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New Approach to Water Treatment in the Data Center

SITUATION:
Water Treatment in a Critical Datacenter Facility is one of the most overlooked items. The quality of water greatly affects the facility’s ability to cool its critical environments. Billy-Brink-T5-Data-CentersIt also can be detrimental to the longevity of your cooling equipment. Chillers should last decades, but if your water is fouled, it can greatly reduce that time.

CHALLENGE:
Until recently, there has been no efficient way to monitor and control the water treatment process. The old methodology required a water technician to visit your site, pull coupons from your rack, send them for analysis and make adjustments based on the last visit’s data. A datacenter facility could literally go six to eight weeks with corrosive water or water growing biologicals. In addition, water treatment companies worked without any real accountability.

APPLICATION AND RESULTS:
In early 2015, T5@Kings Mountain implemented Symphony by Symphony by Aquanomix.

It’s a new state-of-the-art product for water treatment. Symphony takes real time readings of the system’s water and controls how chemicals are added. Through this monitoring, we have gathered valuable data on how and when to add chemicals. We can track our conductivity to ensure the best heat transfer, as well as our corrosion rate, in real time.

T5@Kings Mountain was part of the initial test group for this product. In the first year, when we took our Chillers down for the annual tube cleaning, the amount of contaminates was greater than expected. However, it was supported by the hunt-and-peck method of water treatment that is typical industry practice.

T5@Kings Mountain also realized that while the water treatment company was meeting contractual obligations, it clearly wasn’t enough. There was no real accountability for cycle concentration, corrosion, or biologicals. We realized tightening the controls on our water system would allow us to hold the water treatment company accountable. It would also allow us to improve the efficiency of the chiller and cooling towers.

We installed the Symphony system with a corrosion sensor on each chiller, as well as conductivity probes on the loop and incoming water supply. These were in addition to the typical probes and meters. Once we did that, we had real-time visibility of our water content. If a parameter fell out of tolerance, the system generated an alarm which allowed us to make immediate corrections. No longer are we required to wait for the next month’s visit by a water technician. In addition, the system generates a “Nexus” number. Every 24 hours the system interprets the prior day’s data and generates a cleanliness “score” known as a Nexus number. This provides an accurate water evaluation which can be used to hold the water treatment company accountable.

We spent the last year using Symphony and making real-time changes to water purification. As a result, when we opened our chillers for the second year, what a visible difference. By controlling the chemicals real time, we significantly reduced the buildup of sediment in the chillers. Our tubes were clean and required little attention, cutting the tube punching time and scrapping down to a minimum.

The new Symphony system is being installed in our newest facility and has the potential to be installed T5-wide.

Billy Brink

Written by Bill Brink

Billy Brink has been working as a subject matter expert in military and commercial mission critical environments for the past 24 years with emphasis on managing operations and development of critical environment practices and procedures.

Email Bill

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