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Textile Company Saves Water, Money with Wastewater Recycling System

Tri-StarA water recycling system will help Tri-Star Dyeing and Finishing meet pollutant limits for its discharged water effluent — an environmental challenge that had cost the Santa Fe Spring, California-based fabric-dyeing company valuable time and money for years.

Tri-Star is installing an Econity water recycling system at its facility after receiving nearly $700,000 in incentives from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. Instead of discharging its wastewater, the company will treat it using microfiltration and reverse osmosis and reuse it in the dyeing process.

“It’s a win-win-win,” Metropolitan board Chairman Randy Record said. “Tri-Star saves money, we conserve a lot of water, and the environment is protected from polluted discharge.”

The Tri-Star project is expected to save about 3,540 acre-feet of water the next decade, making it eligible for an incentive of up to $692,000. An acre-foot of water is nearly 326,000 gallons. Tri-Star’s dye machines currently use about 160 million gallons — 491 acre-feet — of water a year to process more than 16 million pounds of fabric.

The water district’s Water Savings Incentive Program (WSIP) is providing the incentives for Tri-Star. This program offers funding for commercial, industrial, agricultural and large landscape projects that reduce water consumption. Projects are funded based on how much water they save; recipients can receive up to $195 per acre-foot of water saved for up to 10 years.

Metropolitan says it has funded 125 projects through the Water Savings Incentive Program over the past four years, for an expected savings of nearly 30,000 acre-feet of water.

“There are a lot of opportunities to conserve water at commercial and industrial facilities, but each facility usually requires a unique and innovative approach, not a one-size-fits-all solution,” said Metropolitan general manager Jeffrey Kightlinger.

The Tri-Star project involves installing an electro-coagulation based recycling system that removes colors and suspended solids. The water recycling process will be completed with ozone treatment, manganese greensand filters, microfiltration and reverse osmosis. The system is expected to save more than 70 percent of the water used.

Tri-Star anticipates the $3 million recycling system will pay for itself in a few years, according to project consultant Derek Kim.

“Once they install the new units, their discharge issues will go away, and they’ll save a lot of water and a lot of money,” said Kim, director of business development for Econity, which produces the recycling system. “Right now, they spend about $200,000 a month for water-related costs, including discharge and operation and maintenance. Once it’s installed, they will pay around $150,000.”

Under WSIP, Metropolitan will make its first payment to Tri-Star after the project is installed and operating. It will make another payment after one year of monitoring to verify the actual water savings. The incentive may not exceed 50 percent of eligible project costs.

In August, Metropolitan’s board also approved $1.8 million in WSIP incentives for three other southern California-based dye companies — Lekos Dye and Finishing in Rancho Dominguez, Hitex Dyeing and Finishing in the city of Industry, and Daeshin USA in Fullerton — for a total anticipated water savings of 9,180 acre-feet over 10 years.

Bluefield Research recently published a report that forecast US water reuse capacity to increase 58 percent in the next 10 years, led by California and Florida, which account for 36 percent and 26 percent of currently planned reuse capacity additions, respectively. The report said CAPEX investment in reuse is expected to total $11 billion between 2016 and 2026.

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