Auto Body Shops Pollution Prevention Guide

#18 - Water Conservation

Because we all depend on a safe water supply, it is important to protect and conserve our water resources. The benefits of water conservation, or the efficient use of water, include:

  • Lower water bills
  • Lower energy bills
  • Less need to find new water sources

Major water conservation methods for auto body shops center on three areas:

Water Conservation Tips

Here are a number of no-cost and low-cost water conservation strategies you can implement in your shop. Try to come up with some tips of your own.

Overall Shop Tips

  • Posts signs to encourage water conservation.
  • Reward employees who do their part to save water and come up with water saving ideas.
  • Do a water audit of your shop.
  • Prioritize your water conservation ideas, implementing one idea at a time before moving on to the next (especially if your ideas cost money).
  • Use a broom or vacuum to clean floors instead of water.

Faucet and Valve Water Outlet Tips

  • Fix all leaks and drips as soon as possible.
  • Encourage your co-workers to shut off water when soaping up hands at the sink.
  • Purchase water-conserving equipment.
  • Install aerators on all faucets (breaks the flowing water into fine droplets and injects air while maintaining wetting efficiency).
  • Install low-flow toilets or toilet displacement devices (saves more than one gallon of water per flush without affecting the normal operation of the toilet).
  • When washing vehicles, turn off the hose between rinses.

The following series of questions will help you develop ways of preventing pollution through water conservation:

Water Conservation YES NO
1) Do you take steps to conserve water? As discussed earlier in this section, taking steps to conserve water can reduce your water and energy bills dramatically and help prevent pollution.    
2) Have you trained your employees to conserve water? Water conservation is everyone's business, so place signs by each sink and hose outlet advising them to "Please Turn Off the Water".    
3) Do you run a "dry shop"? Seal off all floor drains and make your facility a "dry shop". All fluid spills will then be prevented from going "down the drain" and becoming a problem for the municipal wastewater treatment plant or your septic system. Use "wet-vacs" for spill clean-up along. with other non-hazardous spill clean-up techniques.    
4) Have you insulated your water heater or cooler and related pipes? Insulating your water heater, cooler, and related pipes can help save energy and water.    
5) Have you installed rain sensors in your sprinkler system? If you water your lawn, consider installing a simple rain sensor. This device will automatically shut down your watering system during a rain shower.    
6) Have you installed an oil-water separator? Oil-water separators and skimmers can help reduce the amount of hazardous wastewater and sludge you have to dispose of by separating out the oil, which can then be recycled.    
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