“Filtering your washout and reclaiming sink water isn’t just about preserving the environment, it also saves you time, money and reduces the hassle of a clogged-up drain.”
If you have ever had to pay for a drain cleaning service or plumber to come to your shop to unclog your drain, then you already know why you should be using a filtration system underneath your washout sink.
In fact, it is after this costly event takes place and jobs get delayed that printers often are spurred into action to research and finally buy a system. Don’t let this be you.
The purpose of a filtration system is to capture solids that come from emulsion and ink that do not completely dissolve in water and prevent them from going down the drain. Over time, when you constantly flush out these types of chemicals from screens, they will stick to the sides and eventually completely clog the pipes.
What is it?
A filtration system has tubing, which attaches underneath your sink, and funnels the water to a tank with six filters. The first filter, which is disposable, catches all the big particles. Then the water goes through a series of three reusable screens: 110, 156, and 200 meshes.
Next, the filtered water flows into a holding tank where a high-powered industrial sump pump is triggered pushing the water through the final two stages: a 70- and 20-micron disposable filter.
Once the refuse has gone through this six-stage filtering process, the water has been strained multiple times, and most solids have been removed. Any remaining particulate has been reduced to 20 microns (0.000787402 inch), making it small enough to go down the drain with no fear of drain clogs.
The main goal is to catch the solids. One of the “stickiest” emulsions is a pure photo polymer. Inks, of course, often remains congealed as a glob and sometimes even pieces of tape can get washed off and go down the drain contributing to a clog.
The filters do not catch literally everything. Oil, grease, and acids that may be present in screen printing products will still be in the water. Fortunately, these will not stick to the pipes.
Another factor that dramatically affects how many solids go down the drain is your ink management. The more ink you scrape off of screens and squeegees and into a bucket, the less goes down the drain. And this ink can be reused further reducing waste and saving money.
Here is a great video on how our Sgreen Filtration system works for such a low cost:
Who should be using a water filtration system?
If you are a small garage operation only cleaning five screens or less a day, you may not be flushing enough chemicals down the drain to draw the attention of city regulators. But if your shop is cleaning 10 or more screens a day, at least five days a week, you should at least be taking this into consideration.
If you use an automatic screen cleaning machine, it is highly recommended to purchase a filtration system at the same time, and this is easily attached to this type of unit.
Filtration systems come in a range of sizes. Your shop’s volume dictates what size filtration system you need. If you know approximately how many gallons of water your shops uses, that is a good indicator; otherwise, knowing how many screens you clean a day also can be used. With this information, a rep can make the recommendation on which size is best for your business.
Disposing of Solids
Three of the filters used in a filtration system are disposable and need to be replaced when “full.” How often they need to be replaced will depend on degree of usage, but it’s a good practice to check them at least once a week. If you are doing high volume, like 250 screens a day, every two or three days will be more prudent.
Looking at the water discharge is another guideline. It should look relatively clear so when it starts looking dirty, it’s time to change.
To dispose of full filters, once removed, set them aside to allow them to completely dry. Some people place them on top of their dryers to speed up the process. Another strategy is to dump filter sludge in a container like a 5-gallon pail, and let it harden there. Whether or not you can throw dried filters in the trash will depend on your city’s regulations. If not, you’ll need to contact a waste removal service to come and pick it up.
Unless you are a very small shop, adding a water filtration system offers benefits that outweigh the cost. You can purchase a system starting at $600.
Preventing drain clogs, which can stop production due to an inability to wash out and reclaim screens, is reason enough. When you add in the peace of mind that comes from knowing you are reducing harmful waste from returning to the city’s water supply, that is an added plus.
Learn more about maintaining the filtration system here.
Following The Rules
Remember, every city has its own regulations and ordinances regarding what you can legally put down the drain. All printers need to be aware of these for wherever their shop is located. If you want to be proactive, it’s a good idea to have an independent water testing service come out to evaluate.
This allows you to take measures to eliminate any problems before you get fined, and you also have the peace of mind of knowing if you are compliant or not. If you are using a water filtration system, it also can tell you how effectively it is working.
Thanks for reading! If you want to learn more about our filtration system check it out here.