International Garment Processors
International Garment Processors (IGP) facilities are located in East El Paso County, outside the city limits and city services. The IGP plant has a total area of approximately 500 acres. 477.5 acres are dedicated to the aeration pond, irrigation holding pond, and land application of the treated waste water.
When the site was being selected, water was (and still is) an important resource for the site requirements, as well as for the residents of El Paso. Mr. Viramontes, the owner of IGP, had the foresight and vision to look for a plentiful supply of water. The water supply is the Hueco Bolson aquifer. Although, the Bolson Basin is an abundant source of water, the water quality is brackish in nature (high in mineral content) and is excluded for consideration by the City of El Paso. The IGP process is the closest industrial water process to "zero discharge" you will find in West Texas.
At the IGP facilities, water is pumped from the Bolson Basin approximately 600 feet from below the surface. The water is then collected in a large stand pipe which provides a stable and continuous pressure for water demand to the plant. The plant's water is divided into three different streams. They are softened, non-potable and potable. The softened water is subdivided into hot and cold loops for laundry production. The non-potable application are toilets, cooling, and certain portions of laundry process. Potable water is piped to drinking fountains, sinks, and laboratories. The potable water is processed by a Reverse Osmosis System and is chlorinated before it is sent into the plant. Wastewater from the softener's regeneration process and the Reverse Osmosis System is evaporated in evaporation ponds. Waste water from domestic use, i.e. toilets, drinking fountains, etc., is processed through the separate specific system and disposed of through the leach field.
The laundry production waste water is segregated, neutralized for pH and oxidation. After the waste water is collected, it is processed by mechanical filters to a level less than 100 microns. The filtration process leaves the water with a slight blue color. The water is then sent to the ponds for biological decomposition and a natural purification process that is accomplished through "safe" bacteriological decomposition. The water is monitored daily with laboratory analysis completed weekly.
Laundry waste water enters the primary holding retention pond for oxygenation via mechanical aerators for forty-five (45) days and then passes through the polishing diffusing aerators. In this portion of the pond, suspended solids and organics are settled and oxidized. After the water reaches the shallow end of the pond, it is transferred to the large polishing pond where water quality approaches a clear quality. This pond is in continuous movement and is aerated by a large venturi pump aerator. This aerator aerates and cools the water as the water cascades through the air over the pond. The aerator also keeps the pond in constant movement. The venturi pumps are the same irrigation pumps that drive the central pivot.
The water quality of the irrigation pond is ideal for our farm and pistachio orchard. The farm is watered with a center pivot and alfalfa is raised on 62 acres. The remaining 40 plus acres are used to grow oats in the desert of West Texas.
Details of Reductions
Additional Information :
Considering all the factors involved with a completely segregated water system (independent from municipal wastewater treatment systems) IGP enjoys cost savings in various areas throughout our operation.
One example is IGP's cost per thousand gallons of water. This cost is considerably lower than water purchased from El Paso Water Utilities by about one dollar per thousand. This lower cost includes sewer charges and sewer surcharges which are regularly dealt with by other laundries in El Paso.
In short, rather than purchasing, utilizing, and disposing of perfectly good drinking water down the sewer, IGP is putting non-potable "brackish" water to conscientious use. This brackish water is used to wash blue jeans, treated, then used to irrigate cash crops like alfalfa that return some monies into system. The cost benefit we enjoy are in one way assisting municipal treatment plants by keeping tax rates, water rates, sewer rates, and operating costs down.
Last but not least, can you allocate a cost value to protecting the environment? Our answer would be no! Therefore IGP's commitment towards protecting our valuable water resources, no matter what the cost, will benefit the City of El Paso, the State of Texas, and the whole United States by saving millions of gallons of precious drinking water per week.
The Zero Waste Network is one of eight Pollution Prevention Resource Exchange P2RxCenters , serving as a national network of regional information centers: NEWMOA (Northeast), WRRC (Southeast), GLRPPR (Great Lakes), ZeroWasteNet (Southwest), P2RIC (Plains), Peaks to Prairies (Mountain), WSPPN (Pacific Southwest), PPRC (Northwest). We are a proud member of the National Pollution Prevention Roundtable.