Case Study- Treating Water for a Scottish Distillery
J&F were contacted by one of our existing customers; a major distillery in the Scottish Highlands, to help with the problematic water supply of one of their new sites. Clean and readily available water is essential for distilleries. Water quality and spirits’ quality go hand in hand to make delicious and world renowned drinks. The microbiological purity of the water is essential, as any contaminants can affect the quality of the finished product.
A water analysis was undertaken to fully understand the current quality of the water and what treatment the distillery required. The following was reported:
- Elevated turbidity
- High concentration of organics (the water was extremely discoloured)
- Low pH (Acidic)
- High bacteria count
The distilleries’ requirement was to treat 9 m3 per hour; 24 hours a day; 7 days a week and that the water must be to a potable standard. When it came to installation, they discussed with the contractor about treating in two separate streams, so if one set of equipment was down for maintenance or regeneration, they would have half the water (4.5 m3/hr) still available.
WHAT WE RECOMMENDED
The entire system consisted of the following:
- Two backwashing turbidity units with Filter Ag+ and WS1 CI Clack control valves
- Two tannin removal units with a Resinex strong base anion (colour) resin & WS1 CE control valves
- Two backwashing pH correction units using Juraperle media & WS1 CI control valves
- Two Luminor Blackcomb 5 High Output UV disinfection systems with 5 micron pre-filters
- Everything was supplied as simplex systems, due to the set-up of two streams.
- The backwashing turbidity units were supplied with a No Hard Water Bypass Valve to prevent any carry over of sediment to the Tannin unit during the back-wash cycle
- The tannin removal units were also supplied with No Hard Water Bypass Valves. This time to prevent any discoloured Tannins being released to service during the salt regeneration cycles
High turbidity is caused by suspended particles in water such as sediment, suspended iron and organic particles. Coloured water can also be an indicator that other contaminants are present in the water that can be harmful, especially iron and manganese, all of which must be removed before the water goes through the processes of distilling. To combat this issue, J&F recommended installing a backwashing turbidity unit, with the inclusion of Filter Ag+. We chose this media due to its effective porous ability, as well as its rough, large surface area.
Following that, we then recommended tannin removal units using Resinex TPX4501; an anion exchange resin. The high concentration of organics (plant and animal matter) in the water can make it appear “stained” or coloured; typically appearing as brown, green or yellow. This is often not harmful, but will be treated for aesthetic reasons. However, as mentioned before, the tannin in water can also mean there are other contaminants in the water such as iron, which can be dangerous. Resinex media is a strong basic macroporous-type of resin and because of this, it is highly effective at returning the water to its transparent appearance.
As the water is being used in the distillery process and will therefore be consumed by customers, it’s important that the pH of the water is at an optimal level. To provide a solution to the acidic pH, J&F suggested installing backwashing pH correction units using Juraperle media. A pH of 6.8 – 7.2 for water is considered safe for drinking, so this is what the distillery was aiming for. To achieve this, Juraperle media was used due to the composition being formed primarily with calcium carbonate, meaning it dissolves easily into the water supply, naturally lifting the pH level in the water.
Last but by no means least, we installed two Luminor Blackcomb 5 UV disinfection systems, one installed for each of the two streams. We placed these at the end of the system before distribution to ensure any bacteria that the potable water may have collected over time is disinfected before being used. UV disinfection was the preferred method, as chemical disinfection can taint the water, and therefore its overall taste, which isn’t ideal for a distillery. Each UV system was supplied with a 5 micron pre-filter to ensure no particles in the water prevented the UV from doing an efficient job.
The Overall Verdict
In conclusion, the Scottish distillery is very satisfied with their new water treatment solution. If you notice any issues in your water that resemble those described above, don’t hesitate to get in contact or give us a call on 01538 399 048. As you can see, we can provide an effective solution that will be tailor designed to treat your specific water treatment needs.