Like Oil and Water

Aug. 3, 2006

Since 1893, family-owned and operated Gallagher Uniform has provided a full range of uniform service options. Today, the company can meet the needs of virtually every organization in south central Michigan that requires uniforms, from small operations of 10 employees to large enterprises with a workforce of 6,000.

"We attribute our success to an ongoing commitment to deliver superior 'hands-on' customer service, said owner Dan Gallagher. "We offer a 100% guarantee that our service will be exceptional and that we will be honest, fair and professional in everything we do."

A clean solution

The 30,000-sq-ft laundry plays a key role in Gallagher Uniform’s dedicated approach. Through its continuous operation, the company is able to offer customers weekly laundering of soiled garments.

Like many laundry facilities, Gallagher must balance customer needs against increasingly stringent EPA compliance. Laundry plants can generate potentially hazardous wastes in the form of solvents such as petroleum. When local regulations began to tighten five years ago, Gallagher and his brothers began to investigate cost-effective ways to exhibit good environmental stewardship and still deliver timely, cost-effective laundry service.

They found a solution in the Abanaki Corp., a manufacturer of oil skimmers, at an industry tradeshow.

After contacting a sales representative and exploring various options, Gallagher Uniform chose the Abanaki Model 4 Oil Grabber, one of the company's most dependable and effective means of removing oil from water and water-based solutions.

"We operate a two-pit system. Heavily soiled drain water goes into one, and clean drain water into a second. The oil/water separator is used in the heavily soiled pit, mounted near a clean water drain," Gallagher said.

Oil skimming makes use of the differences in specific gravity and surface tension between oil and water, allowing the unit to attract oil and other contaminants from the water's surface. The Model 4 utilizes a continuous belt and wiper action to remove up to 20 gal of oil per hour from the surface. The belt, operating on a motor and pulley system, runs through the contaminated liquid to pick up oil. The oil is then scraped off both sides of the belt and discharged into a 250-gal holding tank. Every eight to 10 months, the oil is properly emptied and disposed of off-site.

Gallagher said the unit has done its job when it comes to regulatory compliance. An effective waste minimization program not only can reduce the costs, liabilities and regulatory burdens of hazardous waste management, but also can enhance community relations.

Gallagher Uniform can attest to all these benefits, particularly when it comes to opening and strengthening the company’s relationship with the surrounding community.

"Abanaki has allowed us to build a good relationship with the city,” Gallagher added. "Due to its effectiveness, we are now viewed as having taken a proactive stance with regulatory compliance. As a result, the city inspector relaxed limits and raised pH levels."

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