Water purification is a costly business, and the lowest acceptable level of purification should be used for all applications to save wastage. Lab water, purified by any of a number of methods, is a vital resource in most laboratories. Purified lab water ranges from Type I, which is suitable for analytical tests requiring minimal interference and maximum precision and accuracy, through Type II for analytical tests in which the presence of bacteria can be tolerated, to Type III, which is suitable for general washing and for use as feed water for producing higher grade water.
Common water purity issues
Take extra care when pure water is used sporadically. Pure water that is not recirculated is at risk of significant deterioration in quality and bacterial growth. Storage of pure water should be kept to an absolute minimum in order to reduce this risk. Always allow the pure water to run for a certain period of time after inactivity. For example, allow at least 5 liters of purified water to drain after the weekend or holidays, particularly when using the water for critical applications.
Lack of regular service and maintenance. All water purification systems require some form of ongoing maintenance, from cleaning and changing of consumables. Most routine maintenance requirements can be performed by the end user. Service contracts are available for labs that ensures a higher degree of system performance.
ALSI Lab Water Purifications Systems
The specialists in water purification
When you a need reliable and cost efficient laboratory water purification solution, Air and Liquid Systems is the answer. Our micro-process controlled units are designed to meet the most demanding purified water needs. We provide water purification systems for tissue/cell culture, chromatographic procedures (HPLC), media preparation, DNA, RNase, plating, and glassware rinse.
- Meets ASTM CAP/NCCLS Type I Laboratory requirements
- Point of use or central water distribution systems
- Service and replacement cartridges for your existing water purification system
Central or Point-of-Use Systems
When the decision is made to invest in a new lab water system, the next decision should be whether this will be a centralized system or a point-of-use system. Point-of-use systems are gaining in popularity due to lower installation costs and the greater control and flexibility offered. These systems also tend to require less lab space, typically operating from a small tank stored under a bench. Centralized systems can be costly to install and, because they operate all night and over the weekend, can be expensive to run. In addition, it can be difficult and costly to maintain a high level of purity in a central system, the water quality can deteriorate over time and if the system goes down, the whole floor or building’s purified water supply goes down.
Most water purification systems rely on more than one process to achieve the desired level of purity. Installing a system that uses a primary treatment followed by a ‘polisher’ is a common method of achieving water of the required purity. Water should be constantly circulated through the entire system to avoid recontamination.
Upgrade or invest in new
Most labs have some form of water purification already installed. One of the fundamental questions when seeking to improve water purity is whether to upgrade the existing system, which can be cost effective, or whether to install a completely new system, which may give more satisfactory results. ALSI consultants can help you conduct an analysis to determine the best choice for you.
Our systems require minimum service
Consumables that need to be replaced on a regular basis to ensure optimum performance include filter units and cartridges. Although water purifiers do not have moving parts, some components such as filters, UV lamps, and extraction filters will need to be changed periodically to maintain optimum performance. Our systems are designed so that they can be easily maintained by users or lab managers. ALSI systems use cartridges that can easily be changed to provide new filters that meet the highest quality standards.
Arranging a contract with ALSI for regular servicing of a water purification system ensures that the system performs optimally at all times and is likely to give more years of service.
Choosing the right purification system
Most water purification systems use a combination of processes to remove relevant contaminants:
- 1. Distillation - Excellent for removing particulates, microorganisms, pyrogens
- 2. Deionization - Excellent for removing dissolved solids, dissolved gases
- 3. Reverse osmosis - Excellent for removing particulates, microorganisms, pyrogens
- 4. Activated carbon filtration - Excellent for removing dissolved gases, dissolved organics
- 5. Microporous filtration - Excellent for removing particulates, microorganisms
- 6. Ultrafiltration - Excellent for removing particulates, microorganisms, pyrogens
- 7. Ultraviolet oxidation - Excellent for removing particulates, microorganisms, pyrogens
Focus on contaminates of greatest concern
Ensure that the water purification system you employ in your lab is designed to eliminate those contaminants that are of major concern in the particular techniques and processes common in your lab. The five types of contaminants that may be found in water are:
- 1. Particulates
- 2. Dissolved inorganics (solids and gases)
- 3. Dissolved organics
- 4. Microorganisms
- 5. Pyrogens
Consider the desired application
Common lab applications tend to have their own requirements in terms of purification. For example:
- Polymerization of PTFE requires removal of particulates
- HPLC requires removal of all dissolved organics
- Healthcare and pharmaceutical applications require removal of all microorganisms and pyrogens
- GC-MS requires ultrapure water for trace analysis
- DNA/RNA applications require ultrapure water
Undertake a specialist lab audit
Installing a new water purification system is a costly enterprise and can be time-consuming and complex. Many suppliers offer a consultancy service to help you select the appropriate system for your needs and to suit your budget. Treat the advice of sales reps from large catalogue distribution companies with caution as they tend not to know the system as well as the manufacturers themselves. Also, avoid becoming tied into proprietary technology when purchasing a new system, as the processes used are standard across all systems and need not be complex.
Consider contamination post-dispensing
The purest water instantly becomes at risk of contamination once it is exposed to the air. In addition to considering the water purification system, consideration should be given to techniques to maintain water purity once it is in use, otherwise all the effort expended in attaining high-purity water is wasted. For example, pure water should be used in glassware that has itself been cleaned thoroughly to remove contamination, rinsed with pure water, used in a closed environment to prevent contamination from the air, and be used quickly after dispensing to reduce the risk of contamination.
Click here for ALSI Literature on Water Purification Systems.
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