The chemical treatment of a plant cooling water system is typically provided through a vendor who supplies both chemicals and service. The most common type of system in industrial plants is an open evaporative, recirculating cooling water system (with a cooling tower performing the heat rejection) but closed loop systems and once through systems also require treatment. The chemicals employed are generally proprietary and are specifically engineered to provide control of :
- Mineral Scaling
- Debris Fouling
- Biological forms (algae, fungi, aerobic and anaerobic bacteria)
The cost for chemical treatment and service is small compared to the cost of the equipment in a cooling system, on the order of a few percent. However, if plugging of a heat exchanger with mineral scale occurs, or a heat exchanger fails by pitting due to corrosion, the entire annual cost for the chemical treatment and service can be exceeded by a single incident in terms of maintenance, downtime, and/or increased power costs. Poor chemical control can have a very pronounced effect on the life of a cooling tower and can dramatically affect its performance.
A Becht SME can perform an independent review or audit of the cooling water treatment program to verify or ascertain the following:
- What is the margin of safety of the current program with respect to the four program components listed above? How much leeway is there to protect against system upsets?
- Have adequate emergency response procedures been established in the event of upsets?
- Are environmental discharge limitations being satisfied?
- How thoroughly have operators been trained and what is their understanding of the treatment regimen?
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