group

While the arrangement we just discussed will allow you to wash many batteries with the same volume of water, eventually, you'll need to drain the tanks. If you don't have a way to further treat used water, that means hiring a waste disposal company to haul away the stuff. That can get expensive.

The solution is to implement your own in-house wastewater treatment equipment. A Wastewater Recycling System (WRS) from Solus Group allows you to build the same kind of closed-loop system as the RNS, but it goes the extra step to purify water to the point that it's safe and legal to release into any metropolitan sewer system.  

Either piece of equipment will save you time and money. Even better, you'll be doing your part to veer away from a cataclysmic water shortage for our children and our children's children.

"Water recycling has proven to be effective and successful in creating a new and reliable water supply without compromising public health," writes the EPA on their website. "By working together to overcome obstacles, water recycling, along with water conservation and efficiency, can help us to sustainably manage our vital water resources."

Let Solus Group be your partner in this shared responsibility.

References:

The United Nations World Water Development Report 2015: Water for a Sustainable World.” UNESCO. United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, 2015. PDF. 27 Apr. 2016.

Water Recycling and Reuse: The Environmental Benefits.” EPA. United States Environmental Protection Agency, n.d. Web. 27 Apr. 2016. 

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