- To demonstrate experimentally that, by means of an integrated management system and the use of innovative, environmentally friendly technologies, the impact on water resources of a urban activity such as car wash businesses can be noticeably reduced. The final aim of MINAQUA Project is to provide a definite technical and environmental solution which enables to minimize the consumption of pipe water in such activities and to reduce the volume and pollutant load of generated wastewater.
- To demonstrate that soft treatments are able to treat wastewater from car wash services in an effective way.
- To demonstrate that the use of innovative biodegradable detergents may facilitate dirt elimination on vehicles and reduce the amount of water by washing.
- To demonstrate that the application of new environmentally friendly finishing products (waxes and similar products) may help extend the useful life of a vehicle washing, avoiding the accumulation of dirt on the surface.
- To demonstrate that the use of such detergents and waxes help reducing the pollutant load in wastewater, improving the efficiency of the treatment system.
- To check whether the quality of the regenerated water by means of soft treatment systems is acceptable to be recycled in certain car wash activities thus reducing the consumption of piped water.
- To publish technical studies and good practice guide in order to disseminate the results and the experience of the project to different stakeholders (scientific, professional, general public) and to promote the implementation of these technologies to other sectors.
- Finally, to promote the integrated management of water throughout political action at different levels. On the one side, it is proposed to motivate the development of municipal ordinances regarding water consumption and quality, mentioning the needs to include treatment and recycling water systems in the different urban and industrial activities. On the other side, it is intended to disseminate data and to enhance transparent control over water use and consumption of urban activities and the pollutant load of their wastewater through public documents.
The originality of this project lies in its integrated action to achieve a better self-sustainable water cycle and to reduce the environmental impact of this activity. The actions proposed to successfully achieve the aim of this project have been grouped into the following four working areas:
1. Optimization of operational conditions in car washing services
- Audit to quantify unitary water consumption and determine critical points.
- Identify the degradation by-products of the detergents used and its potential impact to the environment and to the people’s health.
- Technical evaluation of operational conditions in automatic car wash machinery (application angles, pressure, reaction times of the detergent, rinse conditions, etc.).
2. To establish the use of new, more sustainable detergent and wax products
- Inventory of dirt substances to be eliminated and characterization of vehicle surfaces.
- Formulation of new environmentally friendly and efficient detergents used in car washing.
- Formulation of new, dirt-resistant finishing products which guarantee the useful life of a vehicle washing for a longer period of time.
3. Wastewater treatment by means of the most suitable extensive treatment systems.
- Characterization of wastewater to be treated.
- Analysis of the potential soft treatment systems to be used in industrial car wash premises.
- Design and building of different pilot plants to treat wastewater generated in car wash premises which use the new detergents and waxes.
4. Recycling of regenerated wastewater.
- Determination of operational requirements regarding the quality and quantity of regenerated water needed in the different steps of the car wash process.
- Design of a hydraulic system to redirect regenerated water in the washing machinery.