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Reduce Cooling Tower and Chiller Plant Water Use (In Progress)

Project History


The 2015 iCAP, chapter 5, objective 2 is "Improve the water efficiency of cooling towers by limiting the amount discharged to sewer to less than 20% of water intake for chiller plant towers, and less than 33% for stand-alone building towers, by FY20." The results of the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center’s True Cost of Water Study yielded five action items and two pilot studies. These action items and pilot studies fulfilled the second goal of the study, which was to generate ideas for improving water use efficiency. The first goal of the study, to benchmark water use in cooling towers, was fulfilled in the study’s initial research.

Action Items

  1. Install Trasar 3D monitoring at the Oak Street Chiller Plant (OSCP) and Vet Med Chiller Plant.
  2. Initiate engineering design and feasibility study of sulfuric acid dosing to increase COC at chiller plants.
  3. Explore optimization of Abbott Cooling Tower and RO as a whole system.
  4. Monitor the feed water going into the RO at Abbott to allow for independent determination of the RO efficiency.
  5. Monitor any existing Cooling Tower blowdown meters to compare operation with the observed chemistry.

Pilot Studies

  1. Initiate piloting of Nanofiltration of Oak Street Sub-soil drainage water as make-up for cooling tower.
  2. Conduct pilot investigation of non-chemical water treatment (especially VRTX) technologies for stand-alone towers.

The installation of the Trasar 3D monitoring at OSCP has already been completed.


The 3D Trasar technology is installed on the cooling towers at Abbott, as well as the boilers at Abbott.  The link for the information on the 3D Trasar for boilers is


Project Location(s)

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