The Industrial Water Purification Blog

Which Water Treatment Method Is Best?

Posted by Peter Wood on 29-Apr-2019 10:00:00

Which Water Treatment Method Is Best

Pure feed water keeps your systems healthy, reduces your fuel costs, and keeps your products free of contaminants. Industrial water treatment isn’t a one-size-fits-all issue though. Every sector has its own needs, and every water source has unique challenges. Wychwood Water manufacturers systems that address several common challenges in feed water treatment:


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  • Boiler sludge build up
  • Mineral scale
  • Corrosion
  • Foaming caused by dissolved, inorganic solids
  • Dissolved organics that contaminate consumable products and chips
  • Dissolved gases that can cause air leaks, metal pitting, and rust
  • Particles that plug valves and tubing
  • Microbiological contamination

Many businesses use two or more treatment methods in a water purification plant, for instance a pre-treatment filtration system, followed by reverse osmosis, then distillation or deionisation. Each stage removes a class of contaminants until the required level of purity is reached. Common treatment options include:

1) Charcoal Filters

Charcoal creates a semi-permeable surface that removes bacteria, toxins, and most heavy metals. Its sediment control abilities can keep your machinery from corroding and cracking. It can also remove the chloride that causes stress-breakage, but it does little to improve water oxygen levels. If your source water has any lead, solid-block charcoal will trap it. If your water is brackish, a charcoal filter with pesticide silver can remove salts and nitrates.

2) Reverse Osmosis

Reverse osmosis uses a semi-permeable membrane to remove inorganic chemicals including metals and salts. It’s one of the best options on the market for softening water, so it will reduce corrosion, particularly in machinery that’s subject to high temperatures. Dissolved solids can cause foaming and priming that will eventually make your turbines and super heaters ineffective. Reverse osmosis will remove those salts and oils while reducing your water’s surface tension. Magnesium and calcium can travel throughout your system, reducing its lifespan. This filtration technique leaves some dissolved solids behind, so a post-treatment charcoal filter is often included.

3) Deionisation

Deionisation produces minerally-pure water up to 18.2 megaohm/cm, so it’s often used in laboratories. It doesn’t achieve total purity, but its ability to remove cationic and hydroxyl ions make it a feed water favourite. Resin cartridges used in deionisation can encourage microbial growth, so this is often combined with a membrane or charcoal-based strategy. Ultra-pure feed water is then primed for the semiconductor and pharmaceutical industries, but boilers rarely need more than deionised water. Nuclear-grade deionisation is powerful enough to remove most inorganic contaminants, but charcoal or reverse osmosis must be added to your system if your industry demands high resistivity.

Beyond Purification

Corrosion is often prevented through the use of oxygen scavengers, de-aerators, and pH management. Raw water treatment systems demand a more aggressive approach. Sludge build up is easily treated with conditioners, but if you're working with boiler feed water, you'll also need to control alkalinity and dissolved solids as well. Sodium ash and sodium hydroxide are effective ways to address both issues.

Combining Treatments For The Best Results

A good feed water purifying strategy includes pre-treatment, chemistry control, and condensate management. This is why so many plants use combined treatment to attack several problems at once. The best approach is a customised one that includes a comprehensive industrial water analysis. Download the Industrial Water Purification Guide e-book to explore your options today.

Download our FREE Guide to Industrial Water Purification Systems

Topics: Water Treatment System

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