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Organic-monitoring concerns in papermaking processes can involve the chemical balances required for both process quality and boiler water conditioning.
Industrial manufacturers, drinking water facilities, and municipal wastewater managers are concerned about organic contamination ruining their water quality. Knowing the levels of organics and nutrients in source water, process flows, or effluent enables them to optimally manage the treatment and usage of water in their facility. Here are several ideas that detail how choosing the right analyzer technology can help optimize both the performance and costs of industrial water usage.
Monitoring for organic contamination is the leading way industrial facilities track and manage the quality of their water cycles. Organics are the leading parameter water managers use to treat effluent in wastewater applications, additional industry applications also benefit from real-time analysis of the total organic carbon (TOC) levels in their process water cycles as well as their effluent flows. Industrial processes and byproducts can include difficult to analyze compounds such as fats, oils, greases, sludge, or particulates. Maintaining measurement accuracy over time becomes an added concern for online analyzers with weak oxidation or that require thermal combustion and the inevitable residue that builds up in reaction vessels. Combining a powerful oxidation technology to breakdown complex molecules along with efficient mechanical design, online TOC analyzers from Hach incorporate a patented two-stage advanced oxidation (TSAO) technique to deliver consistent and precise analytical results day in and day out. The robust mechanical design of the Hach BioTector TOC analyzer incorporates oversized tubing and leverages the spent reaction matrix to clean the reaction vessel and effectively wash the reactor and tubing to ensure no carryover between reactions. For continuous monitoring and real-time process control with minimal maintenance — even in processes with heavily soiled samples — the BioTector is chosen time and again by plant by wastewater managers as the primary analytical system that is counted on for detection of organic contamination levels.
Figure 1. Because accurate TOC readings are dependent on the removal of all TIC content before sensing for TOC, it is important to use an analyzer that can guarantee complete TIC removal — particularly in applications with elevated TIC values.
Measuring organics requires careful separation of the C from the compounds in a water matrix. A powerful oxidation method is required to separate C based compounds and must carefully and consistently identify both the TIC and the TOC in a water matrix; TOC equals the difference between the total carbon (TC) and the total inorganic carbon (TIC) in a sample TC = TIC+TOC. Once separated the analyzer then must prepare itself for the next analysis to give a full and credible picture of the health of the water being used or processed in a facility. The method created specifically for industrial applications is the Hach TSAO chemical oxidation. This reliable method starts by lowering the pH of the original sample with acid to sparge off TIC as CO2 gas that is measured and vented. Next, powerful oxidizers and a catalyst are added as a base to the remaining sample to raise its pH and form hydroxyl radicals that oxidize the remaining carbon contamination; TOC. When the pH level of the oxidized sample is lowered again, the resulting CO2 gas is sparged from the sample and measured by a nondispersive infrared (NDIR) light sensor, which is then reported as the TOC level (Figure 1).
Organics monitoring in industrial applications is critical to the efficient and consistent operation of an industrial facility. From understanding when to do a blow down of condensate in a steam application to identifying lost product that will have to be managed in the facilities’ wastewater treatment plant, without online TOC analysis water managers are blind to the operational cost contributors in their water treatment operation. The value of accurate TOC readings is fundamental to the management of any conventional wastewater treatment process; note that TOC is the main contributor in many BOD and COD loads. In industry, TOC levels give water managers critical information they can use to optimize process operations and pinpoint product losses, cross contamination, or process break-through — issues that can have significant impacts on operating budgets and quality control (QC). Multiple models are available to accommodate a variety of particle sizes and TOC ranges.
In general, online analysis of Total Organic Carbon contamination (TOC) enables industrial users to:
Facilities that have continuous visibility of changes in organic contamination can quickly identify any changes or cross-contamination and take action before costs or fines accumulate. The benefits of continuous monitoring are covered in greater detail in this companion article about online vs. offline water monitoring.
Hach has a complete portfolio of instruments and chemistries with support and services to help you get the right results.