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Industrial Water Use: Where'd It All Go? Balancing for Efficiency

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Abstract:

With water critical to many industrial operations, the use, reuse and treatment of the water and wastewater streams throughout a plant can be a large piece of the ongoing operations and maintenance budget. Water uses within industrial facilities vary by industry, and can include cooling water, process water, quench water, cleaning water, boiler water, potable water, and others. Many industrial facilities have changed significantly since they began operations decades ago, and water use throughout the plant can be difficult to evaluate after numerous retrofits and process changes. A detailed, refined, water balance study can save costs on water use and treatment. By systematically evaluating where water is used, how it gets there, how it is collected, and what water quality is necessary at each process, a working understanding of how best to manage water throughout the plant is produced. A thorough water balance across each process can identify inefficiencies in water use or distribution and in wastewater collection and treatment. What-if scenarios can then be considered: What if another production line is installed that requires 1,000 gpm of cooling water? Will the existing system be capable of handling it? If so, how can it best be done? If not, what modifications will be necessary? Are there existing water sources that can be used for the cooling water, instead of using potable? With a water balance study in hand, these types of questions and answers are then easily evaluated. By carefully balancing the water use throughout the plant, inefficiencies can be identified and addressed, and future plant needs can be determined. A step-by-step approach to the water balance and a process for system evaluation will be presented. Plant managers and engineers can then make informed decisions about the most cost-effective use, reuse, and treatment of their industrial water needs.

Keywords: BLOCK; COST EFFECTIVE; DIAGRAM; EFFICIENCY; FACILITIES; INDUSTRIAL; INFRASTRUCTURE; PROCESS FLOW; RECYCLE; REUSE; UPGRADES; WASTEWATER; WATER; WATER BALANCE

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.2175/193864707787781287

Publication date: 2007-10-01

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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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