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The importance of water analysis

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Today we shall stop and reflect on one of the matters of great concern, namely water being an essential resource for life. The ex-ante analysis of this resource, together with its components, are just as important as the efficient construction and the correct operation of a water plant. Only in this way can its quality be identified which will help to determine for what type of supply it will be conducive.

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Water is an essential compound for life, a liquid which is characterized for having greater density in a liquid state than in a solid one. It has high thermal conductivity and a strong ionizing power, a high dielectric constant as well as high solvating power. All of these characteristics allow us to determine its state but not its composition. Only by monitoring it and applying certain parameters that depend on the origin, treatment and ultimate destination can we determine its constituent. The chemical composition of water is essential to identify any possible incompatibility with certain treatments.

Hard water treatment requires a greater focus on the technology used.

Hard water (with high concentrations of calcium and magnesium) and notably bicarbonates (with high levels of alkalinity) may form incrustations, and this therefore means that water treatment in this case has a greater focus on the technology used. Some parts per million of iron dissolved in water can augur a possible future oxidization.

However, the chemical composition of water, while important, is not the only factor that should be considered. It is also necessary to take into account characteristics such as the origin, operation system and its subsequent treatment, among others.

Water analysis is of paramount importance when it comes to being able to obtain a diagnosis if a problem arises.

In terms of the process, a knowledge of the technology involved is highly important, in addition to its particular operating features, as this determines the cause/effect relationship at all times, which in turn, results in specific chemical compounds along the way. If water’s chemical compounds are not known beforehand, it would be very hard for us to obtain a diagnosis if a problem arises, never mind being able to corroborate possible scenarios.

We can therefore affirm that a full understanding of the input parameters in a water plant makes up a further piece of the puzzle which, together with the knowledge of the technology, allows us to have to a broad and general view of what is happening, and thereby equips us to provide a realistic approach to the problem.

Water quality has a direct influence on the performance of the equipment and the overall production of the industrial plant. The chemical composition of the plant represents the initial step towards the solution to a possible problem. Without it, all the hypotheses offered could not be verified, and any solutions would not be the right ones, or they would have to be applied very carefully as the nature of the contamination is unknown.

Israel Amores

Israel Amores, Technical Management Engineer, Abengoa Services.

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