Chemical water treatment has always been one of the biggest safety concerns when managing a facility. The reasons are numerous: drums of toxic chlorine, wash stations, emergency contact procedures and legionella to name a few …
Chemical water treatment’s days are numbered; it is just a matter of time until people understand its disadvantages in comparison to other solutions available. Or until the use of chemicals is highly regulated or banned, like what happened with Phosphorous and Zinc compounds in half of the country, for example.
The industry has developed far more technological and efficient ways of treating water through the science of physics instead of toxic chemistry. This means that physics-based, non-chemical water treatment systems do not change the molecular arrangement or the ionic structure of your water.
Physics-based water treatment technologies include electric field, magnetic field, electromagnetic field, ultra-violet (UV), cavitation, and ozone generation devices. They were all created to substitute conventional chemicals used to treat water that circulates in chiller condensers and cooling towers.
So what is preventing building owners, head of facilities, and even contractors to consider switch to a physics based water treatment system if they are indeed better?
Ask some of them and you will hear over and over the same story of a company that about 20 years ago offered to the market a pulse-power water treatment solution that was half-baked in our opinion. The consequent impact of their dissatisfaction was so significant that the disbelief in non-chemical water treatment systems still exists after two decades.
The technology has jumped light years since then.
But why change a strategy that is working?
Money and safety.
Non-chemical, physics-based water treatment systems positively affect your budget, your equipment, your team, and the environment. If that is not enough to motivate you, here you will find 7 reasons why you should consider adopting a physics-based water treatment system in your project or facility.
At Midwest Machinery, our field team has a motto: safety always comes first. Dealing with chemicals exposes your team to chemical hazards and possible accidents. Not only are they “hands-on” with chemicals constantly, but you are subject to spills and all of its consequences. PPE, special training, certifications and rigorous procedures.
Physics-based water treatment solutions are safer by nature. Because they do not deal with serious health threats, if you have a qualified team that is capable of checking your system and maintaining your equipment operating accordingly to its designed condition, the safety of your team and of your system is guaranteed.
2. Capital Expenditures
Chemical water treatment solutions require the acquisition of extra equipment, such as chemical feed pumps, pump controllers, conductivity meters, PPE, etc. They may not seem to be costly at first glance, but if you sum up all the initial costs of implementing a chemical water treatment system, you will see that they are pretty expensive.
Physics-based water treatment solutions have become simpler and more effective over the years, and some of them can be implemented to your system without any major change to what you already have. That means no cutting pipes, no downtown time, no hassle and, most of all, no unnecessary expenses.
That is probably the biggest slot machine when it comes to chemical water treatment systems, and it is also where you can find the pot of gold behind the rainbow with physics-based options.
The comparison between chemical and physics-based here is not even fair. There are so many maintenance costs involved to ensure the consistency of water chemistry that we could save an entire blog post for it. Coupon racks, test kits, hours of your service provider work, etc. When thinking of chemicals, the first two things that come to mind are “a lot of work”, and “ongoing expenses”.
Physics based water treatment require minimal maintenance, and even though the system is monitored, it is less time consuming and not health threatening.
4. Utility Costs
Physics-based water treatment systems allow you to have higher cycles of concentration, which will reduce the blowdown and consequently the amount of make-up water and sewer. In addition, utility companies offer significant discounts on sewer charges for discharged water as it is no longer toxic.
You also have the opportunity to reuse your discharge water, what usually doesn’t happen when you use chemicals. Reclaimed water can be utilized for irrigation systems or flushing toilets, for example. Also, non-chemical water treatments can qualify a company for LEED points.
Chemical treatment requires maintaining low cycles of concentration, resulting in larger water consumption due to blowdown. More water consumption means more energy and more expensive bills.
* Read our blog post about 3 Things You Can Do To Reduce Your Energy Expenses*
5. Equipment depreciation
Chemical water treatment can reduce the life cycle of your equipment, mostly due to underfeeding or overfeeding your system.
Take a cooling tower, for instance. Underfeeding a cooling tower will eventually reduce the amount of inhibitors that prevent the formation of biofilm, scale, and corrosion. It is challenging to reach consistency when dealing with chemicals, and the constant deviations affect the equipment in the long run.
If the life expectancy of a cooling tower that utilizes chemicals is 15-20 years, we could say that a physics-based water treatment system has the potential of increasing the cooling tower life cycle by several years.
6. Return on Investment
Physics-based water treatment systems offer a much faster ROI than chemical options. You may think that the initial cost to change to physics-based water treatment is an insurmountable hurdle, but once you see that you may be able to pay for all of your investment in less than 6 months, you will be convinced.
We have between 500,00 and 600,00 cooling towers in the United States that are still treated with chemicals because it works. However, physics-based water treatment systems, if properly installed and monitored, will save you thousands of dollars every year because they offer a more definite solution.
This item should not even require explanation since it is obvious. However, there is a very interesting concept from Unilever called “ROI of Sustainability”, in which they explain that the cost of doing nothing is a lot more than the cost of taking action. It is not a concept limited to the environment, it is also about economics, people’s well-being and ensuring the future of the company, organization, or institution itself.