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What is pH?


The pH scale was devised by the Danish chemist Soren Peder Lauritz Sorensen at the Carlsberg Laboratory in 1909 and later modified to its modern form in 1924 to accommodate definitions and measurements in terms of electrochemical cells. 

The “pH” stands for “power of hydrogen” and represents the concentration of hydrogen atoms present in the solution being measured. Free acidity or free alkalinity of water is indicated by pH. The pH scale ranges from 0-14 pH units, “0” being the most acidic and 14 being the most basic. Neutral is in the middle at 7 pH units and considered pure. 0-7 pH units are considered acidic and 7-14 pH units are considered a base.


Due to the Clean Water Act of 1972, the government requires companies to restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the water they produce. To do this, pH neutralization is necessary. Something as simple as soda or bleach can cause a change in the pH levels of your water. Any company that discharges effluent into sewer systems, lakes, and streams is required to neutralize this effluent before discharging.

Non-compliance with this law can result in fines or other penalties. Effluent monitoring of the pH levels of the discharge is commonly required. The National Secondary Drinking Water Regulations (NSDWRs) are guidelines that regulate contaminants that could cause cosmetic or aesthetic changes in drinking water.

Possible effects include skin and tooth discoloration, or poor taste, odor, or color in the water.

The regulations require the pH of this water to be between 6.5 and 8.5 units to limit the possible side effects the water may cause.

What components make up a pH neutralization system?


How is pH neutralization performed?

Acids are used to neutralize bases and vice versa. The pH adjustment process can be performed in either a batch or continuous flow treatment. Depending on the application, the more data that can be gathered on the expected waste flow, temperatures, and waste stream constituents, the better the system will operate.

Batch pH Adjustment Systems

In a batching system, the untreated influent enters the tank and fills until the high-level point is reached. There is a gravity-fed discharge valve located on the bottom of the tank wall that remains shut during the batching process.

Large batch volumes are treated in one cycle, as opposed to a continuous process. Once the contents of the tank reach the acceptable discharge range, the valve will be opened to release the treated effluent. For example, check out our Spec and Lab Master pH neutralization systems.

Continuous Flow Through pH Adjustment Systems

In a continuous flow system, the tank is always full. This means that for every gallon of untreated influent entering the tank, there is one gallon of treated effluent leaving the tank.

As the untreated influent enters the tank, it is mixed thoroughly with its contents. After the pH probe picks up the current pH level, injector quills will inject the proper chemical to neutralize the pH. For instance, our ACS series for pH adjustment accepts a continuous flow at flow rates of up to 300 GPM.

Talk to one of our engineers to design a system that meets your specifications: 1-877-742-2878 or Ask Now