Q: What are the key issues surrounding chemical water treatment methods?

A: Boilers and cooling towers are used across many sectors in Sri Lanka, including apparel, tea and hospitality.

Corrosion, calcium carbonate scale deposits and algae formation are the main issues impacting such systems, and are addressed with various chemicals. However, this contaminates the water, impacting the environment when it is discharged by the blowdown process.

Allied Techno Services is a leading systems integrator, operating in this field for over 12 years while obtaining technical skills, expertise and experience in providing solutions and services to various industries.

To tackle the challenges posed by chemical water treatment methods, we sought non-chemical solutions. EcoSpec Global Technology is a Singapore based non-chemical specialist offering the BacComber cooling and ScaMag boiling water treatment systems, which use ultra-low frequency (ULF) waves.

With these systems, we have observed a low level of total dissolved solids (TDS) without tube corrosion, scale and algae formation after a month of use. This could be seen in the appearance of the blowdown water, which was identical to that of feed water and could be disposed of without harm to the environment.

Q: And what other outcomes have you observed?

A: Since the ULF systems are non-chemical solutions, comparatively higher TDS levels can be reached safely while offering substantial savings in terms of water use. Moreover, the lifespan of boilers and cooling towers is extended, which reduces depreciation costs.

Companies also need not spend on chemical descaling as ULF systems merely require cleaning with high pressure water jets every four months.

The presence of Legionella is one of the critical issues in cooling tower systems but there are no requirements to check for such bacteria in Sri Lanka presently. This risk is entirely eliminated by BacComber, which controls the bacteria metabolism and growth process.

Given the reduced usage of chemicals, electricity and water among other factors, investments in these systems can be recovered in a year and a half. And in Sri Lanka, chemical blowdown has reduced by more than 60 million litres with these solutions thus far.

Q: How is the company tackling wastewater treatment challenges?

A: Wastewater treatment is challenging for businesses as it generally produces sludge that cannot be exposed to the environment in landfill sites.

We offer a non-chemical solution using an Electro Contaminant Removal (ECR) method, which minimises the presence of water in sludge in addition to separating them. This water can be reused for a multitude of activities while the sludge is safe to deposit as landfill since it does not contain dangerous chemicals.

Q: So how do you aim to expand the use of non-chemical solutions in Sri Lanka?

A: We believe such solutions can be implemented in a range of activities across industries and are researching additional applications.

For example, ScaMag can be used in food manufacturing, eliminating the use of unnecessary chemicals and that ensures food is safe for consumption, while reducing costs for manufacturers as well as consumers.

Allied Techno Services has also been appointed a non-chemical consultant by the Central Environmental Authority (CEA) in Sri Lanka, enabling us to certify corporates that have eliminated the use of chemicals in boilers and cooling systems.

We hope that this endeavour offers more scope for future generations to appreciate the beauty of Mother Nature.

– Compiled by Lourdes Abeyeratne