You already need to make a wide variety of decisions when it comes to operating your facility’s cooling towers. However, one option you may not have considered—or are just starting to think about—is using recycled water in your towers. Since recycled water has previously been used, many people are under the impression that it is less expensive.
However, not using fresh water could have its own impacts on your equipment and the safety of your towers. In order to understand how recycled water works and whether you should use it, you must first learn more about where it comes from and how cooling towers handle it.
What Is Recycled Water?
In broad strokes, recycled water May be water that used to be wastewater or possibly rain water that is stored in a tank which comes from roof drains. Recycled water goes through filtration, and other treatment steps, where it is also disinfected. The process grabs the suspended solids within the water and kills off bacteria that may come from the waste products roof drains etc.. When making a decision about whether to use recycled water for your cooling tower, be sure you understand where it is coming from and what processes have already been done to it.
Is Recycled Water More Affordable?
On average, yes—recycled water is often only anywhere from 35% to 55% as costly as fresh water provided by the municipality. However, the level of cost depends on where the water comes from; facilities that directly pump fresh water from lakes and streams do not see as much savings, not only due to the additional cost of pumping equipment but more burden to further treat the water on their own. Buildings that receive recycled water from the municipal supply or roof drains stand to save the most money, especially since fresh water costs continue to climb.
How Does Water Treatment Change For Recycled Water?
Whether further water treatment is necessary beyond what is already in place for fresh water—and to what extent—will again depend on where the water is coming from and its overall quality before it reaches your facility. Its previous uses may impact what its components are; for example, high levels of ammonia in the recycled water could result in extensive damage to a cooling tower’s heat exchange tubes, which are often made of copper or zinc. This may require additional treatment, but if only one or two such issues are present, the cost savings may still outweigh the need for new aspects of water treatment.
Is The Cooling Tower More Susceptible To Damage From Recycled Water?
Not typically, as long as you are careful with your water treatment. In fact, many facilities that utilize recycled water report better outcomes for their cooling tower, which are often attributed to the increased vigilance in water treatment.
However, blindly accepting recycled water with no care taken in evaluating its unique treatment needs can result in the quick degradation or fouling of your machinery. As long as you do your due diligence, your cooling tower will not be any more susceptible to damage from recycled water than it would be using fresh water.
Is Recycled Water Safe?
Just because recycled water has been previously used does not mean that it is more likely to contain pathogens or other dangers. In fact, recycled water is essentially the same as fresh water when it comes to the danger of bacteria, and this is due to the fact that it is disinfected before it is made available for use.
Most recycled water contains high levels of chlorine, at between 1 to 3 ppm residual, which makes the growth and spread of bacteria and pathogens more difficult. However, it is always important to test your water, including recycled water, to see what problematic organisms are still able to survive. This includes Legionella, as well as general tests evaluating bacteria levels overall.
Trust The Expert Water Treatment Company To Help You Navigate Your Cooling Tower Water
If you are considering whether using recycled water in your cooling towers is a good idea or whether it may cause more problems and costs than it is worth, it is important that you evaluate your options alongside an expert.
The professionals at Tower Water set the standard in water treatment and would be happy to help you understand what your local recycled water looks like and what sort of additional treatment it may need. Reach out to schedule an appointment to discuss whether incorporating recycled water into your cooling tower could save you money over the long term.