Cost/Benefit Analysis: How Good Should My Water Be, Given that I Don't Have an Infinite Budget?


Water treatment to get good quality utility and critical water costs money. Filters, reverse osmosis/deionization (RODI) columns, and softeners have a cost of operation. Your argument for the capital for an improved water supply system (to go along with the prayer suggested last month) has to be based upon reduced instrument maintenance and replacement costs. A good water system will save you money on that side of the equation. If the return on investment meets your facility’s threshold, you may just get what you ask for.


But how good is good enough? Purifying marginally-compliant utility water, as was discussed last month, will get you to a better, if not optimal situation, and may save you some money on detergent, since purer water needs less detergent. Is it good enough? It depends upon what you are starting with and where you can get to. A good water purification company will give you options with different costs.


Ideally, you treat tap water to make really pure utility water. Then use a RODI system to generate critical water from it. Installing a critical water system isn’t just an issue of installing the supply. It can’t be run in copper pipes because it dissolves copper and deposits it on the instruments, turning them a lovely green. You need plastic (PVC or HDPE) or stainless steel plumbing for critical water delivered from a circulating loop.


Improvements are possible with almost any budget, even close to $0. Numbers matter. Crunch them, considering your current repair costs, and you may be able to get funded to be fully compliant. See you next month!