Water Treatment

Name: Udayan Shrouti

Organisation: Libra Agencies, Nagpur

Designation: CEO

Education: B E (Hons.) Mechanical Engineering BITS, Pillani

Libra Agencies are registered MSME. Libra Agencies functions in the domain of utility services as a solution provider. Commencing activities from choosing the right technology to application deployment and finally monitoring with maintenance services, a seamless solution is offered to customers. Libra Agencies is specially focused on the most vital natural resource – Water. Good water for all is our vision. We propose to achieve our vision by deploying technology inspired by nature.

We offer fully customized solutions as well as standard pre-engineered water and wastewater treatment plants. Our wider diversified work experience delivers the most cost-competitive solutions to our valued customers.

We also provide Sunir Water Care Services (SCS) a comprehensive program providing customers with the products and support services to maintain water treatment systems operating performance and minimise lifecycle costs.

We have successfully executed projects for diverse processes such as Water Purification Systems for drinking water, Boiler Feed water for process and power boilers, Cooling Tower makeup, Cooling Tower recirculating water, Water treatment systems for industrial fluid preparations, Special water treatment systems for recycling and reuse of industrial waters, Wastewater purification system. 

We have in-depth experience spanning three decades in treating water and wastewater for industries such as Textile, Food processing, Steel, Edible Oil Industry, General Engineering, Rubber, Power Plants, Milk Dairy, Hospitals, Hospitality, Agro and Agro-processing Industries. 

Water Purification Systems for Process Heating Boilers

Boilers are heat transfer devices, where water in the form of either liquid or gaseous steam is commonly employed as a medium for the transport of heat to some distant point of use. 

Water is particularly suitable because of its relative abundance, low cost, and high heat-carrying capacity. It is generally, the medium of choice in most boiler applications, whether for domestic, commercial, institutional, or industrial purposes.

However, a boiler can only carry out its primary functions of transferring heat to water and (in steam generators) separating steam under pressure from the water most efficiently if the quality of the various types of water used (such as makeup water, feedwater, and boiler water) are effectively and continuously controlled. The difficulty in this quality control process is that water is a “universal solvent, ” and as a result, all sources of water contain various natural concentrations of dissolved minerals and gases in addition to suspended solids and biological matter. The relative amounts of each of these impurities tend to vary considerably with geographic location and season. This phenomenon results in countless permutations of water type and quality around the world, each potentially available as a source of makeup supply to boiler plant systems, evaporators, and other forms of water heating and steam-generating devices. In many industrial applications, the negative impact of these natural impurities may be further compounded by the presence of small concentrations of process contaminants.

The effect of these various impurities or contaminants is to hinder the heat transfer and steam generation processes, to affect the quality and purity of steam adversely, and to act as primary instigators in the corrosion and wastage of boiler plant system materials of construction. A wide variety of chemical reactions and physical mechanisms can and will take place, including the deposition of various crystalline and non-crystalline scales on the water side of heat transfer surfaces, the formation of sludges, metal corrosion, and the carryover of contaminants into the steam. The function of boiler water treatment, therefore, is to control the waterside chemistry of boiler plant systems within certain agreed and relevant parameters and specifications. As these adverse processes are by no means limited to the boiler itself, in practice, boiler water treatment also includes pre-boiler and post-boiler functions and further requires that all the various types of water utilized are controlled through a comprehensive treatment and proactive management program. Clearly, the lack of or the use of an inappropriate boiler water treatment program creates significant operational difficulties and impacts the economics of the entire process, from start to finish.

Water is converted into a gaseous form in an industrial boiler to provide heat energy in the process plant. Apart from providing heat energy to the process, the water also keeps the boiler heat exchanger portion cool and healthy. In order to ensure that water acts as the most appropriate cooling medium it is essential to ensure that water without any hindrance continuously keeps the heating area wet, corrosion and scale-free. 

The various impurities in water are either in the form of dissolved salts, gases, or suspended solids. The various impurities that need removal are: – Suspended Solids, Turbidity, Hardness, Acidity, Alkalinity, Oxygen, Total Dissolved Solids, Dissolved Carbon Dioxide, Alkalinity, Organic matter, and silica.

IS 10392-1982 is the Specification for feed water and Boiler water for low and medium-pressure land boilers.

Sr. CharacteristicsRequirement for Boiler Pressure
1FEED WATERUp to 2.0 MN/m22.1 to 3.9 MN/m24.0 to 5.9 MN/m2
Total Hardness as CaCO3 mg/l10.01.00.5
pH Value8.5 – 9.58.5 – 9.58.5 – 9.5
Dissolved Oxygen mg/l max0.10.020.01
Silica as SiO2 mg/l max————5.00.50
Total Hardness of filtered sample as CaCO3——————- NOT DETECTABLE ————————-
Total Alkalinity as CaCO3 mg/l max700.00500.00300.00
Caustic Alkalinity as CaCO3 mg/l max 350.00200.0060.00
pH Value11.0 – 12.011.0 – 12.010.5 – 11.0
Residual Sodium Sulphite as Na2SO3 mg/l30 – 5020 – 30————–
Residual Hydrazine as N2H4 mg/l0.1 to 1.0 (if added)0.1 – 0.5 (If added)0.05 – 0.3
Ratio Na2SO4/Caustic Alkalinity as NaOHApplicable to riveted boilers only
Phosphates as PO4 mg/l20 – 4015 – 305 – 20
Total Dissolved Solids mg/l max350025001500
Silica as SiO2 mg/lLess than 0.4 of caustic alkalinity15.0

The boiler feed water and boiler drum water confirming to the above standards ensures fairly trouble-free operation of the boiler. In the case of the shell-type boiler, the limit of boiler water TDS can be relaxed up to 5000 mg/l. The total alkalinity in the boiler drum water should be about 20% of the TDS.

The various equipment deployed to treat the feed water is as under

  • Water Softening Plant
  • De Alkalizer Plant
  • Demineralisation Plant
  • Reverse Osmosis Plant

Water Constituent Vs. Technology

ProblemSofteningDe AlkalizationDemineralizationReverse Osmosis
Hardness removal
pH Change
TDS Change
Dissolved Oxygen


Even after the installation of the water treatment plant and regular dosing of the chemicals the concentration of the salts occurring in the boiler is limited by the removal of concentrated boiler water. This process of removal of concentrated boiler water is named as blow down. There are two types of blow-down in a water tube boiler namely continuous and intermittent. The continuous blowdown is given to the boiler drum to ensure maintenance of total dissolve salts at the level specified under IS 10392 – 1982. The intermittent blowdown is given to scrub the heat transfer surfaces. Intermittent blowdown controls the suspended, dissolved solids and also prevents the accumulation of sludge.

Selection Process for New Water Treatment plant

It is vitally important to know the feed water sources in terms of quantity and quality of the water. At the same time, it is prudent to ensure maximum condensate recovery. The condensate temperature is far greater than the ambient water temperature resulting in the saving of fuel. Higher feed water temperature implies lesser fuel to reach the intended steam pressure and temperature. The condensate has a very low dissolved solid content. Higher condensate recovery ensures the lowering of the boiler feed water TDS and assists in reducing the fuel loss attributable to the blowdown.

Any water treatment plant operation has a capital cost and operational cost associated with its installation and operation. The operation cost of a water treatment plant consists of the following:

  • Raw water cost
  • Chemical cost
  • Electricity / Energy cost
  • Manpower cost
  • Wastewater treatment cost
  • Maintenance cost

The net cost per unit of treated water is calculated on the above. 

Once the net cost of treated water arrives at savings if any reduce the fuel cost associated with the blowdown can be worked out and the most appropriate Water Purification plant can be deployed to treat the boiler feed water.

It is of vital importance to treat the boiler feed water including condensate to ensure that all the water parameters are well within the limits. Proper boiler water treatment ensures scale, corrosion, and carry-over-free boiler operation. This leads to the best boiler utilisation and productivity.

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