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In-line pH balancing for concrete washout water!

Designed and manufactured by Smart Storm, the NeutraliZer™ is a wholly unique, mobile, in-line treatment plant, that uses CO2 to continuously neutralise high alkaline concrete washout water, this equipment is unlike any other product on the market.

The concrete wash water issue
The pH of concrete wash water from construction and building sites is highly caustic (pH 12-14), which makes it extremely damaging to the environment if discharged to the watercourse. It is also illegal to discharge without an acceptable pH level (usually 6-9). This also applies to concrete wagon washouts to sewer and surface drains, where it is usually illegal to discharge below pH 6 and above pH 10.

It is not practical to simply dilute the concrete washout with clean water, as 10,000 litres of clean water would be required to reduce 1 litre of concrete wash water down from pH 13 to pH 9. Standard practice in industrial effluent control uses acids, eg, Hydrochloric, Sulphuric or Nitric to neutralise the caustic effluent streams via batch treatment.

Building and construction sites are often confined in working area, with many moving vehicles, and so use of acid for pH neutralisation is extremely hazardous, requiring safe handling and storage, and presenting considerable Health and Safety risks on site. These methods of pH balancing are usually static, require time consuming batch processing, occupy a large footprint, are labour intensive and are not very mobile.

CO2 as concrete washout treatment
CO2 for pH balancing has been in use for other applications, but never used before to neutralise highly caustic concrete runoff on a continuous flow basis. Many months of time and dedication spent on research and development by Smart Storm into In-line mixing technology, resulted in the innovative ‘NeutraliZer’.

The standard method of using CO2 to neutralise concrete wash water uses a batch system where CO2 is blown into a tank, and once the correct pH is reached the CO2 is turned off, and the wash water released. This process is quite elementary, without any process control. This type of plant occupies a large footprint, and due to the batching process, it can only treat wash water in a non-continuous manner.

Smart Storm’s NeutraliZer™ was designed to provide a simple and efficient alternative to the aforementioned treatment methods and their inherent problems.

Figure 1 Remote Cloud-based monitoring

The NeutraliZer™ inline continuous flow CO2 treatment
The NeutraliZer™ works by first monitoring the caustic washout with Smart Storm’s USM pH meter, and based on these readings, carbon dioxide (CO2) is automatically dissolved into the wash water flow to reduce the pH to a safe level for discharge; all this happens on a continuous flow basis.

A flow meter monitors the effluent leaving the unit, which can treat up to 25m3 of wastewater per hour. CO2 dissolved in water is slightly acidic so is ideal for neutralising concrete wash water and CO2 self-buffers so cannot overdose no matter how much is injected.

The Neutralizer comes with an IOT remote monitoring system as standard so the user can monitor 24/7 the status of the pH balancing and show compliance with logs and graphs to regulatory bodies, such as the EA, Natural Resources Wales and SEEPA.

The NeutraliZer™ is the only CO2 pH balancer on the market that offers all the following benefits.

Key features

  • Continuous processing system – advanced in-line mixer
  • Skid-mounted and highly mobile – small footprint
  • No hazardous chemicals or batch treatment
  • Fully automated with alarm beacons (pH/out of gas)
  • Rugged construction
  • Simple to install and user-friendly – Plug and Go!
  • In-built storage for 8 gas bottles
  • Integral flowmeter
  • Remote Cloud-based monitoring
  • Up to 25m3/h flow rate


  • Construction and building sites
  • Concrete wagon wash outs
  • Mining
  • Quarrying
  • Demolition sites
  • Concrete paving and brick manufacturing
  • Mortar bucket wash outs

Satisfied customers
A major HS2 contractor was asked for feedback and replied, “From the outset we found Hydrainer Pump Hire and their partners Smart Storm to be very professional in how they operated. They completed an initial site survey and produced a design to accommodate for the specific needs of the project. This included a number of hydraulic pumps, a network of piping, a settlement tank, and the new advanced PH Balancing system (The NeutraliZer). We have found Hydrainer Pump Hire to be expert in this field and very efficient in meeting our needs. Their in-line pH system has been very reliable, and the company provides a very well managed 24/7 maintenance service. I would highly recommend their services.”

The NeutraliZer has also been successfully used as an emergency pH balancing unit for a large Scottish distillery which suffered a breakdown of its in-house pH balancing system. This demonstrates further the versatility of the NeutraliZer as a mobile unit that can be deployed for emergency response.

The NeutraliZer™ is available to Hire or Buy. For more information, contact Smart Storm on: +44 (0)1422 363462 or visit:

For all your Trade Effluent needs!