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Environment industries archive


Key departmental publications, e.g. annual reports, budget papers and program guidelines are available in our online archive.

Much of the material listed on these archived web pages has been superseded, or served a particular purpose at a particular time. It may contain references to activities or policies that have no current application. Many archived documents may link to web pages that have moved or no longer exist, or may refer to other documents that are no longer available.

SCS Specialized Services Pty Ltd
Cleaner Production - Water Jet Floor Cleaning and Effluent Recycling System

SCS Specialized Services Pty Ltd has developed a method of cleaning industrial concrete floors which recycles the wash water (the Recoveryjet system). On average, this has resulted in an 95 per cent reduction in the quantity of effluent generated.


SCS Specialized Services Pty Ltd is a small floor cleaning and protective coatings business, specialising in cleaning and refurbishment of medium to large factory floors. The company thoroughly cleans industrial concrete floors with the Recoveryjet to remove any build-up of soils, oils or other contaminants. In addition, the process opens the surface pores prior to any repair and coating activities.

The Process

There are a number of excisting methods for cleaning industrial concrete floors. These include high pressure water jets, shot blasting, scrubbing, scarifying with wire brushes or cutters and chemical cleaning.

Each of these methods has some disadvantages, including airborne dust and stormwater pollution, flooding and splashing, damage to the surface and poor cleaning results due to dirt remaining in cracks, holes and pores of the concrete.

Cleaner Production Initiative

Because of its penetrating power, high pressure water is the best method for cleaning a wide range of concrete floors.

SCS’s Recovery Jet system

SCS’s Recoveryjet system

SCS has developed a floor cleaning system (the Recoveryjet) that utilises high pressure water spinning at high speed within an enclosed ‘lawnmower’ style cleaning head, to overcome the problems of effluent management and floor flooding. The high pressure water penetrates floor cracks and crevices to dislodge all dirt and loose materials. At the same time the cleaning head is kept under vacuum to remove these particles and the water. This design eliminates water spray and flooding in most cases. There is no requirement to remove equipment or personnel from the area, therefore minimal disruption to the work place occurs. In contrast to hand water jetting or unenclosed rotary water jet cleaning, which discharge all the dirty water to either the floor drainage system or to external stormwater drains, the SCS system directs the water, via the vacuum recovery system, to a truck mounted recycling plant. Here solids are removed by settling and filtration and the cleaned water is then returned to the cleaning head for reuse. Any oil in the water tends to become emulsified due to the high pressures used.

At the end of the cleaning operation, the recycled waste water and sludge are pumped out for disposal at a licensed treatment facility.

Advantages of the Process

The main advantage of the process is the significant reduction in wastewater generation. A normal high pressure cleaning system would generate between 20,000 and 40,000 litres of wastewater from cleaning an area of 600 square metres. The Recoveryjet system developed by SCS generates only 2,000 litres for the same floor area.

The process is also claimed to be at least four times faster than hand water jetting, which is a major benefit in reducing production downtime.

Cleaner Production Incentive

The proprietor of SCS, Mr Peter O'Shannessy, developed the system while working as a water jet contractor using spin jet cleaning heads. Although these heads cleaned the floor faster and more effectively than hand jetting, his experience was that it took twice as long to rinse the dirty water from the floors after cleaning, and that splashing prevented work being carried out around machines and stock. This limited cleaning to unoccupied buildings. There were also concerns about effluent disposal. This led to development of the idea of fitting a vacuum pickup to the spin jet head.


The recovery and recycling units

The recovery snd recycling units

After perfecting the system of vacuum pickup, the issue of wastewater disposal had to be confronted. It was not possible to gain approval from water authorities for onsite discharge of the waste water to sewerage system without analysis being undertaken. For this reason, recycling of the water was considered.

Further difficulties were encountered in developing an effective recycling system that was small enough to fit onto a mobile truck. No complete technology existed for this process, and the final system was developed through trial and error, combined with innovative problem solving.

During the six year period of development of the system, work was restricted to large companies because of the high cost of using the process. The cost has now been reduced from $7.00 per square metre to approximately $2.50 per square metre, which is price competitive with other methods.

Further Development

SCS  and its customers have continued to benefit from this process.

Significant progress has been made on further developing the system. SCS is currently working on putting the equipment on one vehicle instead of two, and on developing an automatic solids bagging and binning system. Previously, solids accumulated in large containers and emptying these required stopping the system. The new system will allow accumulation in small manageable containers which can be removed without stopping the system. Fines can also be removed and collected automatically and continually.


Mr Peter O'Shannessy
SCS Specialised Services Pty Ltd
191 Wattle Valley Road
Camberwell VIC 3124
Ph: 61 3 9889 4952
Fax: 61 3 9889 0690


Date of implementation: 1990-1996
Date of further initiatives: 1996-2001
Case study prepared: 1997.  
Date last modified: May 2001.
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