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Interior of Georgia Pacific manufacturing plant


Georgia Pacific – is a leading manufacturer and marketer of building materials, including  lumber, plywood, gypsum boards and engineered wood products. They have 300 locations in North America, South America and Europe. At this particular location, they manufacture interior hard board paneling as well as paint and finish it.
Located in Phillips, Wisconsin

Water Treatment Problems and Solutions

Georgia Pacific’s site had 2 industrial boilers: the primary boiler, a York-Shipley fire tube boiler rated at 24,000 pounds per hour, and a standby boiler, a Cleaver Brook water tube boiler rated at 20,000 pounds per hour. Their steam usage in the summer is 8,000 to 12,000 pounds per hour; winter usage is 14,000 to 20,000 pounds per hours. A significant amount of hot water is needed to produce the steam, resulting in high energy usage. After dissolved solids build up in a boiler, the equipment needs to “blow down” in order to send the impurities down the drain. Prior to the installation of the boiler water filtration equipment, they were blowing down approximately 4500 gallons of waste water per day. Feed water to boiler was 210 parts per million (TDS), or 12 grains per gallon on average. Heating water with a high level of TDS causes significant scale build-up. Heating elements in the boiler have to heat through the scale before reaching the water, thus causing high energy use. For boilers, it’s best to have no more than 3-5 grains per gallon or ideally, less than one grain per gallon!

Our Solution was to Lower the TDS rate, through boiler water filtration, thereby decreasing the amount of blow-downs and improve energy efficiency. Georgia Pacific decreased water usage and chemical usage, resulting in cost savings.

An RO system was installed to lower TDS and reduce blow-down rate. A carbon filter that protects RO system by filtering out chlorine that could be harmful to an RO system’s membrane. A cleaner for the RO system and storage tanks were also installed. The installation includes an annual inspection and servicing of the equipment.

Georgia Pacific’s total annual savings was $52,711. Since the installation of the RO system, they’ve reduced blow-downs from 4500 gallons of water per day to less than 200 gallons per day. The estimated energy savings from blow-downs and the savings in water and sewage costs is $31,000 annually. Chemical costs went from $38,905 in 2002 to $24,694 in 2005, for a yearly savings of $14,211. (Equipment was installed in 2003)

With the RO system, Georgia Pacific was able to direct the concentrate water directly to storm (to the river) rather than going through a waste water treatment facility, thus avoiding fees. TDS of the feed water to the boiler has gone from 210 parts per million (12 grains per gallon) to approximately 24 parts per million (just over 1 grain per gallon), resulting in 8 times less solids entering the boiler.
Georgia Pacific received a rebate check from their state’s energy company because they improved energy conservation.

Download the full Georgia Pacific case study.

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