Ben Feeney, Chemical Engineer
The Commercial Water Treatment Challenge
A data center in Virginia contacted our water technologies team concerning a “reddish” color in their chilled loop water. Their current vendor recommended flushing out the glycol and replacing it. The project would cost the customer between $100,000-$200,000, so they turned to us for a second opinion.
Our Boland technicians collected water samples from different points within the chilled loop to develop a water quality profile. The lab analysis proved the glycol was not breaking down and the pH, reserve alkalinity, and corrosion inhibitors were in the recommended control ranges. Only iron levels were slightly elevated at 3 ppm. Iron caused the water to have a slight orange tint. It takes only 1ppm of iron to alter the color of the water.
The Solution: A Water Cartridge Filtration System
Given these results, we determined that removing the glycol was unnecessary. The best solution for iron and suspended solids removal was to install a cartridge filtration system. Filter cartridges were selected based on the average particle size in the water. Five (5-micron) cartridges were installed in the filter housing to remove iron, silt, and other debris over time. To accelerate debris removal, technicians dipped each filter in a special chemical to help it act like “flypaper” and attract more solids as water passed by.
The Results and Impact
After six months of regular filter changeouts at 1–2-week intervals, iron levels dropped below 1ppm. The water clarity and turbidity showed vast improvement, and today the filters only need to be changed out once per month. This project led to Boland acquiring a water treatment contract to sample, check, and maintain the corrosion inhibitors and glycol within the system.
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