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An introduction to industrial water treatment chemicals

At Airedale Group, we have been trading in water treatment chemicals since 2007 and supply many of the major water and utility companies in the UK.

Water treatment processes can be complex, but there are three types of chemical which provide the backbone for most processes: phosphatescoagulants and antifoams.
But how do these chemicals help provide clean water with uses from drinking water to paper manufacturing?

Phosphates: for corrosion, scale and biofilm inhibition, reducing plumbosolvency and pH regulation

There are many different phosphates that have wide-ranging uses in water treatment. They can inhibit corrosion, scale and biofilm formation, all of which have the potential to degrade equipment and harm efficiency. Phosphate chemicals can also reduce plumbosolvency, which means the ability of water to dissolve lead — clearly an undesirable trait in many water systems.

Phosphates are also useful in the control of iron and manganese as well as chlorine stabilisation. They are used to produce potable water and are used in cooling towers.

Phosphates are effective at solving specific issues in water treatment, preventing certain materials which should not be present. They can reduce lead and copper levels in water distribution.

Many wastewater effluents, such as those flowing into a sewer system, need to have a pH that’s within a certain range — ideally neutral, at pH 7. This minimises the chance of reactions when the wastewater joins with other effluents. For water that flows directly into a lake or river, neutral pH is even more critically important. For this, phosphates can play an important pH regulatory role.

Popular examples of phosphates used in water treatment for these purposes include tetrapotassium pyrophosphate (TKPP) and monosodium phosphate.

Antifoams: for an efficient, safe and free-flowing system

There have been several developments in the marketplace over the last few years that have demanded improved foam control performance in water processes and systems.

For example, enhanced use of surfactant-type emulsifiers has resulted in processes and formulations becoming more prone to foaming. This is evident in industrial processing of water as well as in the use of solvent water in the paint and coatings sector.

In other areas, such as domestic laundry and dish-washing, the move towards liquid-based cleaning concentrates from boxed powders has created a need for new antifoam technologies which offer greater stability for high pH and high surfactant environments.

Foam affects efficiency and safety, placing mechanical strain on your systems and making drainage problematic. High levels of foam can also result in residues and deposits in your systems, increasing your cleaning responsibilities as well as posing a bacterial threat.

As well as treating problematic foam on effluent and process waters, antifoams are key in the production of many consumer items and food manufacture.

The structure of antifoams allows an extremely low surface tension enabling spread and flow across most surfaces. This instant wetting effect is key to the swift quenching of foam bubbles as the molecule can transport into the bubble wall where the bubble-pricking action takes place.

Silicone-based defoamers are versatile and their unique foam-destroying mechanism means they can suppress formation of foam before it is created and destroy foam already present.

These antifoam agents are typically classified into two grades: food-approved (for use in environments where food processing considerations apply) and technical grade, for cost-effective, efficient antifoaming action in all other environments.

We distribute the market-leading range of Akasil® antifoams, formulated for effectiveness and adherence to the strictest regulatory frameworks and stringent quality control testing. FD (food approved) and TG (technical grade) solutions are available in a number of strengths to suit your requirements.

Polyaluminium chloride: for removing suspended solids and clarifying wastewater

Polyaluminium chloride, or PAC, plays a major role in many water treatment processes. Used mainly as a coagulant, it is highly effective for enhancing flocculation (the process where particles come out of suspension to form a sediment) and the collation of fine particles, even at low temperatures. It can also remove heavy metals, organic compounds, eliminating colour and cloudiness.
These sorts of water treatment chemicals work by having an ion charge that neutralises the charge of suspended particles, encouraging the offending particulates to coagulate and bind together into a larger ‘floc’.

One of the most efficient and high performance water treatment chemicals, PAC is commonly used for purifying drinking water, industrial water and wastewater. It can also be used to separate oil and water in oil refineries. The amounts required will depend on the design of your system.

Can we help with your water treatment chemical needs?

We have been supplying chemicals for water treatment processes for over 15 years.

With an independently-owned fleet of delivery vehicles and a range of quality water treatment chemicals available in sizes to meet your needs, we’re perfectly placed to fulfil any requirement quickly, efficiently and securely.

Whether you know exactly what you’re after or you’d like some more assistance from our experienced team of chemical experts, get in touch

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