This article originally appeared in Commercial Water Fall 2019 as "Recycling Simplified"
Founded in 1911, Quinton Dye Works specialized in dyeing and laundering clothing at a time when it was common for people to refresh their wardrobe by dyeing the garments. Quinton Dye Works continued to expand its operations in dry cleaning and laundry adding several new stores and establishing a separate company, Quintex Services Ltd.
Quintex Services continued to prosper, launching its direct sale garments division, Quintex Workwear, in the early 1990’s. With the continued success of its industrial rentals and uniforms services, the company sold its 16-store dry cleaning operation, Quinton’s Cleaners, in 2002 and became solely Quintex Services Ltd.
Protecting the environment is essential to Quintex’s Green Life Services program. Recognizing an opportunity to reduce water and sewer charges while staying in compliance with sewer discharge limits, Quintex partnered with Kemco Systems to install a system with ceramic microfiltration (CMF) followed by a reverse osmosis (RO) system. This system would decrease contaminants in recycled process water by nearly 100%, providing the plant with reusable water for process, as well as a significant decrease in sewer discharge costs.
This water recycling system begins with coarse filtration solutions designed to separate high-density solids from liquids. Coarse filters are used to remove large suspended solids from wastewater to prevent blockage, physical damage and abrasion of downstream wastewater membrane systems. A shaker screen and hydrocyclone were installed as pre-filtration to the CMF/RO recycling system, removing sand, gravel and lint from the nearly 120,000 gpd of process water.
The next step in Quintex’s water recycling system is membrane filtration. Membrane filtration treats wastewater and purifies it for reuse using a semi-permeable material defined for their porosity, this removes nearly all contaminants from the wastewater. As the first step in a combination membrane filtration process, ceramic microfiltration uses cross-flow filtration to remove suspended solids, oils and greases, and reduce BOD and COD. Through the use of ceramic elements, with porosity of less than 0.1 μ, cross-flow filtration is an effective technology to keep the membrane surface clear and reduce fouling in the membranes by increasing permeate passage and minimizing or even eliminating disposal surcharges. Minimal maintenance, clean-in-place technology, and thermal rejuvenation of the ceramic elements makes CMF a cost-effective way to achieve high recycling rates.
The secondary membrane filtration in this combination is RO. Using specially designed membranes that withstand aggressive conditions such as high temperature, acids, alkali and corrosive components, this semi-permeable membrane, removes bacteria, viruses, BOD, COD and dissolved contaminants. Due to its high water quality, the water then can be safely reused in the washing process or discharged to the sewer, increasing the overall rate of water recycling to more than 80%.
This wastewater recycle and reuse system was installed at Quintex in the summer of 2016. The system operates four days per week for 15 to 16 hours per day. The plant now sees recycle rates of more than 80%. This performance results in substantial yearly water savings and a significant decrease in sewer discharge costs. The system removes 95% of total dissolved solids (TDS), 99% of total suspended solids (TSS), and 99% oils and greases from its wastewater. Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), viruses, bacteria and microplastics are completely removed and water quality is hygienically clean and safe for all sectors of industrial laundries.
To continue to see performance and results like this for years to come, Quintex employs a well-trained team dedicated to the proper operation and maintenance of the water recycling system. With Kemco’s support, the team performs all weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual monitoring and maintenance of their equipment. The system continues to thrive because of this team’s commitment to the company mission and to the environment.
Water Recycling Service
While Quintex has the resources to employ a team dedicated to their wastewater system, for some laundry operators hiring staff dedicated to the proper maintenance of a complex system is not feasible. Without proper maintenance, a laundry business can suffer greatly, seeing increases in downtime, as well as increased water, energy and compliance costs. Kemco’s Conserve program is built around this understanding. Developed as a “water recycling as a service” concept, this all-inclusive approach includes the equipment, installation, consumables, replacement parts, scheduled maintenance, remote monitoring, and full coverage of any and all system failures, all for a fixed monthly fee. This fee usually is paid for by the combined savings of water and wastewater costs.
This program takes a proven business concept and applies it to the wastewater recycling and reuse sector for industrial laundries. To implement this program, a custom savings profile is built from a site visit and the plant’s utility bills. From the profile, a custom system is designed and installed by an expert team of engineers and technicians. Training is provided to the plant staff for the system’s day-to-day operation, while Kemco Systems takes on much of the preventative maintenance requirements.
Preventative maintenance has been proven to increase equipment lifecycles. Conserve includes scheduled maintenance, parts, consumables and staff training for routine maintenance. Because the system removes hardness and contaminants from the water, the longevity and reliability of process equipment dramatically improves, saving laundries money over the project’s life cycle.
Laundries have many challenges in the battle between long-term efficiencies and short-term gains. This program is a service that is designed to help a laundry responsibly manage both while enhancing the plant’s position as a steward of the environment.