As temperatures rise, so do water concerns

June 4, 2008
Use our data base to find information about water you may want to retain

I’m not a weather reporter nor do I play one on television, but I suspect we’re in for a hot, dry summer this year. Personally, I’m looking forward to the warmth. We had a disastrously wet and cold winter in Chicago and I couldn’t be happier for the heat to arrive.

Personal preferences aside, summer always brings with it a bevy of concerns for processors. As soon as the thermometer starts to rise, so do concerns about one of our most plentiful natural resources: water.

Water can instill fear in the hearts of men when there isn’t enough of it, yet cause catastrophe when there’s too much. If your plant has concerns about water, rest assured that you can find several articles addressing water use and treatment concerns on

  • In “Optimize Water Use,” Tabatha Pellerin and John Woodhull of ENSR International tackle the four major drivers that are causing an increased interest in optimizing water use: higher water-use demands and flows, water-utility-cost increases, wastewater-discharge-cost rises, and more-stringent regulatory limits.

Higher operating costs, greater demand and regulatory concerns are pushing chemical processors to rethink the way they use water. This article offers strategies for optimizing your most important liquid asset.

  • Better water technology is on tap,” by C. Kenna Amos, describes how chemical processing plants can minimize waste, improve their “recycle-and-reuse technologies” and become more aware of the life-cycle costs of water-treatment operations.  

Technologies covered in this article include:  

— Nalco Co.’s Trasar technology, which detects and compensates for changes in water-treatment systems subject to varying conditions or frequent upsets

— Ciba Specialty Chemicals, which is testing online cationic demand control at a German municipal water treatment plant.

— Rohm and Haas Co.’s Advanced Amberpack system which halved deionization chemical usage and reduced water loss to 2% of total water treated.

— Siemens’ system, which is being used to treat wastewater from Petro-Canada’s Wild Turkey CBM wells near Gillette, Wyo., in the Powder River Basin.

— GE Water & Process Technologies Advanced Biological Metals Removal approach, which uses granular-activated-carbon beds inoculated with specific strains of selenium-reducing bacteria to remove the mineral.

Follow the case of The Piney Point fertilizer plant in Palmetto, Fla., which was shut down in 1999 after its parent company declared bankruptcy. According to the article, in 2001 the state of Florida “started managing the facility, which had made phosphoric acid. A series of ponds at the site held 1.2 billion gal. of acidic, ammonia-laden process water. These ponds were in danger of overflowing, thereby spilling contaminated water into Tampa Bay.”

  • Furthering the cause of water protection, “Act before there’s not a drop to drink” by Lynn Bergeson, our regulatory columnist, explains why groundwater protection is everyone’s responsibility, including the chemical industry’s.

To ensure best practices and “fair but effective [groundwater protection] laws,” a group of state and federal ground water agencies, industry, environmentalists and other stakeholders created The Ground Water Protection Council (GWPC).

The GWPC, started as a nonprofit national association in 1983, aims at “protecting ground water and ensuring it’s viewed as an essential ecosystem component. The group recently issued a report that looks at topics that include ground water use and availability; ground water resource characterization and monitoring; ground water and source water protection; ground water and land use planning and development; ground water and stormwater management; ground water and underground storage tanks; ground water and onsite wastewater treatment systems; ground water and UIC; and ground water and abandoned mines.” You can access that report through this online article.

  • Small advances can be big for water treatment, so says a news report, “Nanoparticles boost water treatment”. According to researchers at the University of California – Los Angeles, “Super-hydrophilic nanoparticles dispersed in a conventional polyamide reverse osmosis (RO) membrane allow dramatically better water permeability than possible with conventional membranes while maintaining comparable salt rejection.”

According to the article, UCLA researchers are developing technology to synthesize the specialized nanoparticles and to integrate them in the RO film.

This is just a sprinkle of what you can find on To be completely flooded by our content, head online today.

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