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Letters to the editor

February 01, 2011
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Editor''s note:

There are numerous ways one can dilute concentrated chemicals to manufacturers'' recommended ratios.

Each person has their preferred method, and some facilities champion one procedure over another.

While nearly all methods are viable — as long as they effectively achieve the desired result without waste — some approaches are considered safer than others.

The process of diluting chemicals has come a long way since the days when the "glug, glug, pour" method was considered acceptable.

However, there remain techniques unfamiliar to some individuals that can prove effective in their unique situations.

A recent discussion on the Cleaning & Maintenance Management Online Bulletin Board concerned finding an alternative to traditional chemical dilution systems.

Excerpts from that discussion follow below.

Posted by:

Jan Linderman

I have, for 15 years, used the Spartan Accurate Measure (SAM) dispensing system to dilute and dispense our chemicals, floor cleaner, glass cleaner concentrate and disinfectants.

I have three of these units on my campus.

Suddenly, an employee not in my department has waged a war, declaring this to be unsafe and at risk of chemical backflow into the domestic water system.

He even went to the local code enforcement office and they say we are not up to code.

I now have to find a new process of diluting our chemicals with a system that does not require connecting to the water supply.

Any suggestions from anyone?

I appreciate any help I can get.


Michael Craig

If the unit has an air gap, you should be fine.

The 3M Twist ''n Fill would be a good substitution.

I usually do not recommend 3M, but this system is great and practically foolproof.

Ken Galo

PortionPac system: No hookup to any system; an entire year''s worth of chemicals fits in a shoebox; environmentally friendly; Green Seal-approved; and very cost efficient.

Also, there is an excellent return on investment (ROI).

Richard Wacker

Have you talked with your distributor?

They ought to have the right connection to prevent the backflow.

A plumbing store or hardware store ought to have that part, too.

I have used Butchers, and they have a backflow preventer.

Jan Linderman

Richard, I am beyond taking this measure.

My system does have a backflow built into it but, apparently, it does not meet the satisfaction of our code enforcement office.

So, I''m just looking for a completely different solution.

I am more interested in the dispensing method more than the chemicals themselves.

Ken, the PortionPac system looks interesting; I''m researching this more.

Thanks for your help.

Anyone else have any ideas or suggestions?

Ed Samson

There are a couple of companies offering the PortionPak-type concept; either plastic packages you cut and pour or packaging that dissolves when it hits the water.

I prefer portion control bottles where you squeeze an ounce of liquid into a chamber then pour.

Franklin Technology has a broader line of such chemicals than others I have seen.

Sara Thurston

Another option would be onboard detergent dispensing — if your equipment has it.

Then, you are not mixing any detergent with the water.

You put tap water in the solution tank and, if there is some left, it is tap water that gets dumped.

This might be something you want to look at the next time you purchase equipment — autoscrubbers and battery extractors.

The detergent cartridge — you can use any detergent — has its own dilution hose and the dilution and clean water mix at the floor or carpet.

Advance makes a good one: EcoFlex.

Chaz Townsend

I suggest five-gallon buddy jugs.

One person can mix the appropriate amount of chemical into five-gallon buddy jugs.

The crew can then fill their individual spray bottles from this.

The exception may be your floor cleaner.

You could do something different with this or use portion control packets for that only.

This works very well.

Richard Wacker

Well, then, I would recommend the PotionPak.

I know Stearns also makes individual packets.

Good luck.

Rick VanderKoy

We like the Diversy Ready-to-dispense (RTD) system, and I don''t believe it would be possible for any backflow issues to develop with the RTD jugs.

The crew could be instructed to remove the concentrate container from the hose when they are finished filling bottles or buckets.

Linda Long

I went through the same thing.

The buddy jugs are a great idea.

You can also just turn the water off after each use.

Jan Linderman

Thanks everyone for your input.

You have been a great help.

My plan is use a combination of the PortionPak and buddy jug system.

I also plan to try some of the portion control bottled products.

I have already assigned one person to be responsible for mixing and preparing the buddy jugs for the crew to work from.

I love it when a plan comes together.

Thanks again for your contribution to the plan.

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