The pH value is a measure of the acidic (pH < 7) or basic (pH >7) character of an aqueous system and is of great importance for drinking and pool water, for example. In the long term, low pH values can lead to corrosion in metallic pipelines and thus lead to pipeline damage.
According to the Drinking Water Ordinance, the drinking water from the tap should have a pH value between 6.5 and 9.5. Tap water with a low pH releases metal ions from the pipe wall, which can lead to poisoning of living beings when using lead and copper pipes.
Neutralization of strongly acidic (low pH) or strongly basic (high pH) wastewater is required for discharge into municipal sewage systems or into rivers and streams. The allowable pH range for the discharge is generally 6 to 9 but can be 5.0 to 11.0 depending on the source of the discharge. There are many types of industries with multiple wastewater sources that, if discharged untreated, will violate pH requirements.
Low pH effluents are generally neutralized with sodium hydroxide, lime, magnesium hydroxide or calcium hydroxide. High pH wastewater is generally neutralized with sulfuric acid, hydrochloric acid or carbon dioxide. The most commonly used chemicals are sulfuric acid and sodium hydroxide. Neutralization can be achieved by batch treatment or continuous flow processes. Batch treatment is generally intended for lower flow rates. Most systems are continuous flow systems consisting of one or two neutralization tanks depending on the flow rate and the magnitude of the pH swings.
Some systems require the pH to be raised or lowered to allow other removal processes to work properly, and then the pH readjusted before dispensing.
pH regulation is the most important step in pool water maintenance. The ideal pH is between 7.0 and 7.4. A pH below 7.0 or above 7.4 leads to undesirable effects such as corrosion of the pipe system, limescale deposits or skin intolerance.
A low pH value also means that measurements with color matching can lead to inaccurate results.
A high pH value, on the other hand, can reduce the disinfecting effect of water treatment products. Therefore, regular monitoring and regulation of the pH value is of crucial importance.
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