Maintenance of these setups should be a priority for all treatment plants. Negligence at this level can generate several problems up to a complete malfunction of the flocculation process. Our team noticed that a lack of cleaning could quickly lead to the development of biofilms which contain bacteria. These harmful organisms can easily proliferate as polymer chains become excellent food sources.
Luckily, it is possible to visually and accurately detect bacterial contamination. Bacterial growth can completely change the color of the polymer solution; therefore, it is important to be able to identify the initial color of the polymer solution. Biofilms can also end up in the pipes of facilities, and excessive growth can lead to complete clogging of the pipes. In addition, by consuming the polymer, bacteria cause a change in the viscosity of the solution. The solution becomes more liquid. A contaminated polymer solution can also give off a very strong and foul odor; therefore, it is important to stay on the lookout for this kind of change.
Replacing your polymer solution
It is important to renew the polymer solution regularly to reduce the risk of contamination and to promote maximum amounts of active agent. The lifespan of the solution varies depending on the quality of the water used during preparation. If water from the aqueduct is used, it is possible to keep the solution for up to a maximum of one week. However, if you use water from a well or your own recycled water (treated water at the end of the treatment), this water is more at risk of developing bacterial growth. Therefore, we recommend not to let it mature for too long in a tank.
Indeed, depending on the amount of impurities present in the water, the shelf life of the solution may decrease further and be shorter than a week. If your water treatment system does not function on weekends, we do not recommend preparing your polymer solution on Fridays. The two days of inactivity can lead to the development of bacteria, which, once installed, quickly consume the polymer. These recommendations are especially applicable to solutions prepared from dry polymers since they require a maturation tank. Emulsion polymer solutions can be directly used after contact with water.
Both types of polymers should be stored in cool, dry places. Emulsion polymers, which are liquids in their raw states, are more sensitive to gel. Therefore, their storage and transport must always be maintained at temperatures above 0°C. In addition, these polymers tend to settle; hence, it is important to mix them to avoid this phenomenon. On the other hand, for dry polymers, once the 25-kg bag is opened, it must be completely protected from moisture. If moisture comes in contact with the product, the polymer grains attach together, making the solubilization difficult. Storage of dry polymers in airtight containers is recommended.
The most important aspect of this guide is to regularly examine your polymer facilities and tanks to quickly detect the appearance of biofilms. As soon as bacterial growth appears, the system should be emptied, washed vigorously with a 2-3% solution of sodium hypochlorite, and then thoroughly rinsed to remove any residual chlorine. Chlorine can quickly damage stainless-steel installations. When cleaning, it is important to understand the associated risks and always have personal protective equipment. Adequate ventilation is also essential during these procedures. Do not wait until you have performance issues before cleaning the facilities.