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Thread: Industrial Water System- Any takers?

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    Industrial Water System- Any takers?

    Hi, I'm Zach, I'm a 22 year old mechanic/industrial electrician and I just started the job I always wanted in the engineering department at a company I really like a couple months ago.

    Among other things I am now in charge of 3 indoor, chilled (58F-65F) extrusion cooling trough systems; I have 2 separate systems at the North Carolina location using well replacement water - A single system at the Georgia location using city replacement water. The 2 Locations are about 30 miles apart. In total there are (28) 1-2 hp circulation pumps with a mixture of brass, stainless, and cast impellers (28) satellite tanks (2 per extrusion line) (3) main tanks each with 4 hp main line pressurization pumps (1 per system) and we have all stainless steel tanks, troughs, and heat exchangers, all plumbing is PVC. Some satellite tanks are heated to a maximum of 90F when running certain product.

    I am here to see if I can get some input from the impressively helpful members of this forum on why the large system that feeds lines 1-7 at the NC location is so disgustingly full of brown algae. The line 8 and 9 water system is as clear as the cleanest pool you've ever seen. The 5 lines at the Georgia location are the same- perfect. We dont do much more than put a piece of one of those pucks (I think I saw them called trichlor on this site?) in each of the clean tanks as well as sprinkle a little granulated chlorine in.

    My problem is there has never been any rhyme of reason to the adding of these chemicals on the big nasty line 1-7 system, well just call it the big system. On its very best day it looks like water out of a particularly dirty lake, greenish brown, on its worst... we'll get to that. None of the previous care takers even know what CYA is let alone that it is in the trichlor pucks they love so much, and neither did I until I started reading pool school and some of the threads on this site. They told me in the past that when the big system got bad (and when I say bad I mean most people are afraid to touch the water when they see it, it looks like something out of a swamp horror film) they would just start putting trichlor tablets in the tanks (all 15 of them) and dumping granulated chlorine in them. Sometimes each of these 100-200 gallon tanks ended up with 2 or 3 trichlor tablets in them, so Im thinking that even though they were putting chlorine in as well, the amount of CYA had to be way higher than the what it should have been for the FC level at that time. After all they thought the tablets were just slow release chlorine LOL. This almost always ended up in failure and they just had to evacuate the system (but leaving the tablets in the tanks with around 10 gallons of water in each) vacuum the algae off the sides of the tanks and out of the troughs, change the filters, and backwash the sand filter and replace with new water. I think they replaced the sand once 5 years ago. Another problem is the whole system has never ever been evacuated because that would involve coming in late Saturday evening since we are not allowed to work Sunday, and theres no way we could shut all the production lines down during the week just to clean the tanks, because theyd be losing like $10k per hour, and they have to have water to run. So its always been evacuate and vacuum one tank at a time, then fill it back up with the nasty water. Only other thing I can think of to add is keep in mind we have no sunlight, very few windows (like next to none where the water is) and all fluorescent lighting. I read somewhere 8 hours of exposure to fluorescent lighting gives you the UV radiation of being in the sunlight for 1 minute I know Im not a homeowner with a pool which is kind of the point of this site, but I dont know where else to turn. I am trying to figure out where to get some test strips to find out what my CYA levels are and Im going to go from there, but if anyone else thinks they can help I am open to all suggestions. I have found in my research that chlorine levels above 2 ppm are not very good for our aluminum shivs (rollers) nor the cast iron pumps so the the end goal is to have clear and algae free water in the big system like the other systems while keeping FC levels below 2 ppm, I do know that in order to get clean I'll probably have to raise it above that but we gotta do what we gotta do. Thanks for reading this terribly long explanation and for all the help Ive gotten from the write ups on pool school, this site is really well put together!

    Any questions you have that can help you help me just ask away, if I don't already have an answer Ill write them down and find out what I can the next day. I tried to cover what I knew as best I could but I'm not the best writer in the world so if something need more explanation I'm glad to do it.


    Thanks,

    -Zach

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    Mod Squad woodyp's Avatar
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    Re: Industrial Water System- Any takers?

    Welcome. I'll see if I can steer Patrick your way.
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    Re: Industrial Water System- Any takers?

    Cool, thank you.

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    Swampwoman's Avatar
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    Re: Industrial Water System- Any takers?

    Welcome, dmax!

    I'm sure Patrick and Chemgeek can give you more germane suggestions, but right off the bat, why not expense a TFT100 kit to the company for onsite testing... TFTestkits.net

    That way you can ascertain the CYA and then dose with liquid bleach according to the cya:chlorine ratio -- click on the link in my signature to read same. Keeping those levels will eliminate (if slamming existing algae) or prevent algae (normal maintenance level.)

    If you already have cya, then you're buffering the chlorine, which should protect the system.

    My understanding is that some industrial water users also share my own phosphonic acid habit (eg in pools, its Metal Magic by proteam/Haviland or Jacks) to sequester any oxidized metals as well. My guess is given your source that might be worthwhile too.
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    Patrick_B's Avatar
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    Re: Industrial Water System- Any takers?

    Hi Zach,

    I'm going to offer what I can to help you, but this is truly beyond the scope of what we do at TFP. Your system with Brown Algae is in that shape because it got low enough on Biocide that it allowed Algae and other Bio-Growth to take hold. Whatever they've been putting in simply isn't enough to overcome it now, and you likely cannot do that using Chlorine alone without putting the system at risk from a metallurgy standpoint. You've kind of discovered that already it seems. Although it may be effective elsewhere, the use of Trichlor pool pucks in those systems could lead that company into trouble because they are using a Biocide for un-intended purposes, and that's technically a violation of Federal law. Since it's in a work/industrial environment the authorities might actually find out, and enforce the regulations.

    The main concern for the dirty system you and they should be aware of is that it's very possible this system poses a severe health risk to anyone exposed to the mist from this system. Advanced Bio populations in cooling systems can harbor Organisms that cause Legionaire's disease. It can be serious, and fatal, so this should be addressed ASAP. As in today, not tomorrow. There was a Cooling Tower system that apparently lead to 12 deaths in NYC just this summer. Although its likely a moot point, Cya or other stabilizers are rarely an issue in Cooling systems like this because they are continually replenished with new makeup water. It can happen, but it's unsual. My suggestion for your situation is to obtain some help from a good water treatment Professional immediately for consultation at the very least. Your company will not continue to save money for the long haul by avoiding proper treatment, and it could end up costing them dearly if they don't.

    I know this isn't what you wanted to hear, but it is my most sincere advice.
    TFP Moderator
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    DaninFLA's Avatar
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    Re: Industrial Water System- Any takers?

    agreed Patrick, my first thought reading that post was "uh oh". not to sound rude to the OP, but it sounds like he is a bit over his head on this and doesn't have the expertise yet, and needs to bring in outside help ASAP. In my line of work, you don't guess when it comes to life and safety issues to the public. if your boss doesn't allow the issue to properly correct the issue, that's another issue. we don't have people in north Carolina or I could help you out. need to find a local person and get them there today
    Dan
    9,000 gallon in-ground Saltwater pool, plaster, cartridge filer, 1.0 hp pump, Hayward T-15 SWCG, TF-100
    Pool School - Chlorine / CYA Chart; Pool School - Test Kits Compared;

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    Re: Industrial Water System- Any takers?

    Patrick, I cannot express how much I appreciate you bringing this information to light. It is not what I wanted to hear, but it is exactly what has been in my mind since I the first time I saw the water. The last thing we want is anyone to be hurt because lack of maintenance so I will be having a sit down with the bosses tomorrow morning (I just got home or it would have been today).

    Dan no offense taken. I'll be completely honest, I didn't get put in charge of it, I volunteered because no one else was that worried about it and I saw an issue that needed to be dealt with. I see that I've opened a can of worms, but it clealy needed to be done. I'll start learning about the maintenance part after the professionals come in and fix it.

    Again I really appreciate the information, after everything I read on here I knew it would be good to go ahead and ask the tough question. I'll keep you posted on the progress.

    Thanks

    -Zach

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    DaninFLA's Avatar
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    Re: Industrial Water System- Any takers?

    nice Zach, glad you are going to get this fixed and its a bit concerning your company has not had the same level of urgency as you. hope it gets dealt with, and quick!

    welcome to TFP by the way!
    Dan
    9,000 gallon in-ground Saltwater pool, plaster, cartridge filer, 1.0 hp pump, Hayward T-15 SWCG, TF-100
    Pool School - Chlorine / CYA Chart; Pool School - Test Kits Compared;

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