Water treatment system chills expense, pathogens
BY STEVE SMITH
ADELPHI, Md.—An ozone-based water treatment system is helping the Army Research Laboratory (ARL) here to save on water use and expense while also serving as a powerful disinfectant process against water-based pathogens.
The ARL is designed to provide the Army with key technologies and analytical support to ensure its dominance in land warfare. Over the years, the Adelphi facility has been a center for research and development in such fields as microwave components and antennas, radio frequency generators, semiconductor devices, integrated circuits, lasers, and nuclear radiation effects. Today, its integrated science and technology services include weapons and materials research, human research and engineering, sensors and electron devices, survivability/lethality analysis, computational and information science, and vehicle technology.
The workforce includes more than 1,200 scientists and engineers—a vast majority of whom are civilians.
The Adelphi center's campus-like setting consists of multiple buildings that get water from a chilled water plant—seven chillers with a combined cooling capacity of 7,300 tons. Each chiller has its own dedicated cooling tower.
Before installing its ozone-based water treatment technology, water treatment was a time-consuming expensive tower-by-tower checmical process. But now, the Clean Streams ozone treatment system, engineered by Zentox Corp. (Poquoson, Va.; www.zentox.com), combines the basins of the seven cooling towers into two larger basins, resulting in treatment of all seven towers by only two Clean Streams systems.
With the ozone treatment method, cooling water cycles of concentration have been increased to eight cycles, compared to four with chemical treatment, resulting in substantial water savings as well as what Zentox officials claim has been virtually bacteria-free cooling water.
"The superior disinfecting power of ozone prevents bio-film growth and provides protection against pathogenic organisms like Legionella pneumophilia, which causes Legionnaire's disease," reports Zentox marketing director Bob Kim.
"Legionnaire's disease is often traced to contaminated cooling water systems."
The ozone treatment is a powerful biocide that kills all microorganisms through oxidation, destroying them and leaving no chance for developing the immunity that often occurs with chemical biocides. According to the water treatment's developer, bacteria counts in a typical ozone-treated system are less than 100 per milliliter and are often undetectable.
Because it halts the development of bio-film growth, the ozone water treatment system also improves chiller efficiency, leading to what Zentox claims is additional energy savings.