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How You Can Put Together A Wash Bay In Remote Areas

Wash Bays

Wash Bays are an essential part of the infrastructure for industries like mining and construction that have to deal with dirt, mud and dust regularly. Frequent washing of the equipment prevents damage and wear as well as keeps assets looking their best. Caked-on dirt can get into moving parts causing problems with the operation, which ultimately always costs you time and money down the line.

Due to their remote locations, it becomes a necessity for mining and similar industries to have their own wash bay installed on-site since commercial wash bays are inaccessible. Hiring an equipment cleaning contractor is an option, but again, the remote location still means they need somewhere to perform cleaning activities and the travel costs can add up a significant amount in the long run.

If you’re planning to put together a wash bay in your remote industrial site, look no further. We’ve got all you need to know on how you can put together a wash bay in remote areas, covering the types of wash bays, their installation processes, regulations, and mistakes to avoid.

Before diving in, let’s explore the types of wash bays and which one is suitable for your heavy-duty vehicles and equipment.

Types of Wash Bays

Wash bays can be of various types depending on their functionality. Let’s look at the broader spectrum, classifying them into two categories: permanent wash bays and portable wash bays.

Permanent Wash Bays 

Permanent Wash Bays are a long term solution to your dirty vehicles, machinery and plant equipment. These are best suited for stable businesses and industries with a fixed operation site. Permanent wash bays are usually custom-designed and built on the site to meet your unique business requirements. No matter how big or small your vehicles and equipment are, you can customise permanent wash bays to your benefit. 

These structures can withstand the test of time and give you long-lasting usage. Unlike temporary wash bays, they can’t be dismantled and moved frequently. If you want a wash bay to stay put in your business for years on end then permanent wash bays are likely the best option for you.

Portable Wash Bays

On the other hand, portable wash bays are temporary washing setups that can be moved from one place to another without difficulty. Ideal for rented spaces and businesses that require frequent site changes like construction, these wash bays don’t need any significant construction setup investment. They have inbuilt storage and purifiers to store and clean contaminated water after the wash and of which a large percentage can be re-used whilst the waste and contaminants are disposed of in a controlled manner. You can move the entire structure and set it up in a new location with minimal effort.

Under these broad categories falls other types of wash bays like car wash bays, construction wash bays, truck wash bays, heavy equipment wash bays, quarantine wash bays, etc., based on their utility. 

How to Put Together a Wash Bay in Remote Areas

Installing a wash bay can get tricky, especially in remote areas and if not planned properly. To ease it up for you, we’ve come up with a step-by-step guide to constructing a wash bay covering the hydraulic design, supply and installation.

1. Site Assessment

The first step is assessing the site for the overall idea and finding the perfect location to build the wash bay. Ensure that you install the wash bay in an area that’s accessible for your heavy-duty vehicles and equipment.

Along with site evaluation, it’s crucial to get a handle on how much dirty water you’ll produce and what kinds of contaminants are in it for proper wastewater management and disposal.

2. Hydraulic Design

The next step is to prepare a hydraulic design and submit it to your local authority as applicable. Only after that’s approved should you begin constructing your wash bay. The design also helps you understand what the final project will look like after construction.

3. Cutting and Removal of Existing Concrete

After preparing and passing the design, it’s time to prepare the site for excavation. The actual construction begins at this point. If the ground already has concrete, the next step would be cutting it off and removing it from the site.

4. Excavation and Installation of Below-ground Components

Next, you excavate the site to install in-ground components. All the below-ground parts such as holding tanks and collection pits are installed in the excavated ground. Then you connect the pipes to create a channel for water to flow.

5. Creating a Concrete Base

Replacing and levelling the soil removed during excavation is the next step. You then make the concrete base in the compacted soil in one of two ways- the conventional method involves pouring the freshly made concrete onto the site, whereas the modern method is directly installing a precast concrete base. DALLCON’s Modular Flooring System is a safe and durable option to create a strong base for your wash bays. These ready to install precast concrete floor panels have significant benefits over traditionally on-site cast ones, and we can deliver them to any remote location in Australia.

The concrete raised edge known as bunding is then added to contain water inside the wash bay area and prevent outside water from getting into it.

6. Equipment Installation and Cabling

After the concrete sets, it’s time to install the overground equipment like oil separators, diaphragm pump systems, control panels, etc. Your wash bay is almost ready; just a couple more steps to follow.

7. Electrical Cabling and Commissioning

After equipment installation and cabling, you need to look after the wiring and connection of each piece of electrical equipment. Commissioning then takes place to make sure the system is running adequately.

8. Roofing the Wash Bay

Your wash bay could be indoors, outdoors, roofed, unroofed, or partially roofed based on your project requirements. The roof protects your equipment from the weather, so roofing your wash bay is essential if your region experiences harsh weather.

Unroofed wash bays require the installation of a stormwater diversion system. The control panel activates when too much rainwater falls, directing the excess water into stormwater drains so that you don’t have your wash bay filtering systems or waste disposal overflowing.

Wash Bay Regulations to Note

The primary focus of wash bay regulations is protecting the environment from contaminated water. These include oil, chemicals or disease-causing bacteria present in equipment and vehicles. All washings that produce water with impurities must filter the wastewater to meet the requirements on what’s legally allowed into the sewage system.

The agreement between a wash bay operator and local authorities focuses on maintaining effective risk management systems. Wash bay operators must keep records of the wastewater quality and comply with their trade waste agreement. Failure to do so can result in fines or even a shutdown.

Water quality requirements for wastewater vary depending on the location in Australia. The water plants of different cities have varying capacities and technologies, so it’s essential to get to terms with the exact requirement of your local authority when installing a new wash bay.

To receive compliance in Australia, a permanent wash bay is required to have the following components.

  • Pre-treatment device
  • Oil separator
  • Silt trap
  • Perimeter bunding
  • Holding pit

Common Mistakes When Installing and Running Wash Bays

Whether it’s for a mining site or any other type of business, there are a few things to consider for a successful installation and operation of wash bays.

Misunderstanding the regulations and not complying with the guidelines can harm the environment and majorly disrupt your business. A minor mistake like this can lead to the shutdown of the wash bay, so it’s advisable to have your builders and suppliers walk you through the guidelines to avoid any pitfalls.

Not taking into account the future growth of the business is another rookie mistake people make when installing wash bays. Considering a cost-effective solution to fulfil your current wash requirement will cost you more in the long run as the need for expansion may arise.

People also have a common misconception about considering the washdown water as pure after it’s been treated. Often, the treated water is recycled or discharged into the stormwater system or let seep into the soil, which isn’t a good practice.

FAQs on Wash Bays

How does a wash bay work?

A wash bay works by collecting unclean water in the collection pits installed underground after washing any equipment or vehicle. Metal grates allow water to go through, and together with the slit baskets inside, they trap debris such as rocks, stones and leaves and prevent them from entering the water system. 

The water then flows into the holding tank. When it reaches a certain level, the diaphragm pump starts and pumps it up from the holding tank into the oil-water separator unit. This unit separates oils and contaminants in the wash water and allows filtered water to pass through the sewage system. The whole system runs through the control panel, which communicates with all the machinery for efficient operation.

Can I install a wash bay by myself?

It’s not impossible to install wash bays without professional help. However, it’s always best to consult someone with industry experience. Since there’s plumbing and electrical work involved, these parts of the installation must be done by qualified and licensed personnel.

There are wash bay installers in the market who take care of everything from site assessment to design, installation, and even ongoing service maintenance. The regulation regarding water disposal is another reason to consider an installer rather than doing the challenging work by yourself.

Are wash bays customisable?

You can’t alter a wash bay much after installing it. Even if you want to, it’s expensive. However, wash bays can be constructed in all types and sizes to suit your needs. You can install them indoors or outdoors, have a roof, partial roof or no roof, and choose the size based on your equipment and vehicles. Define your business requirements and get a custom wash bay that’s just right for you.

Wash Bay Delivery to Remote Areas

Rather than engaging in the hassle of managing lead times and deliveries and installation of your wash bay, utilise our experience and quality products to get the job done.

DALLCON manufactures and supplies high-quality precast concrete products all over Australia. With an industry experience of 20+ years, we got you covered, even if your business is in the remotest regions.

We’re here to help you with custom precast concrete wash bay solutions, whether simply for the base or the entire structure. DALLCON’s products are easy to install, long-lasting and safe to use in extreme weather conditions. Please call 1300 325 526 or speak with our experts about your project requirements. We’re happy to help you get your business to where you want it to be.

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