NEWS | Aug. 26, 2010

Base Parr Club boasts green machine for dishes clean

By Brian McGloin 502nd Air Base Wing Operating Location B Public Affairs

A dishwasher that can save nearly a million gallons of water a year isn't fiction or a future plan. It's here now in the center of Randolph at the Parr Club.

Gregory Wait, said the new system "can save up to a half million to a million gallons of water a year," compared to more traditional means of washing dishes in a high-volume environment.

Mr. Wait is a vice president of the system's manufacturer, which makes commercial, high-volume dish washing systems. The design of the new dish washer eliminates the need for a garbage disposal, Mr. Wait said during a presentation in the Parr Club kitchen.

He said many restaurant and fast-food chains use similar systems which prove to save water and manpower.

Information provided by the system's manufacturer suggests that in a three-hour run time per day, 459,900 gallons of water will be conserved in a year. The number is roughly double for a 6-hour run time per day in a year.

The system uses dramatically less water for rinsing food scraps from dishes than a traditional sprayer in a sink. 14 gallons per minute of dish water is recirculated with only seven GPM of fresh water - the basis of the water savings. Because of the design, dishes, pots, trays and other food service items get cleaner, faster.

Terry Grove, a representative for the maker of some of the kitchen's systems, said the savings will be 1,00,533 gallons of water a year.

The spray of water looks something like a very large-volume water fountain, only it remains at about 100 degrees Fahrenheit and is several times the volume. The water becomes a slightly grey or beige color after prolonged use. Below the stream of water is a round basin. In the bottom of that is a plastic mesh to collect the solid scraps and bones. There is a means to catch flatware to keep it out of the works below.

San Antonio Water System, the local water and sewage utility, has guidelines and restrictions about what restaurants can dump down their drains. They include food scraps ground in disposals.