With drought and water shortages looming large over our communities, and the resulting increased focus on water conservation, industrial water users are looking for ways to reduce their water usage. Industrial cooling applications represent one of the largest water uses in the nation, so focusing on reductions in this area can have a significant impact on an area’s water usage. Fortunately, reductions can be the result of some simple changes. Incorporating filtration systems on recirculating cooling towers is an effective treatment tool to ensure efficient cooling tower operation.
The water source for cooling tower feed and makeup is the first point of introduction for particles into the system. Surface water sources contain both organic and inorganic particulate. Most intake systems only include coarse straining, which does not remove the particulate that causes issues within the cooling system. If recycled wastewater (municipal or internal) is used, this also may contain significant particulate, depending upon the treatment level before use. As systems feed water to open cooling towers, there will inevitably be introduction of organic and inorganic particles as the ambient air is passed through the cooling water. The ASHRAE Handbook published by the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers reports that, “A typical 200-ton cooling tower, in a season, may assimilate upwards of 600 pounds of particulate matter.”