Water Treatment Shouldn’t Be A Black Box

At Klenzoid, we believe that Water Treatment shouldn’t be a black box.

Therefore, we’ve asked our knowledgeable and passionate engineers to initiate discussions about water related topics on a monthly basis.

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Our Latest Posts

Cooling Water Treatment

Summer is Heating Up – Top 5 Ways to Save on Cooling Tower Bleed

Cooling towers work by taking advantage of heat lost to the atmosphere when water evaporates. It’s officially peak season to find ways to improve your tower performance. Whether your cooling tower is used for HVAC cooling, cold storage, or an industrial application, reducing the amount of bleed can reduce your water consumption and chemical use.

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Raising the Bar - Pole Vaulter
Water Safety

Are Legionella Regulations Raising The Bar?

Klenzoid used the power of AquaAnalytics to review the impact of localized Legionella regulations on the incidence and level of Legionella in cooling towers. This blog provides a preview of the conclusions that will be presented in Baltimore at the Legionella Conference 2018 (#LEGIONELLA2018) organized by NSF International with the support from the National Science Foundation and participation from U.S. EPA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

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Plastic Shipping Containers
Sustainability

Earth Day 2018: Ending the Plastic Pollution Problem

Ending plastic pollution is not about cutting out plastic from our lives, it is about making a fundamental shift in how we think about the lifecycle of a piece of plastic. Industries that rely heavily on the use of plastics, including the Water Treatment industry, must create solutions that reduce the amount of plastic that goes to the landfill.

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Sustainability

World Water Day Leaders

In honor of World Water Day, we are celebrating our clients who have demonstrated to be sustainability leaders. The following Sustainability Leadership Award recipients, implemented continuous improvement opportunities within their facilities, realizing savings in water & energy and improvements in operational efficiency.

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Wasting Money
Boiler Water Treatment

Your Offline Boiler May Be Costing You Money!

Offline periods can damage your boiler, decreasing its useful life and increasing maintenance and repair costs. With proper planning and preparation, a boiler can be safely taken offline with a procedure known as a boiler layup.

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Element Aluminum
Boiler Water Treatment

Can Aluminum Boilers ‘Play Nice’ with Other Metals?

Aluminum is becoming more common for use in heat transfer applications due to its very high conductance of heat. However, aluminum is highly reactive when compared to other materials such as steel, requiring a specialized treatment program to minimize corrosion of aluminum while maintaining protection of other metals.

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Boiler Water Treatment

Choosing the Right Dealkalizer for Your System

A dealkalizer is a pre-treatment device commonly seen in boiler rooms which is responsible for removing carbonate alkalinity in the feed water before it reaches the boiler. In many cases, the water chemistry parameter which hits its limit first is alkalinity.

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Cooling Water Treatment

5 Reasons to Filter Cooling Tower Water

Evaporative cooling systems such as cooling towers are widely used for rejecting heat and maintaining temperatures in a variety of applications by directing high flow rates of air counter-currently to water flow. This, consequently, also makes cooling

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Cooling Water Treatment

Cooling Tower Passivation Explained

New evaporative cooling systems, typically cooling towers, ammonia condensers and fluid coolers are manufactured with several options for materials of construction, each with their own benefits and draw backs. Hot-dipped galvanized steel (steel that

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Feedwater Tank
Boiler Water Treatment

4 Common Issues in Feedwater Tank Design and Operation

Boiler water treatment is critical to ensuring your boiler is operating as efficiently as possible and no proper water treatment program is complete without a thorough understanding of the feedwater setup. A crucial step in preparing the feedwater for the

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Purchasing

4 Things Every Purchaser Should Know About Water Treatment

Water Treatment can be a tricky category to purchase. I’ve spent much of my career trying to explain the nuances. There are many different offerings in the marketplace, and on the surface, the costs can appear to span a very large range. So let’s get started

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Steam Humidification
Boiler Water Treatment

Steam Humidification: Choose Your Own Adventure

The relative humidity level in our built environments is critical to prevent occupant discomfort and/or damage to building materials. Choose to read the quick high level summary, or test your knowledge by following this interactive blog that delves deeper

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Waterside Inspections Sludge Example
Boiler Water Treatment

A Guide to Waterside Inspections

Performing regular waterside inspections of your critical system equipment is an important part of a successful preventative maintenance program. As we enter the holiday season, many systems may be temporarily shut down, providing a perfect

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Water Softener Salt
Pre-Treatment

Is My Softener Wasting Salt?

Water softeners are commonplace in industrial and institutional settings. These units utilize salt to ideally eliminate the hardness of the incoming water. Since salt usage is essential for softener function and has associated environmental and financial costs,

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Water Meter
Water Management

The Rising Costs of Water

The value of water is often overlooked and taken for granted due to its abundance. Although water makes up 70% of our planet, only 2.5% of this is fresh water, and of this scarce supply, less than 1% is freely available in non-glacial forms.

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Cooling Water Treatment

Successful Cooling Tower Start-Ups in 5 Simple Steps

Many HVAC evaporative cooling systems are idle or off throughout the winter months, and are often drained to prevent freezing. These extended shutdowns provide excellent conditions for deposits to form and bacteria to grow. When starting up the

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Boiler Room
Boiler Water Treatment

5 Steps to Increase Steam Boiler Efficiency

Close to 40% of all fossil fuel burned by industry is consumed in steam production. Simple steps can have a large operational impact on the cost of fuel, water, treatment, and labor. The chart shows a typical breakdown of these costs where

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Dealkalizer Technologies

Some important design considerations for the chloride cycle dealkalizer are:

  • Feed water must be softened
    • Calcium chloride can precipitate and foul the beads
  • Minimal impact on total dissolved solids
  • Potential small decrease in blowdown requirements
  • Relatively low capital cost, reasonably effective, simple to operate

 

Some important design considerations for the WAC dealkalizer are: 

  • Additional softening required. WAC can remove as much hardness as there is available alkalinity – any residual hardness needs to be removed before the boiler.
  • Efficiency reduction with increasing flow rate, decreasing kinetics.
  • Handling of acid
    • Sulfuric acid – heat of hydration is a concern (can’t have plastic tanks, plastic piping), higher concentrations are available (up to 93%), calcium sulfate precipitation can be a concern for water sources high in sulfate levels)
    • Hydrochloric acid – fumes, plastic can be used, calcium chloride precipitation is not a concern, lower concentrations available (up to 32%)
  • Higher capital cost, very effective, easy to operate, larger footprint

Ion Exchange Explained



A quick review of ion exchange is required to understand dealkalization and we’ll use the water softening process as an example, as most boiler operators are very familiar with this.  Water softeners use strong acid cation (SAC) resin for ion exchange.  SAC resin has an affinity for divalent ions (Calcium, Magnesium) meaning that the resin wants to grab a hold of these divalent ions as they’re passing through the bed and exchange them with the sodium ions. Once resin is saturated and there are no more available free resin beads for ion exchange, a brute force wash of the SAC bead with sodium chloride (salt) brine is required.

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How to Minimize Amine Requirements



Amines should be dosed at the minimum rate required to neutralize carbonic acid, and to maintain pH levels of 8.0 to 9.0 in condensate.

In situations where incoming alkalinity levels are elevated, the concentration of amine required to neutralize the resulting elevated CO2 levels may exceed OTLs or even PELs. A number of alternatives are available to decrease alkalinity levels from incoming water:
  • Reverse osmosis (RO) Weak-acid dealkalization (WAC)
  • Chloride-cycle dealkalization
  • Demineralization (Demin)
RO, WAC and Demin units remove alkalinity from incoming water sources, and are often implemented to reduce energy and/or water consumption in steam plants because they decrease the overall mineral concentration of dissolved solids from incoming water. However, the chloride-cycle dealkalizer is a standout choice if the goal is to simply reduce incoming alkalinity on a budget. It operates much like a softener unit, and can decrease alkalinity levels by up to 95%.


Chloride-Cycle Dealkalizer Operation

Chloride cycle dealkalizers use strong base anion (SBA) ion exchange resin to swap carbonate and bicarbonate ions for chloride ions.  The footprint is similar a sodium softener, and they also use salt as the primary regenerant.  A small amount of sodium hydroxide if also often used to increase the effective capacity per regeneration.



The reduction of alkalinity in the feedwater, reduces the formation of carbonic acid in condensate, thus reducing the required amount of amines to neutralize the carbonic acid to maintain pH levels of 8.0 to 9.0 in condensate.

Implementation of a chloride-cycle dealkalizer can reduce your amine requirement by up to 90%.

PELs & OTLs



There are 2 important concentration guidelines:
  • Permissible Exposure Limits (PELs)
  • Odor Threshold Limits (OTL)
The following table describes the limits set by Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) and American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH):


Exceeding PELs poses a health risk to occupants. These PELs should never be exceeded for any period of time. See this link for a related article from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/00001848.htm

It is best practice to also follow OTLs to minimize the likelihood of complaints from occupants, especially from those with sensitivities.

A More Detailed Look at the Components of Steam



Oxygen

Liquid water always contains some concentration of oxygen (O2). The solubility of oxygen is primarily determined by the temperature of the water. Higher temperatures reduce the solubility of oxygen in water (see graph).
Because oxygen is extremely corrosive in high temperature water, steam boiler treatment programs use chemical and/or mechanical means of eliminating dissolved oxygen in water. An effectively treated steam boiler, and the steam it produces, will have near-zero dissolved oxygen concentrations.

Carbon Dioxide

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is released by the heating of carbonate (CO32-) and bicarbonate (HCO3-) in boiler water. These ions are naturally present in water from lakes, rivers and underground wells, and their concentration determines the alkalinity of the water source. The amount of carbonate alkalinity entering the boiler is proportional to the volume of carbon dioxide gas that will be in the generated steam. Carbon dioxide eventually forms carbonic acid in condensate. Higher alkalinity values result in greater carbonic acid concentrations.


The Release of Carbon Dioxide



The above reactions describe the release of carbon dioxide gas from sodium bicarbonate (1) and sodium carbonate (2).

The heat energy in boiler water is sufficient for the first reaction to proceed to 100% completion.  The completion of the second reaction is dependent on increasing pressure and temperature.

Higher carbonate and bicarbonate levels in boiler feedwater will lead to proportionally higher concentrations of CO2 in steam.

Amines

The amine compounds used in boiler water treatment are selected based on their boiling point, and their distribution ratio. The distribution ratio is a measure of how far the amine will travel before condensing. An optimal blend of amines will protect the entire condensate piping network (near and far). Amines are considered volatile organic compounds, and their concentration must be monitored to prevent exposure to levels beyond permissible limits.


Lesson about Amines to Impress Your Water Treatment Professional



Amines are a functional group in organic chemistry, and are derivatives of ammonia. They are separated into three main groups, primary, secondary and tertiary amines. These groups are defined by the number of hydrogen atoms replaced by organic substituents.

The most commonly used amines for neutralizing carbonic acid in condensate are:
  • cyclohexylamine (CHA)
  • diethylaminoethanol (DEAE)
  • morpholine
These amines are selected for their availability, basicity (ability to neutralize acids), boiling points, and most importantly, distribution ratios.

Distribution ratios (DR) are a measure of the how far amines will travel with steam before condensing. A proper blend of amines will include low DRs to protect condensate piping closest to the boiler, and high DRs to protect piping in longer and more complex condensate networks. Below is a table with the properties of the amines discussed above.

Other Types of Humidification Systems

Pan Humidifiers:

Pan humidifiers are essentially small shallow basins filled with water. The basins are heated with electric elements or steam, with the intent of evaporating water.

Pan humidifiers are found in smaller HVAC systems, and are susceptible to biological and corrosion fouling.

Water Spray Humidifiers:

This design uses an array of nozzles to atomize liquid water directly into the air stream. The phase change from liquid to vapour causes a noticeable drop in air temperature.

This type of system is most susceptible to biological and corrosion fouling. Facilities with year-long continuous cooling loads requiring high RH are best suited for this technology.

Steam to Steam or Clean Steam Generators:

These systems are small steam boilers, specifically designed to produce steam from high purity water sources, such as demineralization, or reverse osmosis. The energy input comes from steam raised elsewhere in the facility by a traditional steam boiler.

This design is typically more costly, and adds complexity, but produces steam with no boiler water treatment compounds.


Clean steam generators can only produce steam at low pressures.  The packaged heat exchangers rely on the higher energy content of higher pressure steam.

Water purity is critical for clean steam generators.
  • Low hardness levels (>3ppm of calcium, magnesium, or iron) will lead to fouling of heat exchange surfaces.
  • Water with even moderate alkalinity levels will release CO2 gas which will corrode any condensate piping components.
  • Moderate levels of total dissolved solids (TDS) will lead to priming or carry over, which may damage the steam control valves and/or contaminate the steam.
Therefore, Reverse Osmosis (RO) systems are ideal for humidifier makeup.  These units are designed to remove nearly all of the minerals from incoming water sources, and produce water with TDS concentrations of 0-5 ppm.

Steam to steam generators do cycle up.  Despite high purity makeup, there are always some dissolved solids.  If the generators do not purge some volume of water regularly, the bulk water will concentrate beyond acceptable levels, causing water discolouration and may lead to fouling and/or corrosion to system components depending on materials of construction.

Effects of Humidification on Occupant Comfort and Building Materials

RH levels have a direct impact on the health of patrons in a facility.

When humidity is too low occupants will get dry skin, irritated sinus, throats and eyes.

When humidity is too high mold/mildew problems can occur in the building, thus increasing the risk of illness to occupants. These health impacts are of increased concern with health care facilities who treat immunocompromised patients.

RH levels also have an impact on building materials.

The amount of moisture the material can hold will determine the extent to which it shrinks and swells with fluctuations in humidity. The effect is especially pronounced in wood and drywall, where gaps and cracks will form over time.

Windows are also prone to condensation in cold climates because they generally have little insulation value. The likelihood of condensation on windows increases as the indoor relative humidity rises, and the outdoor temperature decreases.

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