Typical Sustainable Supply Chain Scorecard Water Questions
Water Consumption [1]
  1. Does your organization monitor your total water consumption and the amount of water reused or recycled?
  2. Does the organization take measures to reduce water consumption?
  3. Does your organization have a strategy to reduce water consumption?
  4. Does your organization have targets for reducing water consumption and/or increasing the amount of water reused or recycled in different business operations and activities?
  5. Has your organization initiated practical activities to reduce water consumption?
  6. Which of the following water conservation methods have been implemented at the majority of your facilities, including offices?
    1. Low-flow toilets/urinals
    2. Low-flow faucets or showerheads
    3. Grey-water usage for irrigation/toilets
    4. Low-volume irrigation
    5. Harvest rainwater
    6. Other (please specify)
    7. None
  7. Does your organization provide information and train employees to implement measures to reduce water consumption?
  8. Does your organization’s use of water not negatively affect the sustainability of water resources, the natural environment, or the availability of water for drinking and sanitation purposes?
  9. Does your organization engage with national, regional and local public authorities, and civil society organizations to address water sustainability issues related to the affected water resources?
  10. What water sources are significantly affected by your withdrawal of water? [2]
  11. Does your organization have the necessary permits to extract water or obtain water from the public water supply?
  12. What is your organization’s total water withdrawal by source, and subsequently, its total water use? [3][4]
  13. What is the percentage and total volume of water recycled and reused? [5]
  14. What is your organization’s water intensity? [6]
    1. Total water intake / normalization factor = m3/normalization factor
Wastewater
  1. Does your organization have a program and/or procedures for the management of wastewater, including monitoring, characterization, prevention, treatment, discharge, reduction, and/or recycling?
  2. Does your organization monitor wastewater discharges, including types, limit values and quantities of pollutants in the wastewater?
  3. If wastewater treatment takes place outside of the organization's premises, is your organization aware of the effectiveness of the treatment?
  4. Does your organization continuously attempt to prevent and reduce wastewater discharges via resource reduction methods (e.g. wastewater recycling, use of less harmful substances)?
  5. What type of wastewater is generated at your organization?
    1. Sanitary
    2. Industrial
    3. None
  6. Does your organization treat wastewater before discharge (pre-treatment) to reduce adverse environmental impacts?
  7. Which of the following methods are used to manage your wastewater?
    1. On-site wastewater treatment
    2. Discharge to a municipal treatment facility
    3. Collection and transfer to a waste management entity
    4. Other
  8. Does your organization comply with legal requirements relating to wastewater discharges?
  9. Does your organization have the necessary permits for wastewater discharges? Are you required to apply for a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit and / or state permit? [7]
  10. Does your organization provide information and train employees on the safe management of wastewater?
  11. Have you managed storm water runoff issues properly by developing a pollution prevention plan? [8]
  12. Have you prevented storm water contamination from parking lots, excavation areas, refuse areas, and so on, where storm water runoff would be contaminated with hazardous pollutants? [9]
  13. What is your organization’s total water discharge by quality and destination? [10]
  14. What is your organization’s intensity of pollutant releases to surface water?
    1. Weight of releases (from production processes and, if available, overhead) to surface water / normalization factor = tons/normalization factor [11]
Water Indicators & Measurement

In order to answer to these scorecard requests or inquiries, a company needs to identify which indicators are going to reveal the answers to these questions and then help to identify a management strategy with established goals and targets for reduction.  Below are typical water operational performance indicators and methods for measuring water consumption and use.

Typical Water Operational Performance Indicators [12]
  • Quantity of water consumed per year or unit of production
  • Quantity of or number of times waters is re-circulated or recycled within a facility
  • Quantity or percentage of water reused
  • Amount of water cost savings from water conservation initiatives
  • Quantity of water saved from loss prevention actions
  • Concentration of a specific contaminant in groundwater or surface water
  • Difference in upstream and downstream turbidity of a stream adjacent to the facility 
  • Change in groundwater level of sourced aquifer
  • Water temperature of surface water facility discharges to
  • Average number of specific  contaminants per gallon of surface water
Sub-metering – Measuring Individual Process or Activity Water Use

An excellent way to accurately account for a facility’s water uses is sub-metering.  Sub-metering the water uses of specific processes aids water management actions and helps operators become more apt to conserve water. The size of a sub-meter should be determined by the actually flow rate of an operation’s usage, opposed to the diameter of the pipe. Organizations may use temporary strap-on meters to measure the flow rates which will help decide where to apply sub-meters. Sub-metering your facility’s largest water uses will allow you to attain the biggest water savings, making the sub-meters cost-effective. Low flow rates may be easily measured by the bucket and stopwatch method or by using micro-weirs. Micro-weirs are hand-held weirs that are small enough to be used in tight spaces with flow rates up to six gallons per minute.

Water Balance

A water balance helps an organization prioritize the significant water uses in their facility and identify areas for water conservation, reuse, and efficiency by providing an inventory of the water in a system. Water systems can be very complex when comprised of numerous inputs, losses and outputs, but they can be simplified using a water flow diagram. Once all components of a water system are identified, a facility-wide water balance may be developed by measuring the total water consumption and wastewater discharge. The difference between these quantities account for the amount of water lost from leaks, evaporation, irrigation, etc.  A water balance may be applied to different areas of a facility and even specific processes for identifying water losses. The general formula below describes a typical water balance.

balance = process or faciliy water input - (water losses + process or facility water output)

Leak Detection

Leaks exist at all facilities from negligible amounts to amounts that account for a good portion of the total water usage. A couple of symptoms of water leaks include dirty water and low water pressure.  Leaks may account for a significant portion of a water balance. Identifying leaks may be done through visual or audio observations. Assessors should examine common leak places such as piping joints, where sealants are used, water using processing equipment, and attachable water devices like nozzles and valves. Leaks are also commonly found in domestic areas including bathroom fixtures, drinking fountains, and kitchen components. Tightening or replacing such water control devices is typically the easiest solution for cutting water losses. An important note for assessors to consider is that many leaks are only apparent when the associated water fixtures, devices, or equipment are in use. Thus, assessments rarely identify all leaks and that’s why it’s important for employees to be responsible for notifying maintenance personnel or management of any detected leaks. Some water leak equations are below.

The Greely formula may be used to estimate rates of water loss for a more or less closed system:

Q = (30.394)(A)(√P)

Where Q = leak rate (gpm), A = area of leak (in2), and P = line pressure (psi).

 

This formula may be used to estimate leaks in joints, cracks, or broken seals:

Q = (22.796)(A)(√P)

Where Q = leak rate (gpm), A = area of leak (in2), and P = line pressure (psi).

Leaks from underground or under-the-floor may be identified by a leak-detection survey with a water meter by shutting off all other associated water uses and then reading the water meter for a minute at minimum. If using the water meter for the entire facility, this should be performed after all operational activities have completed and employees have left for the day so that no water will be in-use by the facility. A leak is present if the meter dial continually moves during your reading. For small leaks, you may want to record meter readings every half hour over the period of two hours, but remember that no water may be in-use during this time.

Measuring the water and cost savings related to water loss of leaks may be used to justify the importance of prioritizing these repairs. These measurements may be simply attained by figuring out the amount of water loss over time, say using a bucket and a stopwatch. A good way to normalize small leaks to calculate the water loss per day with a leak’s number of drips per second.

Water Use Intensity

Water consumption of industrial activities is a significant contributor to the depletion of surface waters and groundwater tables when it isn’t returned to the same water body in its original quantity and quality. [13] Most water is eventually returned to the environment either directly or indirectly to surface waters at a lower quality or through evaporation. A handful of industrial applications for water use include cooling, heating, cleaning, steam, and separation.  Organizations should be improving their water intensity especially in areas prone to water shortages, have frequent water quality issues, and increasing water scarcity.  The OECD provides Indicator O1 to measure and monitor your organizations water intensity.

Your organization’s total water intake should account for production processes as well as overhead activities. Your organization can improve its water intensity through recycling it for use in the same or other processes and water conservation practices. Organizations should monitor their quantity and quality of water being recycled to identify improvement opportunities and anticipate problems before they occur.

Water Releases Intensity

A facility’s wastewater discharge to surface water may be one of the organization’s most significant environmental impacts, especially if the wastewater contains water pollutants of concern or the biotic elements of surface water are sensitive to the discharge. Releases of residuals in water can affect the economy, human health and the environment. [14]  Aquatic species affected by these residuals are part of the food chain, which in turn affects an environment’s biodiversity. OECD recommends their Indicator O7 to measure your facility’s intensity of pollutant releases to surface water.

Preventing residuals from entering your facility’s wastewater is the most effective means of improving this environmental performance. The numerator in the formula should include releases from both production processes and overhead.

Water Audits & Assessments

To start effectively managing your organization’s wastewater, find out where wastewater is being generated. Determine which activities and processes generate wastewater, the volume of wastewater, the content of the wastewater including solid material, chemicals, etc. Then identify potential areas in the wastewater stream for treatment as well as reusing treated or un-treated water.

Water Auditing

Water audits provide an assessment of current water usage and costs while identifying issues and improvement opportunities. They characterize all water uses of a facility by factors such as flow rate, flow direction, contaminant content, temperature, and quality. The process of a water audit is elaborated on in the following general steps.

Develop a water balance – Water balances identify all water uses from their sources, through all on-site operational activities, to wastewater discharges. They are traditionally displayed as a diagram or summary chart. The total water inflow must equal the sum of the total outflow and all areas of water loss in order to account for all water uses.

Selecting a water auditing team – A well-rounded water auditing team includes representatives from maintenance, facility management, the organization’s designated water efficiency person, and personnel familiar with the facility’s operations at the plant level. It may also include outside auditors that possess valuable input and experience.

Gathering information – Collect abundant background information that is relevant to the facility or area being audited in order to develop an idea of the current status, past initiatives, and areas of concern. Documents of consideration may include water bills, water meter records, process sub-metering data, wastewater treatment, sewer bills, production rates, pipeline layouts, employee procedures, maintenance schedules and information from previous water audits. 

Walk-through survey – With adequate preparation, the auditing team should conduct a walkthrough survey. Using direct observations, taking measurements, and conducting interviews with equipment operators and other significant personnel, the auditors should follow a written auditing procedure. Steps in a typical water auditing procedure may include identifying all water-using equipment, confirming pipeline layouts, quantifying flow rates, measuring water quality, observing employee behaviors, identifying water losses, and calculating water use efficiencies in contrast to efficiency potentials.

Calculate the cost of water – The true cost of water usage includes a number of variables beyond what is put on a water bill. Such variables may include water heating, chemical agents, water treatment, equipment wear, pumping energy, related labor, fugitive evaporations and discharge fees. To calculate the dollar savings from a reduction in water usage, you must first derive a value for each unit of water used. One way is to divide the total costs of water used per year by the total amount of water used. Using the production rates one could calculate the cost per unit output. Prioritize reducing the use of the most expensive factors of water usage. The total water cost may include several tangible variables such as the ones below.

  • Expenditures from water utility bills
  • Wastewater sewer rate and surcharges
  • Cost of on-site water treatment processes, including labor, chemicals and energy
  • Cost of energy for heating water
  • Cost of maintenance personnel working on water-using equipment
  • Cost of energy need for pumping water in, out, and within the facility 

There’s a few other things to keep in mind when water auditing. If touring the facility with site personnel to get familiar with the area, record where to take measurements but wait on taking them until after the initial walk through so your auditing team minimizes their obstruction of normal operational activities. Better accuracy can be attained by speaking directly with the operators of water-using processes to confirm information. Especially at larger facilities, it’s hard to equate the sum of all water losses and the facility’s total discharge with the facility’s total water usage. An acceptable range for unaccounted for water is six to twelve percent. [15]  The water audit report presents the audit team’s findings and recommendations to the facility mangers. It should be concise but comprehensive, while being direct but well-justified. A typical water audit report encompasses an executive summary, introduction, facility description, water usage history, current water balance, efficiency calculations, and recommended follow up actions with a specified time frame.

Identifying Wastewater Streams

Both the quantity and quality of wastewater will vary between organizations of the same sector, between facilities of the same organizations, and between operations of the same facility. This variability depends on many influential factors, and understanding how they coincide to produce a certain wastewater stream is crucial to determining the best treatment and disposal options. The constituents that govern the treatment and disposal options include:

  • Cost
  • Volume of wastewater produced
  • Composition of the wastewater produced
  • Location of the facility producing the wastewater
  • Potential for on-site and off-site reuse of treated wastewater
  • Characteristics of the wastewater produced, including
    • The volume and flow at which the wastewater stream in produced
    • Suspended solids content
    • Biological oxygen demand (BOD)
    • Chemical oxygen demand (COD)
    • Toxicity
    • Heavy metals content
    • Acidity and alkalinity
    • Color
    • Temperature
    • Foam
    • Content of nitrogen, phosphorous, grease, oil, etc…

After you’ve identified the sources, contaminants, flow direction and discharge points of your organization’s wastewater streams, you should make those streams identifiable to everyone. Categorize your wastewater streams according to their types of contaminants (solvents, oils/greases, solids, etc.) rather than attempting to identify all individual contaminants. One way to do this is to use color-coding on pipes, drain covers, and other equipment used to divert wastewater streams; i.e. red for sewage effluents, green for process effluents, and blue for surface water effluents.

Water Improvements and Implementation
Water Reuse & Reclamation

Your facility may have the potential to divert its wastewater to be reused by another industry or organization. Or perhaps your organization could use reclaimed municipal water or water from another organization, facility or process for certain uses. The concept is that the reduction of water consumption will provide enough cost savings to justify the capital expenditures of reusing a particular water source. For a water discharge to be reused, it must meet the water quality standards of the process it is to be used in. For each area of water use, whether it’s initial use or reuse, there needs to be related water quality standards in order to satisfy the required quality control and assurance. Water that doesn’t meet the standards of a water-using process should not be used in that process. Every water-using process or operation has its own water quality standards that determine whether a water source is acceptable for use, or reuse. There are many water quality treatment technologies that may be employed for getting the quality of a water source acceptable by a process’s water quality standards. Depending on the water-using process’s water quality standards, only minimal treatment might be necessary and it will be very cost effective to implement. Or perhaps complex treatment is necessary for one water-using process, but no treatment is necessary for a different process. Strategically aligning in-process water discharges with or without cost effective treatment for reuse in the same process or a different process will significantly increase your organization’s water efficiency by reducing total withdrawal of source water and total discharge of wastewater.

Set Up Support and Resources

Not even the best water efficiency plans can be put into action without the appropriate resources and supporting factors. Organizations need to designate management responsibilities, achieve employee involvement, and communicate the importance of water efficiency.

Designate water efficiency personnel – Whether it be a water conservation manager, an environmental staff member, or a team leader, the organization should appoint responsibilities for water efficiency. That person should assess current water efficiency measures to identify improvements, understand regulatory compliance in regard to wastewater and water usage, and be able to manage some sort of water efficiency system. They should establish implementation criteria for designing water efficiency measures, conduct regular water efficiency audits, manage implementation initiatives, and regularly review progress and modify aspects towards continuous improvement. It’s important that they are able to manage others since employee participation is crucial.

Obtain employee involvement – A manager or environmental personnel may be in charge of improving your organization’s water efficiency, but they can’t achieve this goal without employee participation. Employee training, awareness, and involvement are crucial for water efficiency initiatives since they typically account for a large portion of the water usage. Employees should be responsible for adhering to the requirements of some sort of water efficiency system that provides education, training, awareness, incentives, and opportunities. Emphasize how crucial employee involvement and a team effort are to achieving water efficiency and environmental goals. Provide employees with a means of communicating their observations and suggestions concerning water losses, usage and improvement areas. Employees respond to incentives, so never underestimate the power of recognition, peer pressure, and competition. Motivate employee participation with rewards such as a percentage of the quarter’s direct savings. Rewards are most effective when they are soon, certain and positive.

Communicate water efficiency awareness – The importance of conserving water and water efficiency should be communicated throughout the entire organization, but especially on the facility level. A few means of communication include announcements, bulletins, e-mail, newsletters, training, paycheck stuffers and signs. Some things that should be communicated include policies, initiatives, progress reports, and incentives. Staff meetings are opportune areas of communicating plans, getting feedback on ideas, and recruiting resources. Appointing responsibilities from top management in a policy, letter or other governance element establishes greater awareness. Thinking outside the box, organizations can communicate this importance by providing home water conserving devices, informational materials about water efficiency benefits and demonstrations that will educate employees how to recognize improvements.

Water Conservation Strategies

There are simple and quick ways to reduce water usage as well as options that require greater implementation effort and cost. Water conservation strategies include both behavior changes and technological changes. Technological changes provide a more stable manner of improving water efficiency. Behavioral changes on the other hand are less stable, but they may be made quickly and they provide similar water savings without the up-front cost of equipment. Both methods should be implemented for an organization to reach its potential in water efficiency. Regular training along with the use of appropriate tools and equipment will achieve more stable water efficiency.

Improvements for water efficiency should be considered in the context of other process improvements in order to attain the best results. Process changes that may affect wastewater volume or quality have a related influence on the facility’s wastewater treatment process and environmental impacts. Therefore, the operations and processes of each facility determine the best water management practices and technologies that apply. Changes in processes should include testing for potential solutions, implementing a change, evaluating the actual process performance after the change, and developing or updating an associated standard of procedure. Common process changes for water savings are below.

  • Adjust water flow
  • Modify existing equipment or install water-conservative devices
  • Replace with water-efficient equipment
  • Recycle water for reuse, with treatment step if needed
  • Replace with a water conservative or waterless process
Behavioral Water Efficiently

An often wasteful and large source of a manufacturing facility’s wastewater is their cleaning and rinsing practices. At many organizations, workers use more water than necessary to rinse machinery, parts and manufacturing lines and to clean equipment, floors and other areas of facilities. This wasteful use can be a big opportunity for water savings by changing employees’ behavioral procedures.

Initial Dry Clean-up – Cleaning up equipment and areas before using water for the job reduces water usage and wastewater. Instead of mopping entire floors each day, sweep intermediately and spot mop where necessary as an alternative to cut down mopping frequency. Use brooms, brushes, dusters, towels, squeegees and other cleaning instruments to remove debris in dry form, then use water for secondary cleaning if needed.

Wash and Rinse Efficiently – Educate employees to use water wisely as it is a commodity. Turn off water when not in use. Using a hose instead of a broom to clean debris from floors wastes water, energy, and time. Optimize rinsing techniques by using high-pressure, low volume spray nozzles along with a standard procedure for each rinsing and washing process.

Water Efficient Cooling Towers

Cooling towers remove heat from air conditioning systems and a range of other processes that generate excess heat. Although all of them use a closed loop system to constantly cycle water, they typically represent the largest use of water in manufacturing applications, which can be up to thirty percent or more of a facility’s total water usage. Cooling tower continuously pump warm water from heat sources to their top where it is sprayed or dripped through internal fill. The adhesive property of water molecules makes them adhere to the abundant surface area of the fill in a film-like fashion. As the water is pushed or pulled down the tower by fans, the heat energy is lost to evaporation, along with water.

Evaporation and drift – The best evaporation rate is achieved by mixing the air and water as thoroughly as possible to maximize surface space, allowing for the most water vapor pressure. Evaporative cooling releases just about 1,000 British thermal units (BTUs) for each pound of water, or about 8.34 gallons depending on temperature, atmospheric pressure, and dew point. The evaporation rate is approximately one percent of the circulating water’s flow rate for every 10° F reduction in water temperature.  Water in the form of mist that is carried away from the cooling tower is known as drift losses. This water loss is near negligible since drift rates are generally 0.05 to 0.2% of the system’s circulation rate. However, an organization that employs a lot of cooling towers can justify the initiative to improve their water efficiency through using drift eliminators. These devices improve operating efficiency by preventing drift losses, which retains water as well as water treatment chemicals.

Blowdown and make-up – As evaporation occurs, the dissolved contaminants in the water build up since they don’t evaporate with the water vapor. If not addressed, it affects the thermal efficiency of the process and the life of the cooling tower. So to reduce contaminant build up, the water is flushed and replaced with fresh water. The flushed water is known as “blowdown” and the fresh water that replaces it is known as “make-up water”. Blowdowns may be controlled by valves triggered by timers of hydro-conductivity meters. The water quality in the cooling tower may be determined by the water composition, water treatment, and blowdown rate. In addition to the blowdown rate, the amount of make-up water a system needs, is dependent on the system’s evaporation and drift rates. To minimize the cooling tower’s blowdown rate, the system needs a suitable water treatment process to alleviate the blowdown frequency.

To optimize a cooling tower’s water efficiency, you need to pursue the highest concentration ratio possible, which is expressed below.

 

Minimizing the blowdown and drift rates will enable the system to make the most out of each make-up, which by relationship increases the system’s concentration ratio.

Cooling tower water balance – Apply the water balance method to a cooling tower system to gain an even better understanding. This technique includes the evaporation variable, which is dependent on water quality. An appropriate water balance is below.

A good water treatment process is important because maximizing the evaporation rate through better water quality will minimize amount the make-up required. The relationship between the concentration ratio and the water quality is expressed below.

Cooling tower water treatment – The objective of a water treatment process for a cooling tower is to provide an uncontaminated heat transfer surface for evaporation. A perfected evaporation rate will decrease water consumption and wastewater discharge. The factors of water quality include pH, alkalinity, conductivity, and hardness as well as microbial growth, biocide, scaling and corrosion inhibitor levels. Traditionally, automated feeders either on timed intervals or triggered by conductivity meters deposit treatment chemicals into the water circulation system. Modern technology allows more controlled chemical treatment in relation to quality requirements that may be monitored via internet anytime, anywhere.

Sulfuric acid treatment – Sulfuric acid controls scale accumulation by lowering the water’s pH to a level that will dissolve it. The harder and higher in alkalinity water is, the greater demand there is for this acid feed. This chemical needs to be administered with certain system precautions because its aggressive corrosion properties will wear away metal surfaces. Corrosion inhibitors alleviate this concern, but there is still concern for worker safety. Employees handling this chemical should be trained to do so and know how to response to possible accidents.

Side stream filtration – Side stream filtration alleviates solids accumulation concern by diverting a portion of the circulating water flow through a filtering system, typically using either rapid sand or cartridge filters. Changing or cleaning filters can be worthwhile if using make-up water that has high levels of suspended solids or if airborne particulates can settle in a system’s water. These filtration systems increase the systems overall efficiency by ensuring heat transfer and lowering blowdown rates since they reduce particle loading in the cooling tower.

Ozone treatment – Ozone may be injected into the circulating water to prevent problematic organics and control scale buildup. It controls scale by creating mineral oxides that precipitate to the basin of the cooling tower, usually in a separation tank or low-flow circulation area. Ozone treatment requires an air compressor, an ozone generator, a control system, and a diffuser or contractor. The precipitated solids, or sludge, must be removed periodically and capital costs are significant, but it can be cost effective if dealing with such contaminants because it will greatly increase the system’s efficiency.

Magnetic treatment – Unique magnetic particles produced for the purpose of water treatment have been reported to physically combat scale deposits on surfaces in the cooling tower system. Suppliers claim they do so by altering the surface charge of suspended particles in the water, which provides chemical-free treatment. The dislodged deposits settle in a low-flow circulation area and are removed from the system mechanically. Another reported alike treatment technology is an electrostatic field generator.

Water Efficient Boilers

Boilers consume energy and water to create steam for a wide variety purposes such as running production equipment, providing heat, and sterilizing materials. Simply put, all water processed through boilers contains impurities. Dissolved solids can accumulate in boilers to the extent that they’re released with the steam and cause damage to piping, steam control devices, and production equipment. Suspended solids accumulate as sludge within a boiler hinder its heat transfer capacity as well as its water and energy efficiency.

Blowdown – Removing a portion of the water contained in a boiler is known as blowdown, and this procedure keeps impurities at a tolerable level. Blowdown may be released regularly from the boiler’s steam drum, mud drum, bottom header or its bottom. To reduce the level of dissolved solids you would blowdown from the boiler’s surface water. To reduce a boiler’s sludge content, you would blowdown from the bottom of it. It’s imperative to have an appropriate amount of blowdown for reaching peak efficiency. Not enough blowdown will cause a boiler to be inefficient and damaging, but too much blowdown is will cause a waste of treatment chemicals, energy, and water. The amount of blowdown required for optimal system efficiency depends on the type of boiler, steam pressure, treatment chemicals used, and the quality of the feed water. Blowdown for boilers is typically expressed as a percentage of the boiler’s feed water current. The wide variation of water quality makes it hard to generalize a blowdown rate that will work best for each boiler system, but typical percent blowdowns range from 4 to 8%.  The conductivity of the boiler’s water feed and blowdown water are sensible factors for calculating the blowdown amount and frequency because the water’s conductivity determines its concentration of dissolved solids. A formula for calculating the optimal percent blowdown is below.

Water treatment – Treating feed water before it enters the boiler, externally, will reduce blowdown frequencies and make your boiler system’s efficiency more manageable. Treatment systems can remove suspended solids, dissolved solids, and oxygen content. A few treatment technologies for boiler feed water include but are not limited to softeners, reverse osmosis and demineralization. Treating water that is inside the boiler, internally, seeks to control corrosion and deposits.

Steps to Optimizing Boiler Blowdown
  • Monitor your boiler’s feed water quality, blowdown water quality, and blowdown rates
  • Determine and implement the best water treatment methods to achieve your water efficiency goals
    • Build an understanding of the pros and cons of water treatment options
    • Seek expert advice
  • Institute maximum acceptable levels of water impurities
  • Generate estimations of cost, water, energy and chemical savings

Institute a management system element to continuously monitor boiler efficiencies and make needed modifications

Monitoring and Controlling Water Use

Water monitoring practices at the facility level should be from the perspective of overall consumption processes. This includes the facility’s manufacturing processes, their supporting operations, and the environmental impacts related to those activities. Comprehensive monitoring includes periodically measuring, documenting and reporting key water uses and discharges as well as identifying water savings. A water balance should be continually updated, if not using real-time data already. Progress towards attaining water use targets should be designed through action plans and measured against them. However, these targets should be updated if your facility’s water consumption and use patterns change significantly. Identify water use improvement opportunities by comparing monitoring data against different operational factors, such as shifts, maintenance practices, operators and procedures. Confirm that targets are appropriate by comparing your monitoring data with benchmark data.