Cooling Water

How Can Cooling Water Quality Identify Potential Problems?

By Paul Puckorius


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In our May/June, July/August, and September/October 2015 Industrial Water Treatment articles, we discussed the steps and procedures needed for development of a successful cooling tower water treatment in various and different industrial plants.

This procedure uses our “MEOW” program, which stands for the specific information needed of the cooling water system to develop a cost effective water treatment program. The letters of our acronym have the following meanings:

“M” stands for the materials of construction in contact with the cooling water, 

“E” stands for the equipment design, while 

“O” stands for the operating conditions of the cooling water system, and 

“W” is the concentrated cooling tower water.

Our previous articles outlined the information that is needed of all the cooling tower water system equipment and system operation needed prior to selecting a cooling water treatment program. We have shown that in different industries there are differing requirements and emphasis for the corrosion, deposit, and microbiological control for their cooling tower water systems. As already noted, this level of protection and the impact on the cooling tower water system eliminates operation relative to the cooling water chemistry varies between industries. This is related to the specific design and operation of the cooling water system and impacts on the selection of the cooling water treatment program.

We provided the information needed about a cooling tower water system before we finally considered the “W”, the cooling tower water quality. We now need to know how it will impact the cooling water-contacted equipment and how it should be evaluated.

What is needed initially is the expected composition of the water at the estimated cycles of concentration (COC) that would be used in the cooling tower on a regular basis. Thus, the makeup water quality needs to be identified. Table A contains the various make-up water ingredients that should be found. When cycled up, it should indicate the concerns that need to be addressed, and the subsequent water treatment needed to protect the cooling water-contacted equipment.

The cooling tower water quality shown in Table A is a very good water quality and is an example of what needs to be recognized as to what contaminants might create problems in the cooling water-contacted equipment.

However, it must be matched with the specific “MEO” conditions of the cooling water-contacted equipment and its operation for the cooling system used by an industry.

The best way to address those water ingredients that can cause potential scale, fouling, corrosion, and microbiological problems in the cooling system equipment is to discuss each potential problem separately.                                   


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