Friday, August 22, 1997, Vol.17, No. 34
used with permission from U.S. Army
Muck Munching Microbes:
New Bioremediation Process in Parts Cleaners
Reduces Hazardous Waste Production
By Marla Jones
DEPUTY PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICER
directorate of Public Works Maintenance Division,
Repair Facility, uses OzzyJuice to clean a sprayer.
microbes will replace solvent solutions soon at Fort
Gordon Maintenance shops.
"We submitted a
purchase request for a bioremediating parts cleaner
system called the SmartWasher," said Leigh Banks, an
environmental support specialist for the environmental
and Natural Resource Management office. SmartWasher is a
trademark name for the system made by the ChemFree
Corporation of Norcross, Ga.
Banks said Fort
Gordon has requested 47 of the washers, to replace the
cleaning systems presently in use, a parts washer that
uses a solvent to rid parts of grease.
these SmartWasher will decrease the amount of hazardous
waste generated at Fort Gordon, the amount of hazardous
materials in our inventory, air emissions and health and
safety risks to workers," Banks said. The directorate of
Public Works has ordered two types of SmartWashers parts
cleaners and brake and clutch cleaners.
information on the system from a colleague while they
were both at a training class. Banks sought more
information, and arranged for a lease of two
could try them out. "We looked at other technologies but
this system was preferable."
The tryout was
positive. Jim Kaefer, supervisor, tactical vehicle
maintenance , said "the folks using them have had
nothing but good things to say." He added the solutions
are more "user friendly" than solvents. The cleaning
solution has a pleasant lemon-like odor.
after one week the employees in special purposes
workshop reported they really loved the SmartWashers.
The solution is
a water-based substance that detaches the grease or
paint from the part or equipment. The solution goes
through a filter, and the microbes are embedded in the
filter; as soon as the microbes are activated with heat,
they consume the grease. ChemFree calls the microbe
"Ozzy," a patented trademark of the company.
keeps the solution and filter at constant 105 degrees;
the ozzies thrive in that warm environment.
When they are
given nutrients, or grease, they reproduce at a more
rapid rate, and they eat more, Banks said.
changed once a month; depending on the concentration of
accumulated wastes, these may require special disposal.
The solution does not need to be changed, only more
added as necessary.
chief, Environmental and Natural Resource Management,
estimates the post will receive a return on its
investment in about 18 months. "That means $27,200 saved
annually after the initial year and a half."
system replaces one in which Fort Gordon paid to dispose
of 8,183 gallons of solvent from parts cleaning
equipment during 1996.
Kaefer said. "We’re glad that it is environmentally
safe, and yet it cleans the parts as well."