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Nalco ACT provides regulatory,

economic, safety and technical value

at Brewster Dairy
used, showed
mild steel
Brewster Dairy, a large cheese and whey corrosion
products manufacturer in Brewster, OH, rates ranging
needed new answers to old questions.
from 18 to 22
Because of federal restriction on corro- mils per year.
sion inhibitors when steam contacts milk The third study (conducted with no
or milk products, Brewster Dairy had
treatment) showed 24 mpy and the
been limited to aqueous ammonia for
fourth study conducted showed
steam system pro-tection. With no
corrosion rates at 31.3 mpy. Recent
other option except perhaps pipe
surveys of Nalco customers have
replacement using more corrosionshown that over 80% of condensate
resistant materials Brewster Dairy
sys-tems using mild steel piping can
simply had to manage the technical,
maintain corrosion rates less than 6.0
environmental, health and safety conmpy. Almost 50% of users maintain
cerns associated with ammonia. Use of
corrosion rates less than 1.0 mpy. See
ammonia had many risks due to the
Figure 1.
extreme volatility of the product,
Everyone recognized that high corroexplained Nalcos on-site expert at the
sion rates impacted Brewster Dairys
facility. Brewster Dairy Maintenance
daily operation. The plant replaced an
Manager Lonnie Via agreed, Handling
average of 20 condensate ball valves
the chemical as well as overfeed of
and about 15 steam traps every year.
ammonia caused great concern for
In one year, they also replaced an
employee health and risk of accidents.
expensive process heat exchanger and
Although commonly used in the dairy
a dehumidifier coil. In low pH environindustry, ammonia is troublesome to
ments created by high feedwater
apply properly.
alkalinity conditions found at
Brewster Dairy threaded connections
Ammonia is listed by the Centers for
and other areas where metals are
Disease Controls Pocket Guide to
worked cold result in high failure
Chemical Hazards as immediately
incidences. Many of the failures at
dangerous to life and health at a
Brewster Dairy occurred in these areas.
concentration of 300 ppm in air.


Before Nalco ACT

250-500 ppb

After Nalco ACT

(1 week)

After Nalco ACT

(2 weeks)

After using Nalco ACT for only

two weeks, Brewster Dairy saw
dramatically reduced iron

Ammonias high volatility makes it a

difficult corrosion inhibitor to apply.
Ammonia is a hazardous material to
There had to be a better way. Using the
principles of Nalcos Condensate Best
Practices, a thorough plant survey was
conducted, including four condensate
system corro-sion studies. The first two
studies, with ammonia treatment being

Concerns at Brewster Dairy were not

restricted to these technical and
economic concerns. There were also
safety issues presented by the ammonia. There had been two accidents
directly related to the handling of
ammonia or contact with steam vapors
with high ammonia concentrations.
Both incidents were Lost Time
Accidents (LTAs) and required
(Continued on Reverse Side)

Case Study CH-445

medical attention and lost work time.

While exact costs associated with
safety are difficult to quantify, the
OSHA industry norm for the average
LTA is $20,000 to $25,000.

Faced with these obvious regulatory,

safety, technical and economic needs,
Brewster Dairy evaluated Nalcos new
Advanced Condensate Treatment (Nalco
ACT). This new, patented, FDAapproved, amine-alternative program
is approved by the FDA for use in the
preparation of steam that contacts
milk and milk products, so it met
Brewster Dairys regulatory needs.
Formulated from emulsifiers commonly used in the food industry, it had
obvious safety benefits. Technically,
the program could inhibit both
carbonic acid and oxygen corrosion
in steam condensate systems. Coupling all of these factors, the Nalco
ACT program appeared to meet
the customers need. Feed was
started in August 1999.

By passing a liter of water through a
0.45 filter pad and comparing the
pad to a set of standards, the amount
of iron present in the sample can be
determined. Samples were collected
before starting the Nalco ACT
program and then the improvement
was tracked. After one week using
the Nalco ACT program, we saw
positive results. Before, we saw iron
levels at 500 ppb. Today, the filter pad
results show 10 ppb on the main
condensate system and 25 ppb from


Percent of sample represented

above each bar
N = 501















0.0 1.0 2.0 3.0 4.0 5.0 6.0 7.0 8.0 9.0 10.0 More
Corrosion rate (mpy)

Figure 1 Review of over 500 condensate corrosion coupons revealed that almost 50% of
Nalco customers maintain mild steel corrosion rates less than 1 mpy.

the Cheese Plant! explained Nalco's

on-site representative.

Return on Investment
The Nalco ACT program provided
Brewster Dairy with regulatory, safety,
technical and economic benefits not
provided by their prior treatment,
aqueous ammonia. Those benefits
translate into quantifiable Return on
Investment (ROI) for Brewster Dairy.
Eliminating the risk of Lost Time
Accidents was the most important
benefit of the Nalco ACT program.
Because the new treatment is so
inherently safe composed of
materials used in cake frostings and
dairy treats all safety concerns
presented by the ammonia were
eliminated. Estimated savings to
Brewster Dairy: $40,000.
Based on corrosion studies, which
showed corrosion rates in excess of 30

mpy, the life expectancy of the

condensate piping using the previous
treatment was only about 5 years.
Brewster Dairys system contains
about 4,000 feet of condensate piping.
Based on tracking of piping repairs or
replacement at a cost of about
$20.00 per foot, coupled with the life
expectancy of 4.88 years, Brewster
Dairy was spending about $16,000/
year on pipe replacement. With the
lower corrosion rate using the
NalcoACT program, that expense has
been greatly reduced.
Replacement of condensate system
ball valves represented an expense of
$5,000 per year. Steam trap replacement added another $1,400 per year.
Heat exchanger and dehumidifier coil
replacement added another $9,000.
Realizing over $70,000 in reduced
expenses and risks, Brewster Dairy is
a safer, more efficient plant today
because of the value of the Nalco
ACT program.


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