Due to the high capital costs involved with replacing a vehicle wash system, first
implement all efficient operation and maintenance procedures and perform any
retrofits available to optimize the efficiency of the system. Retrofitting an existing
vehicle wash system with a water reclamation system can yield the most potential for
water and operational cost savings.
Water reclamation systems are appropriate for conveyor and in-bay vehicle washing.
When designing a new vehicle washing facility, consider one that incorporates the
features described in the earlier “Retrofit Options” section.
Water savings can be achieved by installing a water reclamation system for conveyor
or in-bay vehicle wash facilities. A study by ICA found that facilities using reclama-
tion systems were able to fulfill 51 percent of their water needs, on average, from
To calculate facility-specific water savings and payback, use the following information.
Current Water Use
To estimate the current water use of an existing vehicle wash system, identify the fol-
lowing information and use Equation 5-1:
Water use per vehicle. This can be determined based on metered water use. If the
facility does not have a meter, ICA found that conveyor and in-bay washes use an
average of 75.0 gpv and 55.0 gpv of fresh water, respectively.
Number of vehicles washed per day.
Days of facility operation per year.
Equation 5-1. Water Use of VehicleWash (gallons per year)
=Water Use per Vehicle x VehiclesWashed x Days of Facility Operation
Water Use per Vehicle (gallons per vehicle)
Vehicles Washed (number of vehicles washed per day)
Days of Facility Operation (days per year)
Brown, Chris. 2000,