Category Archives: Membrane cleaning

Deciphering Reach and RoHS…The Alphabet Soup of Safety Standards

There are many safety standards that apply to chemical products. As new standards and regulations emerge it can be difficult for those who buy and use chemical products to keep up-to-date with proper safety requirements. Many businesses use chemicals in their day to day operations for manufacturing and maintenance. Sometimes it may seem as though the regulations are an alphabet soup of acronyms designed to overwhelm and confuse the average person. Consumers of chemical products rely on manufacturers to comply with all regulations and standards.

RoHS

What is RoHS?
RoHS is an abbreviation for Restriction of Hazardous Substances. Specifically, it restricts the use of certain hazardous materials in electronic products. It is a list of substances that are not permitted in electronics or electrical devices sold in the EU. The RoHS directive applies to all components that are involved in the assembly of electrical products, not solely the finished goods.
What substances are restricted under RoHS?
The following materials are banned under the RoHS directive: lead (Pb), mercury (Hg), cadmium (Cd), hexavalent chromium (CrVI), polybrominated biphenyls (PBB), polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE), and four different phthalates (DEHP, BBP, BBP, DIBP).

Why is RoHS important?
RoHS compliance is mandatory. The substances banned under RoHS are hazardous to the environment. These substances are also harmful to workers using them during the manufacturing process and consumers that use the finished products.

REACH

What is REACH?
REACH is an abbreviation for Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals. REACH is an EU regulation designed to protect human health and the environment from chemical harm. REACH is monitored by ECHA, the European Chemicals Agency.

What substances are restricted under REACH?
REACH applies to all chemical substances, not solely those used in manufacturing or industrial processes. So chemical products used in everyday life, like household cleaning products and paints, home appliances and clothing are also affected. Currently, REACH restricts the use of 38 chemicals, the full list can be found on the ECHA website.

What about SVHC?
SVHC is an abbreviation for Substances of Very High Concern. These substances are put on a candidate list for REACH authorization and are called the REACH SVHC List. This list of substances is updated frequently. The full list of REACH SVHC substances can be found on the ECHA website.
Substances on the REACH SVHC list are:

  • CMR: classified as carcinogenic, mutagenic or reprotoxic (category 1 or 2)
  • PBT: persistent, bio-accumulative and toxic
  • vPvB: Very Persistent and very bio-accumulative
  • substances for which there is evidence for similar concern such as endocrine disruptors

Why is REACH important?
Like RoHS, REACH was enacted to ensure environmental and personal safety when using chemicals.

REACH AND RoHS: How they differ

Both REACH and RoHS are safety regulations designed to protect workers, consumers and the environment. REACH is monitored and implemented by ECHA, while RoHS is an EU directive that is monitored by the individual states. The substances banned by RoHS include a list of 10 specific substances (as of the writing of this post), while those prohibited by REACH keep growing as new hazards are discovered. In general, REACH is much broader in scope than RoHS. In both cases, it is the responsibility of the manufacture to ensure compliance with all regulations.

Manufacturers must continually monitor not only the substances that are restricted by these regulations, but also those under consideration. In some cases, finding a suitable substitute for a banned substance can be very difficult. Compliance for manufacturers is time consuming and expensive, but safety has to be their number one concern.

Safety concerns? IPC has you covered!

As a chemical manufacturer, International Products Corporation (IPC) takes its responsibility to the environment and its customers very seriously. All of IPC’s water-based lubricants and cleaners comply with RoHS and REACH directives, and can replace traditionally used corrosives, phosphates, solvents, petroleum distillates, and other hazardous chemicals. IPC maintains a zero discharge policy and all of its products are developed and manufactured in its Burlington, New Jersey, ISO 9001 certified plant.

IPC is committed to keeping abreast of environmental and regulatory trends and best practices to continually improve the quality and safety of its products and facilities. For more information contact one of IPC’s product specialists.

The Synergy of Membrane Cleaners

Water treatment facilities across a variety of industries are often challenged by membrane cleaning. As membranes become fouled from use they become less effective. Clean membranes allow for the proper flow of water. Keeping membranes clean is key to maintaining an optimal flux rate and helps to ensure that the treatment plant is operating effectively.

THE ECONOMICS OF MAINTENANCE
Treatment plant operators realize the importance of implementing a regular membrane cleaning regimen, but are often challenged to find the right cleaning products. Ideally they will want to find a cleaner that will restore membrane flux (which will in turn prolong the life of the membrane), reduce the cleaning frequency needed, be safe for both the membranes and the environment, and prove easy to use. Using the right membrane cleaner is a good economic decision as it minimizes downtime and prolongs membrane life. Since membranes are extremely expensive most facilities try their best to keep them operational for as long as possible.

Many membranes are sensitive to harsh chemicals and extreme pH levels. It is important for treatment plant operators to choose cleaners that will not be harmful to the membranes. Many specialty cleaners with mild pH ranges and safe ingredients are formulated to be effective, non-harmful cleaning agents for membranes.

THE RIGHT CHEMICAL IS KEY
Another consideration in choosing the proper membrane cleaner is the type of soil found in the water that is being treated. Alkaline cleaners dissolve oils and greases; some also contain chelants that can suspend metals and minerals. Citric acid cleaners are excellent at dissolving scale, like calcium carbonate or iron oxide. Hazardous acid cleaners, such as sulfuric, hydrochloric, and phosphoric, will serve the same purpose, but citric acid is much safer and has a broader range of filter compatibilities. A citric acid cleaner that also contains surfactants can go after many oils and greases that might be present in addition to the scale. In the food processing industry, soils can contain proteins and starches; in this case enzymatic cleaners might be needed. Most foulants are combinations of various soils; therefore choosing a formulated cleaning product with multifunctional ingredients is usually best.

AN UPSETTING PROBLEM
One U.S. wastewater treatment plant has an auxiliary effluent re-use facility constructed specifically to produce reverse osmosis quality water destined for ethanol production. The plant requires approximately 1,000,000 gallons (3.8 million liters) of reverse osmosis water per day above the wastewater treatment plant’s normal processing volumes. The wastewater control systems manager, manages the effluent re-use facility to ensure this additional volume is met on a daily basis. A key component of the effluent re-use facility is the ultra-filtration process, which uses 0.4μ polyvinylidene difluoride (PVDF) membranes with an upper pH limit of 10.0. These membranes are fouled primarily with petroleum sulfonates and bacterial secretions. Particularly in cold weather, the upstream BOD step has frequent “upsets,” where the bacteria die and secrete a water soluble foulant that adheres strongly to the PVDF polymer and significantly increases the trans-membrane pressure (TMP). These “upsets” must be resolved quickly to ensure a plentiful supply of pure water.

PASSING THE TEST
In order to determine the optimal cleaning regimen, the plant manager systematically evaluated the performance of twenty different cleaners and hundreds of differentmembrane_art_beaker combinations and concentrations, including commonly used commodities and many formulated membrane cleaners. The results found International Products Corporation’s Micro-90® was one of the top performing cleaners in the study. Micro-90® stood out because the product performed better than all of the commodities and other formulated membrane cleaners, particularly on the bacterial secretions. Micro-90® worked effectively without the use of phosphates, silicates, and strong alkalis, at a membrane-compatible pH of only 9.5, and at a 0.3 percent concentration.

THE SYNERGY OF MICRO-90®
Micro-90® is a mild, yet powerful, multipurpose, alkaline cleaning concentrate that has long been used in laboratories, industrial applications, and critical cleaning processes. Micro-90® is a unique chelating detergent that contains ionic and non-ionic ingredients, which combine to produce a variety of cleaning actions. Micro-90® lifts, disperses, emulsifies, sequesters, suspends, and decomposes soils, then rinses away leaving the surface absolutely clean.
Micro-90®’s target soils include oil, grease, wax, tar, flux, particulates, hard water stains, and biological debris. Micro-90® is highly effective at defouling filter membranes and can be validated in critical cleaning applications.

A MODEL FOR THE FUTURE
Micro-90® has been in use at the effluent re-use facility since October 2010. Some of the original PVDF membranes are still used and continue to smembrane_m90ee significant TMP drops after cleaning with Micro-90®. Although the bacterial upsets cannot be prevented, their fouling can be resolved in a predictable manner with the use of Micro-90®. Since the initial use of Micro-90®, the effluent re-use facility design engineers have recommended the cleaner to other similarly designed effluent re-use facilities nationwide because of the product’s effectiveness, safe profile, compatibility, and economical cost per use.

Because so many variables can exist in choosing the right cleaning product for each facility, it is important for treatment plant operators to work with cleaner manufacturers that can offer them technical guidance and a variety of products to best meet their needs. When selecting a membrane cleaner find a company that provides a range of proven products, referrals, free technical support, free product samples, and on-site assistance.

Micro-90® is manufactured in the USA by International Products Corporation (IPC) and is readily available worldwide through a network of global distributors. Contact IPC for a no-obligation evaluation and offer of free samples by visiting http://www.ipcol.com or email membrane@ipcol.com.  Micro-90® is available for purchase online at http://www.ipcol.com.