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Another wet/dry vac question

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  • Another wet/dry vac question

    Hello all. I'm brand new here. I own a pressure washing service, and environmental regs and city ordinances are really cracking down on us guys recovering/reclaiming our wastewater upon competion of a job.
    ex: If I remove gum and grease/oil spots from a parking lot, they don't want the wastewater getting into the storm drains.
    Here's my question: Will a wet/dry vac vacuum on one end while blowing on the other at the same time? I would need to recover approx. 300-400 gals of water at each job. It would be a waste of time to try and do it by stopping every 16 gallons to empty the vacuum. If it will do that, then I can blow it into my recovery tank on my trailer.
    If it won't, then I'll just have to think of something else. Any suggestions are certainly welcome.
    Thanks, guys!

  • #2
    I tried this once myself and could not get it to work.


    • #3
      I saw a Lowe’s advertisement awhile back that boasted of doing just that by attaching a garden hose to it, they gave examples of cleaning flooded basements and such. I think their vacuums are manufactured by Shop-Vac.



      • #4
        Welcome to the forum!

        My thoughts are that you cannot use the Vac in the way that you describe. The inlet and exhaust are pretty much at the same level and the float shutoff would no doubt stop the Vac. The Vac works because there is a pressure differential between the inlet and the exhaust which creates a vacuum within the container. If the pressure is equalized (trying to draw out exactly what you take in, you no longer have a vacuum, you have a "pump". I don't think think the unit will work that way.

        However, I believe that most of the Ridgid Shop Vacs are equipped with a drain valve. You may be able to hook a hose with an external pump that would transfer the waste water into your tank. If properly sized, this may eliminate any down time to drain the Vac and should be able to work while the Vac is in continuous operation.

        Don't you just love these environmental issues. They don't seem to worry about the problem when the blacktop mixture was first applied, or when we add any top coat, or even when we have runoff from the rain... but cleaning, seems to be a cause for major legislation! I'm probably getting too old (61?) but I recall seeing the very common practice of "oiling" the many dirt roads that used to exist. Guess we were major polluters back then.

        I hope this helps,



        • #5
          Thanks for all the info. I think I'm going to go with a different application, using an electric pump. the rep told me it will recover about 400 gals of water at the rate of about 20 gals/min! I would only have to be concerned with filtering, but I think I'll be able to recover tha majority of my water with the pump, then use the vac to get the remainder that has all the trash in it.
          Probably pay out the yeng-yang, though. We'll see.
          Yeah, you're right. Even at the youth of 36, I can remember when all that enviro mess was a non-issue. The solution is always more costly than the problem, I guess. Thanks again!


          • #6
            I don't know where you are in th country but I have had some of my customers who do masony restoration with chemicals for paint removal ect. they have had to do the water haul off thing. However in warm-hot weather we have set up for the wash water to collect in shallow ponds made of black poly. so that the water would evaporate. I know this depends on the temp. and how long you will be on the job but it is a lot cheaper than hauling off wast water to be dumped at a approved site.
            Have a great day unless you've made other plans.


            • #7
              I'm in a very rural area of East Texas. I have 40 acres out here of my own land. The only thing of concern, I think would be keeping the wastewater out of the creeks that the cows drink from. Those irritating environmental issues aren't really enforced around here (yet).
              Plus, as I understand it, it can be disposed of in an open sewer system if I use biodegradeable detergents (which I am). It's the same water that drains out of the bathtub or shower, aside from certain petroleum based residue that I may remove from parking lots, or from washing big rigs, but I think there is even an "acceptable amount" in that regard.


              • #8
                One of the projects that we did the evaporation trick on, the building was right on a river and they were on us to make sure that everything right with DEP. all they could tell us was no water was to get on the ground it all had to be pumped into a wast truck and taken to a disposal site. this was about a year or 2 ago and the cost was out of site. So we asked if we could use the shallow holding ponds so we could pump out of them into a truck. At the end of the day 90% of the water had evaporated so there was no water to pump into the truck. When we wer done we rolled up the poly and have reused it several times.
                Have a great day unless you've made other plans.


                • #9
                  Sounds pretty cool. Can you turn me on to a website, or ph#? Where can I check out one of these holding pools? If you can't post it on here, you can email me at