1. Know your water source
Every water source offers a unique water chemistry, and it is, therefore, very important to get a complete analysis of the feed water for selecting an appropriate treatment program for an industrial water system. For example, maintaining membrane performance guarantees in an RO system requires periodic water analyses.
2. Analyze your equipment performance regularly
Newly installed RO systems require complete monthly water analyses. Even older systems, which have a complete performance and operational history, can benefit from frequent water analyses as a method of monitoring changes in the water quality. In addition to providing analyses of the feed, the product, and the brine streams, a really useful analysis will also compute the rejection and recovery of the principal components (e.g., Ca, Mg, Na, Cl, and SO4) and calculate the scaling potential of the brine stream.
These parameters are essential in predicting the cause of a performance decline in boiler, cooling, geothermal, and RO systems. Operators of these systems can benefit greatly from accurate water analyses of feed and recirculating water by tracking the performance of their systems and identifying downward trends. Thus, in many cases, the replacement of expensive types of equipment (i.e., heat exchangers, pipes, pumps, and RO membranes) can be avoided.
3. Don't mix water sources
Since different sources of water offer a wide range of potential problems in industrial systems, care should be exercised in mixing different feed water sources. If incompatible constituents are present in different feed water sources, mixing of these feed waters could lead to new scaling problems.
4. Be mindful of environmental effect on your water source
Temperature changes, turnovers, and intrusions or upsets into water sources, all have an effect on the successful operation of the systems. For example, if flocculants or coagulants of inorganic or organic type are used to clarify feed water, it is important to keep the residual clarifying agents to very low levels (<0.1 ppm). It has been well documented that trace levels of aluminum, iron, and cationic polymer exhibit marked antagonistic effects on the performance of deposit control polymers used in treatment formulations.
5. Model your water treatment system to know what to expect
Computer models are presently used by engineers and operators to project fouling tendencies based on water chemistry. Water analyses that accurately represent the feed water are imperative to ensure the proper use of this valuable tool. Inaccurate analyses or misinformation can be more dangerous than a lack of information. Similarly, an analysis of recirculating water is important for a complete mass balance and to avoid the precipitation of treatment chemicals with the hardness ions.
6. Get your water streams tested regularly
The cost of water analysis can vary, based on the number of the constituents to be analyzed and the laboratory chosen to perform the analysis. Membrane manufacturers, service companies, and chemical supply companies often offer supporting water analysis.
Environmental laboratories also perform water analyses. The typical cost to perform an individual water analysis varies per sample, but the cost minor to ensure the proper operation of the industrial water system.