SAMCO Technologies, Inc.

Do You Need a Raw Water Treatment System for Your Plant?


Courtesy of Courtesy of SAMCO Technologies, Inc.

Determining whether or not you need a raw water treatment system for your industrial facility can be a difficult decision. But if your plant draws from a raw water source (such as a river, lake, ocean, or groundwater), chances are you will need some sort of treatment. If left untreated, what is present in your water source can cause a variety of issues, such as contamination in drinking water that can make people sick or solids in industrial water feed that can foul equipment and cause costly system downtime, among others.

In this blog article, we explore the various reasons you might need to purchase a raw water treatment system for your plant and look at what ignoring these issues (i.e. not purchasing a raw water treatment system) could mean for your facility:

Eliminate foul odors and tastes

For industrial facilities in the food and beverage industry, using a raw water source for water feed to rinse bottles and/or make consumable products, using untreated or improperly treated raw water can result in foul odors and tastes in products. Sometimes foul odors and tastes can be caused by the presence of suspended solids, algae, or iron in your process feed water. The severity of these issues can vary with the turbidity and biological load of the raw water, which may fluctuate with changing seasons and what the best steps are to get there.

If left untreated, these contaminants that cause tastes and odors can result in a lower-quality product and possible regulatory issues if your product standards are not meeting industry standards. In general, it’s important to know what those regulations might be in addition to whether or not you are currently meeting them.

A well-designed raw water treatment facility will be able to handle a variation in turbidity, especially when it comes to clarification and gravity settling. If you do end up deciding to purchase a raw water treatment system, slightly over-designing the clarifier and chemical system in the raw water treatment system will allow you to fluctuate your chemical feed in order to deal with the changes in turbidity. Another option is using ultrafiltration directly filter the raw water feed. Since it’s an absolute barrier, it handles the seasonal variations effectively, as well.

Remove bacteria

In industrial processes, living organisms can cause all sorts of costly issues with products and industrial processes, especially in the food and beverage industry and potable water uses.

If harmful bacteria, viruses, or cysts are not removed from potable water or water used industrially for rinsing containers or making food-based products, for example, someone who might come into contact with the living organisms can experience all kinds of health issues. If harmful bacteria are found, product recalls are a certainty.

Some of the health threats include:

  • Giardia and Cryptosporidium
  • Salmonella
  • E. coli
  • Cholera
  • Hepatitis A and E

These short- and longer-term health problems could potentially result in large fines for not meeting regulations in the first place.

With the proper raw water treatment system in place, many of these harmful organisms can be removed through settling followed by an oxidizing agent such as ozone, peroxide, or chlorine. You can also remove bacteria efficiently with ultrafiltration, a newer technology being used that is extremely effective.

Avoid scaled and fouled equipment

Many times in the cooling tower and/or boiler process, a raw water source is being used to provide the feed water to these pieces of equipment. If the raw water is not treated correctly, hardness, bacteria, slime, and suspended solids in the water will scale or foul the equipment, which can lead to plant downtime and energy loss.

When these scale/minerals like hardness, bacteria, slime, and suspended solids are present in the water, they coat equipment fixtures, plug pipes, scale equipment, coat boiler tubes, and cause the formation of sludge, which can all slow down your process and even cause it to shut down.

Having an efficient raw water treatment system will help protect your valuable equipment and help avoid these issues in the first place. Most of these solids can be removed in the clarification or ultrafiltration phase of treatment. Depending on the equipment the water is feeding into, additional treatment with demineralization may be required, but be sure to consult with the company designing your system for their recommendation of what process is the best way to treat your raw water source.

Additional comments

This article discusses the general need for raw water. Since water is used in a variety of industrial applications, secondary polishing treatment is typically done specific to the industry and the process feed needs. Chemical, power, pharmaceutical, and food and beverage industries all have the unique water quality needs and regulatory testing requirements, so be sure to reach out to us for more information on your specific industry.

How can SAMCO help?

Now that you know some of the most important reasons you’ll need to purchase a raw water treatment system, make sure you choose to work with an engineering company that can help you sort through all these requirements in order to choose the best system possible. Knowing the quality of your water source in relation to the water quality needed for your process, performing a thorough treatability study and pilot test, and understanding the lifespan of your system will help steer you in the right direction.

Here are a few other raw water treatment articles you might find helpful:

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