Cleaning Your Acrylic Waste Water Made Easy!!

Early in our efforts here to be good stewards of our environment, we had to learn how to deal with our manufacturing waste. We began this business 40 years ago in a barn on the site of my folk’s retirement home. The well they drew water from was only 20 feet away from the barn. For all sorts of good reasons, including not being disowned by my parents, we had to learn how to care for our waste stream. All manufacturing water had to be carted off site and delivered to an approved sewage treatment site. In our first attempts to reduce the waste stream, we tried evaporating the water and then disposing of large acrylic skins. This would have worked (I’m sure) if we had our shop in Arizona, but didn’t stand a chance in Upstate NY!

It was Ben Gavett, our Regulatory Affairs Director, who came up with the system for being able to separate our solids and then run it through a filter so that we could safely send the water to a treatment plant without all the pigment or acrylic residue. I asked Ben if there was some way we could create a similar system for artists to use in their own studios. Using a chemical reaction to create large particles or flocs of pigment and acrylic, we could then filter the paint/water mixture through a filter and end up with quite clear and neutral pH water. Ben’s task was to find easy to purchase and safe materials for artists to use in their home studios.

Ben landed on two chemicals that are readily available in plant and garden stores: Alum, or aluminum sulphate (a weak acid) and lime or calcium hydroxide (a base). Both of these are used as plant amendments to correct soil conditions for gardeners. He designed a worksheet for artists to use safely in 1996. Interest in this topic has not waned since we first published Removing Water-Based Paint Solids from Rinse Water.

Artists were willing to assemble all the items from various vendors, a large funnel and enormous filter paper, pH measurement papers, gloves, masks as well as the two chemical agents in powder form that had to be measured and premixed with water, all for the sake of removing acrylic binder and pigment from their water before sending it down their pipes and into the water systems.

Redesigned by Ben Gavett and colleague Christian Campbell, Senior Regulatory Affairs Specialist, we have a brand new cleaning system for 2020! We are offering a complete kit with all the equipment and supplies needed to process acrylic-based painting wastewater. Gone are all the dry powders, which have been replaced with liquid solutions for easier handling and there is no longer a need to scour the internet and hardware stores to find the necessary system components. The new kit called Crash Paint Solids is a Wastewater Cleaning System that includes everything you need to successfully clean out the damaging solids that might clog your drains or go into the waste stream untreated. Besides including the solutions in dosing bottles that easily allows for perfect additions to your waste water, we’ve included filter papers, a stainless-steel colander that fits perfectly into the clear pail provided, as well as a gallon pail to collect your dirty waste water. We have also created an additional refill kit that simply includes the filter paper and dosing chemicals to keep the overall cost down for treating your water.

It really is magic. Check out this link  to see the kit in action and visit the website, which includes instructions on using the Crash Paint Solids kit. Call us at 800-959-6543 for availability.

22 Responses to Cleaning Your Acrylic Waste Water Made Easy!!

  1. Marianne Barcellona March 19, 2020 at 10:08 am #

    Thank you thank you thank you!!!!

    • Mark Golden March 20, 2020 at 11:01 am #

      Thank you Marianne!!

  2. Ellen McCormick Martens March 19, 2020 at 10:39 am #

    I still have plenty of alum and lime, and other components, but once I use them up, I will be glad to purchase a kit. Thank you for developing this!

    • Mark Golden March 20, 2020 at 11:01 am #

      Ellen the Alum and Lime work like a charm. Just keep the dust down and your great! Best, Mark

  3. Mary D Martin March 19, 2020 at 11:38 am #

    Thank you so much for making this product available. I appreciate your concern for the environment and for making it easier for artists to reduce our impact on the environment as well.

    • Mark Golden March 20, 2020 at 11:00 am #

      Thanks Mary, I hope it gets into wide circulation. It is really just fun to watch the process! Best, Mark

  4. Stella Schneider March 19, 2020 at 11:59 am #

    KUDOs to Golden!!

    • Mark Golden March 20, 2020 at 10:59 am #

      Thanks Stella, stay safe! Best, Mark

  5. Painter Martens March 19, 2020 at 12:21 pm #

    This is fantastic. I can hardly wait until I get mine. Thank you.

    • Mark Golden March 20, 2020 at 10:59 am #

      Thanks, we’re excited by the early response! Best, Mark

  6. Stephen Carpenter March 19, 2020 at 12:38 pm #

    I’m In on this. Beats letting everything sit in hopes that there will be sediment.

    • Mark Golden March 20, 2020 at 10:58 am #

      Stephen, I’ve been showing the old system to artists for years now, and as well as it worked, practically no one wanted to use it. Hopefully we’ll turn the corner on this with the kit!!

  7. T Hanna March 19, 2020 at 9:57 pm #

    Please make this available to Canadian artists, too.

    • Mark Golden March 20, 2020 at 10:57 am #

      As soon as we can!! In the mean time, I know it’s a pain, but the system tagged in the post does share a do-it-yourself parts to assemble. A bit messy, but it really works! Stay safe, Mark

    • Greg Watson March 20, 2020 at 10:57 am #

      Hello T,
      Thanks for your interest! The Crash Paint Solids kit and refills are available through our website! The link is in the article. You can purchase here:

  8. Eric Wiswell March 31, 2020 at 12:55 pm #

    Thanks so much for making this kit available. I’ve just started using it. Easy and clean to use. Also my septic system is benefiting.

  9. Lauren Kafka April 24, 2020 at 9:27 pm #

    This looks fabulous. Can’t wait to try it. Do you know if Plaza Arts sells this kit? If not, I’ll buy it directly from you. Will also try to spread the word!

  10. Leanne May 26, 2020 at 7:54 pm #

    How many buckets worth are in the initial kit?

    • Mark Golden May 26, 2020 at 8:28 pm #

      Leanne the initial supply is for 16 gallons of waste water. We throw in extra filter paper as some folks find the first time they try the kit they tear the wet paper. But it’s really incredibly easy once you get the hang of it.

  11. Chris Codding September 1, 2020 at 7:03 pm #

    Will this also filter out Matte Medium solids from my rinse water? I use a lot of it and would like to keep it out of my septic tank. Thanks!

    • Michael Townsend September 10, 2020 at 11:45 am #

      Hi Chris.
      Thanks for your question. Yes. The matting solids would be captured along with the pigment and acrylic binders.
      -Mike Townsend

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