024 The One With All the Questions

It’s been a while since it was just the two of us on an episode.   To fix that, I am only answering questions from the Scaling UP! Nation, for the whole episode.  No guest, no rant from the host, just your questions.  Truly, the show for you, by you.



Can you tell us more about LSI, RSI and PSI?  (1:04)

LSI, RSI and PSI are all scaling indices.  Each tells us whether the water is scaling or non-scaling.    Not if the water is scaling or corrosion.  ALL water is corrosive.

In 1936, Wilfred Langelier developed a calculation for predicting the pH at which water is saturated with calcium carbonate called pHs.  The “Saturation pH” is the first step in all scaling indices.

Saturation pH (pHs):

12.3-(log CaH + log Malk + (0.025xC˚) – (0.011x√𝑇𝐷𝑆))

  • LSI= pH – pHs
    • Range: -3.0 – 3.0
      • >0=Scaling
      • <0=Non-Scaling
  • RSI= (2 x pHs) – pH
    • Range: 1 – 12
      • <6=Scaling
      • >6=Non-Scaling
  • PSI= (2 x pHs) – pHeq
    • pHeq= (1.465 x log Malk) + 4.54 (Paul, call me!)
    • Range: 1 – 12
      • <6=Scaling
      • >6=Non-Scaling


AWT Help

How can I go to AWT functions as a non-member and how do I convince my boss to join? (9:58)

My advice is not to ask him to buy anything.  Instead, tell him what you will bring back as a result of the event or membership.  When you go to the event, go with the intent to not only learn, but the intent to teach.  You will get more out of it and you will be able to bring back what you learned to your company.  If you do this well, your boss will instantly see that value in your request.  He will also be more open to sending you to other events.


Test Tips

Can you please give us some more testing tips like you did for the calcium test and high iron? (13:49)

Get to know your tests by learning all the interferences of each test by going to: Hach’s Water Analysis Handbook.  Diluting the sample to below an inference ppm will allow you to run the test.  However, you must remember to multiply your final answer to account for the dilution.

In most cases you can dilute the offending interferer creating the issue.


Boiler Inspections

What do I need to tell my customer to make sure they are prepared for an upcoming boiler inspection? (18:33)

  • Take a team approach to the boiler treatment program.
  • Increase blowdown to remove the boiler sludge.
  • Increase product feed to compensate for lower concentration in the boiler (since you have increased blowdown.)
    • Add extra polymer to aid in sludge removal during increased blowdown.
  • Allow for more than enough time for the boiler to cool before it is inspected.
  • Pre-treat the boiler with the proper amount of products you want to maintain, then allow your pumps to maintain that concentration.
  • Oh, bringing donuts to the inspection never hurts!



Do I really need to get my CWT or LEED GA? (23:19)

Getting a professional designation is completely up to you.  My feeling is a professional designation gives you a multitude of benefits.

  • It’s the affirmation that you obtained a base level of knowledge.
  • It’s a credential that you can show customers and put on your business cards
  • Gives you a goal to start leaning, an affirmation that you learned.
  • LEED GA gets you back in the mode a studying and taking standardized tests


Iron and Copper

Why should we run copper and iron in cooling towers and closed loop systems? (27:10)

More data allows for better decisions.  Copper and iron can give you information directly related to your water treatment program.

Keep in mind many of your tests won’t give you an answer, but rather a question.  Exploring the question is where the magic happens.



What is ORP? (34:37)

ORP is Oxidation / Reduction Potential

  1. Oxidation is the loss of electrons or an increase in oxidation state.
  2. Reduction is the gain of electrons or a decrease in oxidation state.

We normally use ORP as a means to feed and maintain oxidizer. Oxidizers are chlorine, bromine, ozone, clorine dioxcide, hydrogen perioxide…

My advice is not to worry so much about the mv ORP reading, but rather the consistent or stable ppm of what you are feeding.



What is the best biocide to use in a cooling tower? (41:22)

(Micro)Biocide is very system dependent and issue dependent, this question does not have a general answer.  Knowing about all the microbicides you have available to you and how they work may help.

Biocide Article

Biocide Matrix


Helping Scaling UP!

How can we help you? (45:28)

  • Keep sending me questions
  • Tell others about the show
    • Share episodes
  • Subscribe to the show
  • Review and write comments on the show
  • Continue to listen to the show (without listeners, there is no show)
  • Connect with me on LinkedIn (Trace Blackmore) (Scaling UP!)


Test Kit

Can you tell us what’s in your test kit? (48:36)

Here it is:


  1. Myron L 6p
  2. DR 900 (20 vials)
  3. UV Pen
  4. Digital Titrator
  5. ATP Meter
  6. Temperature Gun
  7. Refractometer
  8. Fluorimeter
  9. Erlenmeyer flasks
  10. 500 ml sample bottles
  11. Channel locks
  12. 10 ml and 50 ml graduate cylinders
  13. 60 ml syringe with filters
  14. Emersion heater
  15. Flashlight
  16. Portable desk lamp
  17. Trash Bag
  18. Phone (service report, calculator, charts, tables, instructions…)


  1. Azole
  2. P, M and OH alkalinity
  3. Chlorides
  4. Copper
  5. Iron
  6. Hardness (total)
  7. Phosphate (ortho)
  8. Sulfite
  9. Nitrite
  10. Silica
  11. DI water bottles for rinsing and diluting



What is magnetite? (56:39)

The technical answer is 3 iron and 4 oxygen molecules.  The water treatment answer is the glorious dark grey or black substance on boiler tubes.

3Fe + 4H2O Fe3O4 + 4H2­
iron water magnetite hydrogen


It is a passive form of corrosion that inhibits corrosion. It is only formed in high pH, low oxygen environments.


Show topics

Why do you not just talk about core water treatment topics like how to run tests? (60:00)

My goal is to cover every aspect of water treatment.  I always look at water treatment as a job that is never boring because of all of the things you can learn.  So it is only natural the show would mirror that.

My other goal is to make the information, which I have had to seek out to find, easier for you to find and learn.


This show was only possible because you sent in questions for me to answer.  THANK YOU!






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