How to Prevent Thermal Pollution? Remedies

With the spreading reaches of globalization worldwide thermal pollution is also a fast growing issue and a problem that needs to be handled properly. To tackle the problem of thermal pollution the best way is to shut off all the power plants and industries which produce heat. It is seen that with the continuous growing progress to develop and with upcoming industries that isn’t possible. Several other remedies have to be devised to overcome this situation.

Many means are being devised to reduce the harmful and adverse impacts of these causes. There are the cooling towers, cooling ponds and making better use of the heated water in some more productive tasks like space heating or secondary industrial processes. With the cold water discharges that is let out from the reservoir bottoms mitigation is expensive and difficult. It is observed that there are seasonal variations in the degree of vertical thermal stratification. Thus with this the timings of water releases can be conducted in such a way to minimize cold water differences of the released water. It should be such that it is consistent with needs for flood control or also power generation. During summers there may be extremes in the formation of cold water layers found in the bottom of the reservoir. If this cold water is released it will aggravate the impact in the downstream.

There have been provisions in which some countries and also certain states are required to limit their thermal discharges. These discharges that further are responsible for causing pollution in the receiving waters. Thermal pollution has been proven to be even more elusive than the other conventional chemical discharges. There has been regulations undertaken which have been enforced through judicial application like the United States Clean Water Act. Regulations can vary to suit the best approach possible. Some might be sufficient to use a cooling pond or cooling towers for discharge of waste water heat. Again there might be occasions where a numerical limit on acceptable temperature increase in applied to the receiving waters. The World Bank standard provides a maximum increase of just three degrees Celsius which is measured at the zone of mixing.

Remedies and Ways to reduce Thermal Pollution

  • Cooling Ponds – The best way to cool off the thermal discharges are cooling ponds. In these the heated effluents on the surface of the water maximize dissipation of heat to the atmosphere. They also minimize the water area and volume. Cooling ponds are the best way to cool thermal discharges. The warm water wedge is something like a cooling pond. These are man-made structures and water bodies which are so designed for cooling of water. The water is cooled by process of evaporation, convection and also radiation. The warm water is pumped into these cooling ponds from one end and the cooler water is extracted from the other end of the pond. The heat of the water is dissipated from the pond to the atmosphere.
  • Cooling Towers – Cooling towers can be taken as devices which are used to transfer waste heat to the atmosphere by the process of evaporation and heat transfer. These towers are better as they consume lesser space than the ponds and most cooling is down through evaporation. The hot water that is coming from the condenser is sprayed downwards. It’s sprayed over the vertical sheets or the baffles where the water is made to flow through the thin sheets of films. Cool air is injected inside the tower through the water inlet itself. This cool air then revolves around the base of the tower and rises upward slowly. This rising up makes the water cool due to evaporation. The heat is then made to dissipate into the atmosphere about 100m above from the base of the tower. The water which is cooled is then collected at the bottom of the floor of the tower. It is then recycled and put back to the power plant condensers. Cooling towers are mainly of two types, i.e. wet cooling towers which works when the hot water from the condensers are sprayed over baffles and cool air blowing from the side takes away the heat. Then we also have the dry cooling towers where the hot water is made to flow in long spiral pipes. Cool air is given by a fan cooling the water in the pipes and then the water is recycled.
  • Artificial Lakes – these lakes are man-made structures of water bodies which are used to offer the once-through cooling. The warm water along with the effluents are put into the lake from one side and cooled down water can be withdrawn from the other end of the lake whereas the heat is taken out through evaporation.
  • Spray Ponds – When the water from the condensers are coming out it is made to flow through the sprayers to the ponds. The water is then sprayed by the nozzles like fine tiny droplets. The tiny droplets loose heat in this way.

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