Why Treat Water
Water has many unique properties that allow it to be used for a wide variety of purposes. Some obvious uses would include drinking water, cooking with water, washing, and even transportation as via ships and barges. Water has excellent thermal properties. It can be heated; even to the point of converting it to a gas we call steam. It can be cooled, providing the air conditioning we enjoy in office buildings. Finally, unlike many of our fossil fuels, it is plentiful (three-quarters of the earth is covered with water), and it's relatively cheap.
With all of these wonderful characteristics there still can be problems in using water. For drinking and domestic water uses, our municipal water treatment plants typically filter the water to remove material suspended in the water, and then add chlorine to kill any microorganisms that may cause health problems in humans.
In addition to these suspended material and microorganisms, there are others that can cause problems as we use water for other purposes. Some of the common impurities can easily be identified:
Hardness: we measure that as the amount of calcium and magnesium in the water. Hardness can lead to scale deposits. A great example of this would be to take some tap water and boil it on the stove. If the water totally boils away what do you see ' a white deposit on the sides and bottom of the pan. That's scale. See the discussion in the boiler and cooling water section for the significance of these deposits in those types of systems.
Oxygen: while oxygen is essential for human life and for ignition and burning, it can be very corrosive when it is heated in the water. This type of corrosion is evidenced as pits on the waterside of pipes. This can lead to early pipe failure and needed replacement ' a costly process.
Alkalinity: while some alkalinity is beneficial, some can be converted to corrosive gases. These can lead to pipe corrosion failures. Additionally, alkalinity can be combined with hardness to form scale.
Silica: a naturally occurring element we know commonly as sand. While excellent for making glass, silica can form tenacious deposits on heat transfer equipment.
Iron: also found in nature, iron can form very dense deposits on heat transfer tubes.
Microorganisms: as mentioned earlier, some may be harmful to humans. Others can form energy robbing deposits and films in many industrial applications. The most obvious form, but not the biggest trouble maker, is algae. Other microorganisms can actually attack metal and form pits if untreated.
The reason we treat water then is to insure all the beneficial characteristics of water while at the same time providing protection from:
Scale Deposits: energy robbing = wasted $$
Corrosion: costly replacement of failed equipment and piping
Fouling: suspended material that can become part of deposits
Microbiological attack: extremely energy consuming films that will also likely result in scale formation, increased deposition from fouling, increased corrosion attacks.
Uncontrolled microbio activity can also increase risk and liability issues as in the case with Legionella bacteria.
Successful water treatment programs can be measured by how well they:
- Help our customer's bottom line by protecting systems from energy robbing deposits.
- Protect our customer's equipment from excessive corrosion.
- Protect our customer's employees from exposure and risk.
- Protect our environment from chemical waste abuse and contamination.
The material provided in this bulletin is informational in nature and is not intended to be instructions for a particular location or installation. There is no guarantee, warranty or other assurance of fitness of purpose or operational performance or results either express or implied. The user assumes all risk in following the information provided. Always read and follow product safety and performance instructions on product labels, Material Data Safety Sheets and those provided specifically for your requirements by your CE Water resentative.
CE Water Management, Inc - 3250 Brinkerhoff Road - Kansas City, KS 66115
913.621.7047 (Tel) - 913.621.0760 (Fax) - firstname.lastname@example.org