Most commercial, industrial, and institutional water users have a variety of cleaning and rinsing applications that can consume large volumes of water. There are, however, steps that can be taken to reduce the amount of water used for cleaning.
Dry Clean Up
One of the first items facility managers can examine is the option of increasing the use of "dry clean up" as opposed to cleaning that requires water. Dry clean up entails using brooms, brushes, vacuums, squeegees, scrapers, and other utensils to clean areas and materials before water is used. By collecting the majority of wastes, residues, or contaminants in a dry form, the use of large volumes of water and wastewater can be eliminated. The use of water is introduced only for secondary washing.
Managers can also discourage employees from using hoses as brooms, a practice that wastes valuable labor, water, and energy. When hoses are used, install efficient spray nozzles with automatic shut-offs on the ends of hoses. Also consider using high-pressure washers, which can clean more quickly and efficiently, as well as pressurized air-assisted spray nozzles to provide more cleaning force with less water. Low-flow fogging nozzles can be used to rinse parts efficiently.
Where the volume of water exceeds cleaning needs, flow restrictors can also be used in water supply lines to cut flow rates to only those that are necessary to support cleaning tasks. Similarly, timers can be used to shut off process water rinses when select processes are shut down.
Finally, review hose nozzle spray patterns for optimum application for the particular cleaning activity. Fan, cone, hollow cone, air atomizing, fine spray, and fogging are a few examples of nozzle spray patterns. Worn spray nozzle heads that lead to poor spray patterns and excessive water consumption should be replaced.