Ammonia in Cooling Water

Grey water is being considered more and more for cooling tower water, but what about untreated grey water with high concentrations of ammonia? We know how to handle the TSS, but what about ammonia in cooling water? Does ammonia do anything to the PVC fill? We had to go over to our wastewater and trickling filter group to pick their brains on this one a bit for this high of ammonia concentration. The PVC fill will handle the ammonia without a problem. Brentwood’s PVC media has been used for many years in wastewater treatment systems. The concern is biological growth and fouling at those levels. They could introduce a secondary biological treatment to remove the ammonia upstream of the tower, otherwise, we would highly recommend the use of a low fouling fill and the introduction of the AccuShield antimicrobial material for the fill.

OF21MA AccuShield
OF21MA with AccuShield

Ammonia is excellent food for microbial growth, so with this concentration in the water we would highly recommend a vertical or vertical-offset fill in order to keep the water velocities higher in order to reduce fouling, but also, the antimicrobial material of the AccuShield product is designed specifically for these applications where there is a high probability for biological growth. I would consider the VF19Plus in Accushield (or possibly the OF21MA in Accushield) to handle the microbial concern.

3 responses to “Ammonia in Cooling Water”

  1. REYMSA is considering introducing a hybrid ammonia condenser. Basically a REYMSA counterflow fiberglass cooling tower atop a “flooded” condensing coil. As they use CF1200 now, what fill product and what depth of fill to achieve the same capacity as the 1200 would you recommend.

    • The CF1200 product will provide the most surface area to allow for maximum heat transfer. From your description, it sounds like you will be utilizing this style unit. If this is the case, your ammonia system is running through the lower coil section with the “cooling tower” water surrounding, or flowing over, the outside of the tube bundle and thus condensing the ammonia within the tubes to complete it’s cycle back to the compressor. Unless there is a coil leak or you plan to utilize “compromised” waters in the tower, then there should not be any concern with needing to alter the fill from the CF1200 product as the manufacturer has already designed the product for optimum efficiency and the fan and drive system are designed for that fill’s pressure drop.

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