Hydro Instruments

Comparing the Realities of Elemental Chlorine vs. Sodium Hypochlorite

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Courtesy of Hydro Instruments

Recently, we have seen a growing trend towards the use of a less reliable and more costly disinfection chemical, Sodium Hypochlorite. Much of this can be attributed to the fact that large companies making chemical metering pumps for other uses or other alternative disinfection devices as well as chemical suppliers who profit more by selling costly Sodium Hypochlorite have proliferated misleading information about Chlorine gas.

It is inarguable fact that elemental Chlorine (gas) is more reliably fed, more chemically stable, more easily transported and much more economical than Sodium Hypochlorite. These are fundamental facts, which are beyond any honest dispute.

The benefits of Chlorine gas use are seldom discussed. However, they play a major role in the reliable effectiveness of public drinking water and wastewater treatment facilities around the world. They also help to keep residents utility bills at reasonable levels.

Chlorine-gas is 100% elemental Chlorine. It's use involves no other chemical additives. It can be stored for long periods of time without any weakening in effective strength. Chlorine is geenrally (and should always be) fed under vacuum. In all-vacuum feed systems, no pressurized gas exists outside of the cylinder and the risk of pressurized leaks is extremely low. Because it is a gas, it can be accurately, reliably and repeatedly metered without much concern for equipment fouling.

Sodium Hypochlorite (liquid bleach) is chemically unstable and is constantly flashing into vapor, weakening in effective disinfection strength and producing small solids (crystals), which foul metering equipment. All of these inherent problems make it immeasurably more difficult to reliably meter and therefore (inevitably) make it a less reliable means of disinfecting water systems. Furthermore, its use requires some contact with personnel, requires more storage space, cannot be stored for long periods of time, is much more expensive than Chlorine gas and (when improperly stored) can produce vaporous off-gassing of strong Chlorine fumes that can injure personnel and damage equipment. Statistics on reported injuries to personnel have been compiled on this subject by several government authorities, which show that injury is more than 6 times as common when using Sodium Hypochlorite as opposed to Chlorine-gas.

Recently, we have seen a growing trend towards the use of a less reliable and more costly disinfection chemical, Sodium Hypochlorite. Much of this can be attributed to the fact that large companies making chemical metering pumps for other uses or other alternative disinfection devices as well as chemical suppliers who profit more by selling costly Sodium Hypochlorite have proliferated misleading information about Chlorine gas.

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