A permanent concrete waterproofing solution is expected to help the new Louisiana Pigment specialty chemicals plant in Westlake, La., get long life from its cooling tower. The waterproofing agent is designed to protect concrete structures exposed to groundwater pressure.

The Louisiana Pigment Chemical Co. produces titanium dioxide (TiO2) pigment, including black, white and colored pigments. The Lake Charles facility in Westlake, which opened in July, utilizes a chloride production process that recovers TiO2 from titanium ore (natural rutile, slag, etc.). First, titanium tetrachloride (TiCl4) is produced as an intermediate product, then it is oxidized to form TiO2 particles, which are washed to the required purity for further processing and finishing. The plant can produce more than 168,000 metric tons of treated TiO2 pigment annually.

High groundwater pressure at the Lake Charles facility drove Louisiana Pigment to seek a waterproofing solution for its concrete cooling tower before construction. Louisiana-Concrete, the project’s concrete ready-mix supplier, worked with waterproofing solution provider Penetron Group. They treated the concrete mix with Penetron Admix SB, in soluble bags, to waterproof the below-grade retaining walls and foundation slab. According to Penetron, once the waterproofing agent is added to the concrete mix, the active ingredients react in a catalytic reaction to the moisture in the concrete. This reaction generates a non-soluble crystalline formation throughout the pores and capillary tracts of the concrete.

As a result, the Louisiana Pigment cooling tower’s concrete matrix is now impermeable, resistant to penetration of groundwater and liquids from any direction, says Penetron.