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Cooling Tower

Why Treat The Water?
To Control Corrosion
To Prevent Scale
To Control Algae and Bacterial Growth
To extend equipment life and efficiency

Whats Wrong with Water?
Water is a natural solvent, it dissolves thing.
Natural waters contain significant amounts of
minerals like calcium and magnesium.
Natural waters typically contain significant amounts
of oxygen.
Water, particularly warm water, is a great
environment for living micro-organism

What are Solids?
Any material that is or becomes dissolved in water
is referred to as a dissolved solid, or solids.

Common Dissolved
Calcium and Magnesium
Salts, aka Hardness
Silica and Silicates
More about Solids
The measure of all of the solids in a sample of
water is its Conductivity.
Typical Conductivity in parts of Missouri,
Arkansas and Kansas
St. Louis 430 micro Siemens
KCMO 480
Little Rock 440
St. Joe 700 Another name for Conductivity
Columbia 480 is Total Dissolved Solids. Both
are a measure of total mineral
Lenexa 530 content, but they differ in units.
TDS is expressed in parts per
Cape Girardeau 500 million and Conductivity is
Jonesboro 540 expressed in micro Siemens

Not All Solids Are Alike
Some solids are more problematic than others. Two of the most important
solids in water treatment are Calcium Carbonate and Magnesium
Carbonate, aka Hardness

Is naturally occurring in most all waters
Account of nearly 40% of the Conductivity in natural
waters in the Midwest
Is the primary component of white scale deposits
Becomes less soluble as water gets hotter

Cycles of Concentration
When water evaporates is leaves it solids behind. If you completely
evaporate a sample of water and then refill the container with the same
water the mineral content doubles. This is called Cycling Up.

1 Cycle

More on Cycles
When water evaporates is leaves it solids behind. If you completely
evaporate a sample of water and then refill the container with the same
water the mineral content doubles. This is called Cycling Up.

As cycles increase the amount of solids

This means:
The Conductivity increases.
The total hardness increases
The pH will go up as the alkalinity increases
The risk of scale formation increases

Still More on Cycles
In a cooling tower system, evaporation is the main means to remove
heat. This evaporation causes the water to cycle up, or increase in
mineral content.

The cycles of concentration in a cooling tower system

are limited via bleed-off. The cycles limit is based on:
The Conductivity of the makeup water
The Total Hardness of the makeup water
The Total Alkalinity (pH) of the makeup water
The heat load or temperature differential of the system
The type of water treatment chemistry used

Bleed Off
Bleed Off is the removal of high Conductivity water in favor of low
Conductivity makeup. Bleed off generally based on TDS or Conductivity.
This is because the maximum hardness or alkalinity of a given water is
relative to its Conductivity.

A Conductivity Controller and a Bleed Valve are generally used

to control cycles. It follows this process:
Sensor continuously measures the Conductivity of the tower water.
If the Conductivity is higher than the maximum, the bleed valve is opened.
Bleed off removes high Conductivity water and forces the system to
makeup low Conductivity raw water.
Bleed off continues as it dilutes the Conductivity is the system, until the set
point is satisfied.

Scale is the formation of mineral deposits. It can occur in any
area that experiences heat transfer or evaporation. Solids
precipitate when they reach the limit of their solubility; when
there is more of a solid than the water can keep dissolved

Common Scales
Calcium / Magnesium Carbonate - Lime Scale
Calcium / Magnesium Phosphate
Calcium / Magnesium Sulfate
Calcium / Magnesium Silicate

Scale Control
Scale Control works by changing the scaling solids to more
soluble solids, using water treatment chemistry

Assuming that the Conductivity is under control, scale

can be prevented by:

Converting calcium carbonate to more soluble calcium

phosphates and phosphonates

Keeping calcium phosphates part or dispersed through

the use of polymers

Keeping calcium carbonate dispersed

Keeping the pH and alkalinity in check

Key Points of
Scale Control
Scale Control Hinges on a Few Key Issues

Understanding the mineral content of the

raw water

Proper and complete Bleed Off

Maintaining system water alkalinity in Scale

Safe zone

Consistent addition of scale inhibitors

Consistent addition of scale dispersants

Corrosion Basics
Corrosion is the deterioration of a metal due to
interaction with its environment. Corrosion requires
metal, oxygen and water.

In cooling tower systems, the water contains significant amounts of

air. The oxygen carried by that air reacts with the metal at the
surface and starts a corrosion cell.

Water The key to

oxygen preventing this is
keeping the oxygen
from interacting with
Iron with metal.

Corrosion Control
Since we cant remove the oxygen from the tower water,
we must create a barrier between the metal and the water
and oxygen.

There are three basic kinds of barriers

Film Forming

Water The protective layer

is thin and can be
very delicate.


More on Corrosion Control
The protective barrier prevents the oxygen from
contacting the metal. Thereby preventing corrosion.

Common Corrosion
A combination of
Molybdate inhibitors is usually the
best approach
Crevice and Underdeposit
When the metal is trapped under dirt, debris or scale it does not have
normal access to corrosion inhibitors and the bulk water. This sets up a
specially recognized corrosion cell. Generally, chemical treatment does
not prevent or cure these corrosion issues.

Hot Spots for Crevice and Underdeposit Corrosion

Under dirt collected in the sump of the tower or on tube sheet
Leaking threads
Good and bad weld joints
Under epoxy coatings
Under seals and gaskets

Other Issues in Corrosion
Aside from general corrosion, as previously described,
there are other forms of corrosion that are equally

Other Forms of Corrosion

Galvanic - Corrosion between None of these forms
dissimilar or incompatible metals of corrosion can be
controled chemically
Stress Crack - Corrosion caused
by mechanical stress such as
Flow Related - Cativation, and
Essential Cooling Tower Treatment
Good Tower Treatment Good Tower Treatment
Starts with : Ends with :
Good Conductivity Control Clean condenser tubes
Proper selection of treatment Good heat transfer
chemicals based on makeup
Minimized corrosion of
water and operating
piping and surfaces
Extended equipment life
Consistent Chemical Levels
for Maximum Protection Annual PM, and Cleaning
Consistent and timely
monitoring of the water

Boiler Standby / Summer Storage

Proper Boiler Standby Storage Is

Essential for the Longevity of the Boiler

Prevention of Corrosion during offline periods
Preventative Maintenance, but Low Maintenance
On going during standby

Proper Boiler Standby Storage Is

Shutting off the boiler at the end of winter

Draining the boiler
Something that is forgotten once started
Costly or Time Consuming

Wet Storage
the Technique

Reduce treatment levels and blowdown heavily 2 days prior

Increase bottom blowdown to remove mud

Cool and drain, then wash down and refill (optional)

Fill boiler to header

Add oxygen scavenger, phosphate and alkalinity booster

Fire boiler at low fire until steam begins to form

Close header

Low fire boiler every 4 to 6 weeks to keep chemicals mixed and active
Dry Storage
the Technique

Reduce treatment levels and blowdown heavily 2 days prior

Increase bottom blowdown to remove mud

Cool and drain, then wash down

Open all drain plugs and inspection ports

Close heater and feedwater valves

Using a fan circulate air through boiler to completely dry

Place trays of desiccate at 10# per 1000 gallons of volume

Seal all drain plugs and inspection