Hypochlorite shortage and supply chain issues are affecting water treatment companies across the globe, including many of our customers. For municipal applications charged with providing safe water, supply risks are not an option. In this article, Shailesh Powar, Global Product Manager at Evoqua Water Technologies, takes a look at why on-site generation is a simple and effective way to not only mitigate supply issues, but to also make treatment safer and more cost effective.
The ongoing worldwide shortage of chlorine is impacting many of our customers who use it for disinfection. These supply issues are the result of multi-factorial challenges, from reduced production following energy price spikes, to the war in Ukraine and the loss of a major chlorine producer in 2020. We are expecting the shortage to continue into 2023, given the complexity and ongoing nature of these issues, and supply fluctuations indefinitely. Limitations of supply have, in turn, driven up costs.
While we have discussed the significant impact this has had on the aquatics sector, it is also affecting water treatment plants. At the height of the shortage, there were even allegations that some hypochlorite suppliers were prioritising swimming pools over drinking water. As a small percentage of the overall chlorine market, water and wastewater treatment are sometimes overlooked as larger industrial purchasers chase the limited available supply.
Given the difficulty and costs associated with chlorine supply, do municipalities have a viable alternative?
On-site: Mitigate chlorine supply risks
Using just water, salt and electricity, on-site electrochlorination produces sodium hypochlorite via electrolysis. It eliminates the need to purchase large volumes of hypochlorite from chemical suppliers, as well as the associated transport and storage costs. With on-site generation, municipalities have greater control over their immediate supply chain and more independence.
Another significant advantage of on-site hypochlorite generation is safety. Hypochlorite storage and handling are extremely hazardous, with strict requirements and precautions required to use it safely. There is a clear danger to personnel and the environment that requires extensive investment from operational, cost and administration perspectives. None of this is required for on-site generation, with only the need for salt storage and electricity. One of the most significant dangers of hypochlorite use is accidental mixing, which is completely avoided with on-demand generation.
For drinking water and wastewater treatment plants looking to minimise downtime, reduce operational costs and eliminate the difficulties of chemical storage and handling, on-site generation is a must. If it sounds like your municipal plant could benefit from such a system, what does Evoqua offer?
OSEC® Systems: Efficiency and performance
Backed by over 45 years of experience in water treatment technologies and innovation, our Evoqua OSEC® systems offer market-leading efficiency with simple maintenance and minimal ongoing costs. Day-to-day operation is made far simpler, with automated dosing to easily match the peaks and troughs of demand to deliver consistent treatment and output. OSEC systems can also be scaled to water treatment plant needs, generating from 2.4-960 kilograms of chlorine equivalent per day. If more is needed, multiple systems can be used.
With salt storage the only requirement, OSEC systems offer a far more secure supply chain than bulk hypochlorite while eliminating the hazards of hypochlorite storage and use. Equally, they mitigate against volatility in the hypochlorite market and supply chain, with municipalities able to better plan budgets, build site resiliency and give customers peace of mind.