Industrial water treatment is crucial for a wide variety of manufacturing processes. In some cases, industry guidelines require that water be treated and optimized before use in manufacturing, and in some cases, water for re-use or disposal must also be treated. But what does industrial water treatment actually entail? Here is a brief explanation of when industrial water treatment is used and what the process entails.
When is it needed?
In most cases, industrial water treatment is used to treat water one of three purposes: industrial wastewater, boiler water or cooling water.
In the case of industrial wastewater, the main problem is treating the water before disposal so that excessive pollution doesn’t occur. Wastewater from manufacturing contain chemicals that are potentially harmful to surrounding ecosystems, so most plants have onsite facilities for the purpose of cleaning wastewater and reducing pollutant concentration before disposal.
Boiler water treatment mostly involves treating the water so that no damage occurs to the boiler system. The high temperature present in boilers means that there is little to no microbe growth to worry about, but scaling and corrosion can still cause problems. Scaling occurs when minerals build up in solid layers and inhibit boiler function, while corrosion is caused by oxidization of metals; both issues can be prevented by treating the water before it is run through the boiler.
For cooling water, the lack of high temperatures means that microbe growth can be an issue. Dust, grass, flies and fungal spores can collect in cooling water, which can create ideal conditions for microbe growth if the water in cooling towers isn’t properly treated.
How does it Work?
There are a variety of processes that can be involved in industrial water treatment depending on what the water will be used for. Here are a few of the most common types of treatment:
Filtration is perhaps the most important component of any water treatment system, and the filtration mechanisms vary depending on what is being filtered out, water flow requirements, and other factors. A variety of mediums can be used for filtration, including sand or birm, and carbon filtration is also sometimes used to remove volatile organic compounds.
Water softening is another common process. Water softening refers to the process of removing minerals such as calcium and magnesium, which can ‘harden’ the water and cause machinery to function improperly and increase energy costs. Water softening is most frequently used in boilers and cooling towers.
Deionization is one final common type of industrial water treatment. This process involves using cation or anion resins to reduce the number of dissolved solids in water being used for manufacturing. When it is properly applied, deionization processes can produce very high-purity water free of any dissolved solids.