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Industrial Water Treatment Glossary

Terminology Definitions
Activated Carbon Activated carbon is a form of carbon used in a variety of water treatment processes such as dechlorination and organic removal. Activated carbon is created by putting organic matter like bituminous coal, coconut fibers, and or lignite under a chemical or steam-based process that exponentially increases its surface area and increases its adsorption characteristics. See Activated Carbon Filters for more detailed information.
Anion An anion is a negatively charged ion. Anions may be removed from water through an ion exchange process, such as dealkalization or demineralization or a membrane process such as reverse osmosis. Chloride - anion dealkalizers are primarily used to remove alkalinity from boiler feedwater with low-to-moderate total dissolved solids (TDS).
Boiler Blowdown Boiler blowdown is water that is intentionally discharged from a boiler in order to avoid the buildup of impurities. Boiler blowdown is used to keep the boiler water within set parameters to minimize scale, corrosion, and other problems. Blowdown can also be used to remove suspended solids that may be present. With proper industrial water treatment the need for boiler blowdown can be reduced.
Boiler Scaling Boiler scale occurs when impurities precipitate out of water and adhere to the heat transfer and piping surfaces inside of a boiler. These accumulations of minerals interfere with heat transfer often causing hot spots and local overheating. Contaminants from feed water such as calcium, magnesium, iron, aluminum, and silica can form boiler deposits.
Cation A cation is a positively charged ion. Cations may be removed from water through an ion exchange process, such as demineralization or a membrane process such as reverse osmosis or nanofiltration.
Commercial Water System A commercial water system is a set of water treatment equipment designed for use in commercial operations including: apartments, restaurants, light manufacturing facilities, hotels, laundries, hospitals, office buildings, laboratories, etc. to filter, purify, and otherwise improve the quality of water.
Deionization / Demineralization Deionization (a.k.a. demineralization) is a process that removes total dissolved solids (TDS) from water through ion exchange.
Industrial Process Water Industrial process water is any water used for industrial manufacturing processes such as: rinsing, painting, boilers, cooling towers, steam generation, etc.
Industrial Water Industrial water is water that is used for industrial or manufacturing purposes, such as for rinse water, process water, or for cooling.
Industrial Water Softener An industrial water softener is a piece of water treatment equipment that is used to reduce the hardness of water used in any industrial process. An industrial water softener usually consists of two tanks: 1) a large tank which contains the salt used for regeneration; and 2) a smaller tank which contains an ion exchange resin that is used to soften the water.
Ion Exchange Resin An ion exchange resin removes undesirable ions from water by exchanging them for desirable ions. Anion resins and cation resins are the two most common resins used in ion exchange. Depending on whether cation resin is regenerated with sodium chloride or with an acid such as sulfuric or hydrochloric, it may be utilized for water softening or demineralization, respectively.
Multi-Media Depth Filter A multi-media depth filter is a water filter that contains multiple layers of different filtration media, each of a different size and density. As water is passed through the filter, more coarse contaminants are removed by the top layers while smaller particulates are captured in the finer, denser lower layers.
Nanofiltration Nanofiltration is a water filtration process that utilizes a semi-permeable membrane to remove contaminants as small as 0.001 microns in size, including divalent and trivalent ions. Nanofiltration can also remove roughly 50%of monovalent ions.
Physical Water Treatment Physical water treatment methods consist of filtration techniques involving the use of screens, media filtration or cross flow filtration membranes. These methods actually trap and remove contaminants from the feed water through physical interactions. For more detailed information about this subject see Physical Water Treatment Methods.
Pilot Testing Pilot testing is a small-scale trial run of a water treatment system. During the trial run, data on the performance and effectiveness of the system is logged. The data collected is used to determine the feasibility of implementing a full scale system. Pilot testing allows for the evaluation of new processes and technologies while minimizing the risk and expenses.
Reverse Osmosis Reverse osmosis is a water treatment method where water is forced through a semi-permeable membrane that removes 98% of all dissolved minerals. Reverse osmosis produces very clean process water because impurities as small as 0.0001 microns can be removed.
Ultrafiltration Ultrafiltration is a water filtration process that utilizes a membrane to remove contaminants as small as 0.01 microns in size. Ultrafiltration is effective at reducing the silt density index (SDI) of water and is frequently utilized to separate suspended solids from water.
Ultrapure Water Ultrapure water is high-purity water that has been treated to meet the ultrapure standards set forth by the ATSM or other standards-setting organizations. Ultrapure water is used in semiconductor and pharmaceutical manufacturing as well as other processes where even very low levels of physical, chemical or biological contaminants could interfere with product quality.
Ultraviolet Disinfection Ultraviolet disinfection refers to the process of killing bacteria through the use of Ultraviolet light. When bacteria are exposed to wavelengths of light between 200-300 nanometers, their cellular makeup is altered in such a way that prevents cellular reproduction. UV disinfection is commonly used in high purity water systems where chemical disinfectants like chlorine and ozone cannot be tolerated.
Wastewater Pretreatment Wastewater pretreatment refers to the pretreatment of spent water from manufacturing or industrial processes to remove environmental contaminants, or reclaim valuable chemicals/minerals, prior to discharge.
Wastewater Reuse / Reclaim Wastewater reuse (a.k.a. wastewater reclaim) refers to the treatment of spent water from manufacturing or industrial processes through physical, chemical and/or biological methods to make the water suitable for reuse.