Ei Cooling Tower Blowdown Initiative

A simple solution saves tremendous toxic chemical-laden water

In the commercial sector, cooling towers are prevalent in large facilities such as airports, distribution centers, office towers, convention centers, hotels, data centers, and power plants. The cooling towers use a tremendous volume of water and the “blowdown process” releases toxic chemical-laden water directly into the sewers.

Per the Cooling Technology Institute, a cooling tower is a heat rejection device, which extracts waste heat to the atmosphere through the cooling of a water stream to a lower temperature. The type of heat rejection in a cooling tower is termed “evaporative” in that it allows a small portion of the water being cooled to evaporate into a moving air stream to provide significant cooling to the rest of that water stream.

Cooling tower water must be treated to prevent scale, corrosion, and bio-fouling. Standard industry practices use toxic chemicals to treat the cooling tower water. Due to evaporation, the chemical balance becomes too concentrated and the remaining water is released into the sewer system via the “blowdown” process.

Blowdown can be 10 – 35% of the total tower water consumed. The cost of “blowdown” water and associated sewer charges can be significant. In addition, the released water is filled with toxic-chemical agents.

The Water Conservation Technology International (WCTI) system uses “nature’s way” by removing all of the hardness in source water. Eliminating hardness prevents scale. As the water cycles up, sodium silicate naturally forms and the high pH creates a biostatic condition in the tower water. Sodium silicate reacts with metal surfaces to form a protective barrier against corrosion. In a biostatic condition, bacteria and pathogens cannot propagate.

RESULTS: no scale build-up along with effective control of corrosion and biological growth. Thus, the use of chemical additives and “blowdown” are eliminated, tremendous water is saved, and water laden with toxic-chemical additives is no longer released into the sewer system.

Introduced in 2004, WCTI has a proven track record with prominent clients including Apple, Microsoft, Boeing, UCLA Medical Center, Kansas State University, and Collier County Public Schools. The ROI (return on investment) generally runs between six months to two years.

In May 2013 the Ei Team visited a Verizon Data Center for a tour of their WCTI installation. It was an impressive tour and important to witness the WCTI system in action. The Ei FB album, Tour re: WCTI System @ Verizon Data Services, is a tour pictorial recap.

At the 2015 Annual Ei Partner Meeting, Ei Supporter Jim Harrell with Renaissance Technology presented on the WCTI system and announced the Ei Cooling Tower Blowdown Initiative.

Via an Ei introduction, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) – the busiest airport in the world – conducted a WCTI assessment process for the 2019 FY Budget, beginning July 1, 2018. If installed, ATL is staged to save an estimated 30 million gallons of water & sewage annually. The intent is for ATL to serve as a Lead Pioneer in the Ei Cooling Tower Blowdown Initiative along with formal City of Atlanta Office of Resilience support.

The ZWA Blog article, Proactive Approach + Simple Solutions = BIG Toxic Chemical-Laden Water Savings, announces the Ei Cooling Tower Blowdown Initiative.

For additional information on the Ei Cooling Tower Blowdown Initiative, contact Ei Water Use | Toxicity Program Director Jay Brady at jay@elementalimpact.org or 941-374-2849.