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Disinfection of water is a key component of water treatment, and sodium hypochlorite is a common and effective choice for this process. However, although it is a powerful disinfectant, it is also highly reactive. This article explores how sodium hypochlorite is used in water treatment plants, best practices for storing it, and guidelines for safe handling.

Sodium hypochlorite (NaCIO) is a corrosive chemical and powerful oxidizer that is often used as a bleach and a disinfectant. Due to its reactive nature, it needs to be stored carefully. Liquid storage solutions provider, Polymaster, supplies safe-storage tanks for this chemical to be used in water treatment plants, and has shared some key information about when this chemical is used and how to store it safely.

How is sodium hypochlorite used in water treatment?

When sodium hypochlorite is added to water it starts a process called chlorination, which eliminates harmful microorganisms, such as bacteria, viruses and parasites. This process is commonly used in municipal water systems to ensure the water is safe to drink and use.

It can be used to remove things from the water such as dissolved iron, manganese and hydrogen sulphide, which give the water an unpleasant taste and odour, and can stain clothing and fixtures. It also controls algae and other organic growth in reservoirs, water tanks and other water storage facilities.

How do you store it?

Sodium hypochlorite is a highly reactive and corrosive chemical that requires special handling and storage. It’s important that it’s stored within a tank or container that is built for the purpose of holding aggressive chemicals, such as Polymaster’s self-bundled and process tanks.

These tanks have a specific gravity (SG) of two, even though you only need up to 1.5SG, and are UV stabilised and chemical resistant, meaning that they are not prone to corrosion. If you were to put this chemical within a normal polyethylene rainwater tank with a lower SG of one it would essentially dissolve, resulting in leaks.

Store sodium hypochlorite in a cool, dry and well-ventilated area, away from direct sunlight and other chemicals, using containers made of compatible materials. Ensure that the sodium hypochlorite containers are labelled with the proper hazard warnings. When it comes to storing sodium hypochlorite, what you are storing it with is also important. It should not be stored with acids or any other chemicals that can react with it.

This includes other acid-based chemicals (e.g. sulfuric and nitric) as these release a toxic chlorine gas when they come into contact with sodium hypochlorite that can cause serious respiratory problems; any kind of organic compound such as oil, gas or alcohol, as chlorine gas can be released and create a fire hazard; and certain metals such as iron, aluminum and zinc, which can also create a fire hazard.

By following these guidelines, water treatment plant operators can ensure the safe and effective use of sodium hypochlorite in their facilities.

This sponsored editorial is brought to you by Polymaster. For further information, please visit polymaster.com.au

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