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Why Does Water Need Treatment?
Absolutely pure water is a rarity. Most corporations must treat their water in one or two ways in order to find it acceptable for their processes. Below are some common problems associated with water, along with the benefits of addressing these problems.
Sediment in the Water
In many cases, businesses use water to clean their commercial or industrial processes and end products. It’s almost impossible to adequately cleanse processes and products when the water being used is full of dirt and other sediment. Substances like these may cause plugged piping or fouled water treatment equipment; therefore, many companies use a commercial or industrial water filter, which can remove iron, sulfur, sand and chlorine as well as neutralize acid. A benefit of filtering water is a cleaner end product.
Hard water, which is the term given to water with high amounts of calcium and magnesium present, is responsible for the formation of lime scaling in pipes, water heaters and boilers-causing inefficiency and sometimes permanent damage to units. Hardness in water also increases soap consumption, wasting from 50-90% of the soap used, depending on the amount of hardness. It causes the formation of soap curd, which adheres to cloth, fibers, hair, glassware and dishes. This curd causes poor results in laundering and may hold pathogenic bacteria. Many companies install a commercial or industrial water softener to correct these problems. Within a short amount of time, a water softener almost always pays for itself through reduced energy consumption, extended water appliance life and decreased plumbing repairs.
Minerals in the Water
Sometimes, water contains dissolved mineral salts, organics and other particles, which interfere with manufacturing cleansing processes. Companies often install reverse osmosis systems (RO systems) to correct this problem. An RO system is capable of the highest filtration level possible, cleansing feed water with strong oxidants and making it free from biological contamination. Water coming out of a commercial or industrial RO system is up to 99% pure.
Bacteria and Biological Contamination
Scientific studies have shown that 85% of child sickness and 65% of adult diseases are produced by water-borne viruses, bacteria and intestinal protozoa such as Cryptosporidium and Giardia. Inappropriate water treatment can lead to heath problems – hepatitis B, tuberculosis, meningitis, typhoid fever, tricomoniasis, and cholera, glaucoma, gastrointestinal pain, salmonella, poliovirus, and diarrhea. Commercial and Industrial UV lights, or UV disinfection systems, can be used to treat water to destroy greater than 99.9% of micro-organisms. They are often used in hospitals, laboratories and manufacturing processes such as in pharmaceutical production to sterilize the water supply. The feed water needs to be very clean for a UV light to disinfect properly so the water is often cleaned first with commercial or industrial carbon filters, water softeners, reverse osmosis (RO) systems and deionizers.
Alkalinity in the Water
Alkalinity in water is undesirable because it can cause much lower efficiency in a boiler due to more frequent blow down of the water leading to greatly increased water and energy usage in boilers. It also tends to cause iron and copper pickup in piping systems and contributes to staining problems. Blue to green staining will result if the piping is copper, or red staining will happen if the piping is iron. The lower the pH in water, the greater the corrosive tendency of that water. Many companies solve these problems by installing an industrial grade dealkalizer or reverse osmosis (RO) system, which can significantly lower operating costs, prevent corrosion in lines and decrease staining.
Ions in the Water
The presence of ions in water is undesirable because they interfere with manufacturing cleansing processes. This problem can be corrected through the use of an industrial grade deionizer (also known as a demineralizer) or deionization (DI) exchange tanks, which can remove all ions, including silica and carbon dioxide. The low silica content produced by strong base deionizers is especially important where high pressure steam is used to drive turbines, yet manufacturing processes that add water directly to finished product, or wash and rinse operations where spot drying is important, also benefit from deionizers or DI exchange tanks.
Gases in the Water
Carbon dioxide is the most common gas found in water, and it tends to combine with water to create carbonic acid-a weak acid that accelerates corrosion, particularly when heated. Many companies utilize a an industrial water degasifier to remove the carbon dioxide as well as benzene, chlorinated hydrocarbons and pesticides and herbicides. The advantages of installing a degasifier in a water treatment system include no use of regenerant chemicals, low energy consumption and low mineral content (a dealkalizer or reverse osmosis system can also accomplish these desired results).