Source of Silica in Water: Silica (SiO₂) is the second most common element on the Earth, after oxygen. It is often found in quartz, sandstone, and other rocks. As water filters down through these structures, it will pick up contaminants and minerals, including silica. Silica can be found in most groundwaters, wells, and even in food. One form of silica is silicates, which are considered salts and generally combine with other mineral contaminants. It is found in surface and well water in the range of 1 - 100 mg/l. Colloidal silica can be very difficult to filter as it is a gelatinous substance made up of non-diffusible particles that remain suspended in the water.
Symptoms of Silica: Silica does not seem to have detrimental health effects; there are studies that have shown that it actually helps to alleviate the symptoms of dementia. Even though silica does not seem to be harmful to humans, it can be especially damaging in industrial water uses. Cooling towers, boiler feeds, semi-conductor, and carwashes all need water that is silica-free. Silica can leave behind deposits on expensive equipment and surfaces, creating a scale build-up that is hard to remove. Scale build-up can then lead to expensive maintenance and replacement of damaged or rust-filled parts and pipes.
Filtration Solutions for Silica: Because there can be different types of silica, it can present an especially hard case for filtration. Generally, multiple systems may need to be used to reduce the presence of silica. Reverse osmosis systems can be used, but will likely need to be used in conjunction with a water softening system. This will produce water that has up to 90% of the silica removed. Various applications and industries may require a smaller percentage amount. For more information on removing silica or silica sand from your system, call our water experts.