What are Some Industrial Water Treatment Solutions?

Caitlin Kenney

There are three types of industrial water treatment: boiler water treatment, cooling water treatment, and wastewater treatment. Proper industrial water treatment is important for businesses to operate efficiently, and to protect the health of workers. In instances where the industry is manufacturing water-intensive goods, proper treatment is needed to ensure safe, effective products.

A water tower.
A water tower.

The main purposes of industrial water treatment are to manage wastewater disposal, microbiological growth, scaling, and corrosion in processes such as cooling, heating, and cleaning. Corrosion occurs when the metals, particularly in piping, begin to oxidize. Rust, for example, is a form of corrosion. This degradation of the metal can cause rust build-ups that make water difficult to pump through pipes and leaks which can lead to major malfunctions.

Some industrial wastewater treatment processes remove contaminants and then pipes the water back into use in the factory.
Some industrial wastewater treatment processes remove contaminants and then pipes the water back into use in the factory.

Scaling occurs when the minerals in water accumulate on the pipes, causing a thickening of the pipe wall and a narrowing of the pipe’s interior. Because industrial cooling water stays warm, it provides a good environment for harmful microbes to grow, so this water must be treated to prevent outbreaks of disease.

Boiler industrial water treatment cleans water outside and inside the boiler. A boiler is a device that heats water or other fluids to be used for heating processes, such as providing hot water, steam for heat or locomotion, or transferring energy from one medium to another. Industrial water treatment protects the boiler from corrosion and scaling, ensures high quality steam, and preserves continuous heat exchange through external and internal treatment. External water treatment may remove impurities in the water outside the boiler via means of evaporation, cation exchange softeners, or chemical treatment. Internal water treatment removes impurities in the water inside the boiler through chemical softeners, anti-scaling agents, sequestering agents, and oxygen scavengers.

Cooling water treatment cleans the cooling water to prevent corrosion and scaling in the cooling equipment and stem the growth of microbes in cooling water. Cooling water is used in many industrial processes to transfer heat away from industrial equipment. Industrial water treatment for cooling water traditionally uses chlorination to prevent the growth of microbes, but several green alternatives are available, such as ozone generators. Cooling water also needs anti-corrosion chemicals, such as zinc-phosphates, anti-scaling chemicals, and anti-foaming agents to prevent wear and tear on the cooling water piping and the water towers.

Industrial wastewater treatment cleans water that has been contaminated by industrial processes before it is released into the environment or recycled in the industry. In the agriculture industry, contaminants often include pesticides and animal waste. Mines and quarries often release oils, unwanted metals, and fine rock particles into wastewater, textile industries often release dyes into water, and iron and steel industries release oils, ammonia, and other contaminants. To control these contaminants, industries may use several different industrial water treatment tactics, depending on the nature of the wastewater.

Wastewater treatment requires neutralization and the extraction of particles, oils, color, sediment, and organic materials in wastewater. This is achieved through a physical chemical treatment called coagulation-flocculation. In this process, particles are coagulated and floated or settled to the bottom of the wastewater. The waste can then be skimmed off or filtered. The wastewater may require centrifugation if the particles are especially heavy.

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