Paint fumes and emissions are regulated by governmental agencies concerned with the environment. An enclosed paint booth traps paint particles and fumes, making them a hazard to the painter. When released from the booth, the fumes and particles are also a hazard to the environment and can be a fire hazard. For this reason, paint booths must have an environmentally friendly filtration system. One form of filtration system is the water wall, also called a waterfall or water wash filtration system.
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According to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), a water wash booth is a paint booth with a water washing system which minimises dust and residue entering the exhaust system and allows for the recovery of overspray materials. A water wall paint booth contains a wall that is covered by a flow of water. The exhaust system within the booth helps pull the paint particles toward the water wall, trapping the harmful components in the water. At the bottom of the wall is a trough that catches the dirty water and reduces the amount of overspray that leaves the booth through the exhaust system.
To help separate the overspray from the water, painters add chemicals to the water to clean it. The chemical removes the tackiness of the overspray paint and allows it to enter the water. Depending on the type of chemical used, the overspray will either float or sink in the water wall trough. Since the water wall is catching most of the overspray, clean air leaves the booth through the exhaust system rather than paint laden air.
Another component of the water wall filtration system is the baffle. Baffles, located in the trough section, are devices that cause the air that flows through the booth to change direction. With the direction change, the paint particles are constantly pulled back down into the water, keeping the air cleaner. The water used in a water wall requires occasional replacement as paint build up causes clogs and bacterial growth.
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