• Last modified 922 days ago (Feb. 6, 2020)


Car washes find good use for all that leftover mud

Staff writer

Finding a way to dispose of accumulated mud was a problem Bruce Skiles to solve before he signed on to operate Marion’s Rhino Car and Truck Wash.

“Before I bought the car wash I was concerned about whether it was considered hazardous waste or if we had to take it to a special place,” he said.

After talking to state employees, Skiles found he could use a backhoe and dump trailer, and use the mud to fill holes in his driveway since the waste was nonhazardous.

“Luckily it’s that way, because it would be extremely expensive,” he said. “Most people probably couldn’t even own a car wash if they had to send it to a special site.”

Skiles and Marion’s Car Wash Solutions owner Kevin Burkholder clean their mud pits three to four times a year.

Burkholder works with Dave’s Pumping, an Emporia-based septic tank cleaning service, to take care of the mud pits.

Handling the waste comes with its difficulties, said Dave’s Pumping owner Zach Hansen, who serves clients from central Kansas into Missouri.

“It’s kind of a dying market,” he said. “It’s dirty and labor intensive.”

The dirt and mud Hansen collects is used to top off landfills, while the water is filtered at a water treatment facility.

“There aren’t a lot of mom and pop businesses like us who still do the work,” he said. “Having the right equipment makes a difference.”

While the pit at Burkholder’s car wash is cleaned three to four times a year, he skims any mud not washed into the pit to use for odd jobs.

“When it’s this wet and muddy, they get pretty full pretty quickly,” he said.

If the top wasn’t skimmed, Burkholder said he would need the pit cleaned out every month or two.

Hansen grew his list of clients by 30 businesses in the last couple of months thanks to his connection to Burkholder, Hansen said.

“That’s what I like about what we do,” he said. “It’s hands-on with your customers. You’re able to develop a relationship.”

Last modified Feb. 6, 2020