Controlling pH is essential for effective water production and wastewater treatment from an industrial perspective. This is because it dictates the processes to be followed and can affect the outcome in different ways. Here’s an outline of all you need to know about pH control for water treatment on an industrial scale.
What is pH control?
pH is a measure of the acidity or alkalinity of a given substance. pH control is, therefore, using a system to measure and control the addition of a neutralizing agent to ensure that the water in a treatment plant remains at a specific pH throughout the process. The neutralizing agent could either be salt, a weak base, or an acid. The specific one to use depends on details such as the state of the water in the input or output stage, as well as the type of wastewater treatment or water production in question.
The Importance of pH Control in Water Treatment
There are a few reasons why it’s crucial to control the pH of water set to undergo treatment.
The first one is that if the water has a level that’s too low, it risks degrading pipes and taps. This can allow toxic substances to seep into the water that’s being treated. Another reason why pH control in water treatment is essential is that, in the case of drinking water, the taste can be affected by the water having the wrong pH.
The pH needs to be at a certain level at different stages of the treatment process to ensure that the water treatment is successful. To kill off waterborne bacteria that prefer neutral or slightly basic conditions, the pH of drinking water must be increased. To get the water to a drinkable state, which is safe for usage in various settings, the pH is further decreased.
How are pH Levels Adjusted?
pH levels are adjusted by using a buffer. This is a weak acid or a weak base, and the one to be used depends on whether the pH is being raised or lowered.
In the process of adjusting the pH, heat is produced since the reaction of adding an acid to a base is exothermic. This means that care must be taken to maintain safety at the plant.
The pH levels are monitored continuously to make sure they stay within the proper range. The buffer is supplied to restore the pH to its proper level once it begins to go in one direction.
Applications of pH Control in Different Industries
There are different requirements for treated water, and this means that the right outcome varies from one use to another. Some of the applications for pH control include
- In aquaculture, where the correct pH for fish to thrive is between 6.5 and 9.0.
- In the food and beverage industry, where the right pH in drinks ensures that the resultant drinks won’t ruin the dentition of the people who buy them.
- Hydroponics, where plants are grown in a water-based solution that’s rich in nutrients instead of being grown in soil.
- Research, for example, to find out the pH range in which bacteria can survive. This information is used to improve the standards of water that are expected to meet a certain degree.
It’s essential to know the expected result that the water in treatment should end up with. This knowledge will help set up the system correctly to standardize the output.
Chemicals used for pH Adjustment
Different chemicals are utilized for pH correction since it depends on several factors, including whether the pH is already high or low.
A single system may need to have both an acidic and basic buffer to be able to maintain the water within the range it’s required to be in. This is to as high a degree of perfection as possible. The chemicals that are most commonly used to neutralize overly basic water are sulphuric acid and sodium hydroxide.
Sodimate’s lime slurry systems offer pH control and pH correction through the addition of hydrated lime (calcium hydroxide) or quicklime (calcium oxide), which each require appropriate dry-to-slurry equipment. While the process of pH balancing is a science, Sodimate can simplify the entire process for you. This is because our systems help a lot with the process of pH adjustment, taking the guesswork out. Speak to one of our experts about your needs so that you can be advised accordingly. You’ll undoubtedly leave with a solid understanding of both basic pH control terms and the proper technique to use to achieve the desired results.