For owner and operator Ken Ouellette of Ipswich Car Wash in Ipswich, MA, seasonal drought problems were the biggest hurdle in launching his new carwash. Water worries had forced his municipality to triple its water rate from $2.29 per 100 cubic feet to $7.49 per 100 cubic feet during the summer months.
Ouellette said the property of his carwash is built around wetlands—and all businesses in the area must find a way to replenish each gallon of water taken from the city supply. Facing such circumstances, Oullette teamed up with New Wave Industries-PurClean/PurWater, a supplier to the carwash industry, and with Liz and Frank Ditommaso of Car Wash Services & Equipment of New England to develop a unique carwash designed to be a water-saving powerhouse.
The result is a carwash that has taken water conservation to an entirely new level. Ipswich Car Wash incorporates a rainwater harvesting system that collects all rainwater that falls on the property in an underground holding tank. The tank can hold up to 60,000 gallons of water. According to Ouellete’s engineer, a typical rainfall of 1-inch on the property yields 15,000 gallons of water.
Once collected, the rainwater is then filtered and used to wash vehicles as well as provide the necessary irrigation for landscaping. Approximately 30-50 gallons of RO water is used in each wash cycle, depending on the size of the vehicle.
Ouellette has also incorporated a water recovery system that filters all the wash water and reuses it. The total fresh water usage has been reduced to just eight gallons of water per vehicle and is used only to provide the final rinse as the vehicle exits the wash.
Signs, Signs, Everywhere Signs
While driving to Ipswich Car Wash to meet with Oulette, I was taken aback by the abundance of signs warning residents of the mandatory water ban. It was a rather shocking sight to see on a drive through Massachusetts.
According to Ouellette, the usual restrictions were in place, including a ban on driveway car-washing. “The ban on driveway washing has increased my business profit significantly, especially once patrons find out how much water I recycle,” said Ouellette.