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Condensed Steam vs Water properties

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stopgogo
stopgogo Member Posts: 25
District steam here.
Steam line in the street was leaking. Line was dug up and at the end of the trench line, steam can be felt flashing out of the steam line trench. The line itself is buried bellow a dozen of water mains and services.
Question:
Can I condense the evaporated steam coming out from the trench and check the properties to see weather it is just city water or steam that is produced by our plant?
The steam is also treated with amines, will it show on a condensate test?

Comments

  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,781
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    Pure steam will be pure, or very close to pure distilled water. Checking it's TDS should show this and I would expect very close to zero.


    The bad part is I know nothing about district steam or what amines are. :(
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,433
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    And the worse part is that no, sadly, it is unlikely that the amiines would show up, unless it is the steam which is treated. If it is the boiler water which is treated -- much more likely -- they won't carry over much. Amines really aren't that good a tracer.

    And the even worse part is that it is very unlikely that the steam you are seeing comes from anywhere except the steam line. The only other possibility is if your steam line is under enough pressure that the surface temperature of the pipe is high enough to vapourize any water (city or ground) that gets on it.

    I will think this one over, and see if a light bulb turns on and suggests a better tracer you could run in your steam lines and follow up, if I can. Don't hold your breath...
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,616
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    I am missing something here Maybe I am not understanding.. You dug up the pipe and have steam coming out of the trench. That would indicate a steam leak.

    Are you thinking that a city water line is leaking and that this "ground water" is being heated by the steam line to the boiling point??

    I would dig a pit if possible as close to the steam line as possible down below the steam line. Use a pump to pump out the collected ground water.

    If the steaming stops it's a leaking water pipe. If it keeps steaming it's a steam leak
  • stopgogo
    stopgogo Member Posts: 25
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    Well In this situation the steam is coming out of a steam vault near the leak. It is not dug up yet because the source of the leak is not evident in the street. It is on a pitched street so as steam rises it comes out of the manhole pipe inside of the manhole. We have had small service water leaks that would run across our pipe and evaporate, causing a steam like leak simulation but after a dig we discovered that it was a water service leak evaporating causing us to believe otherwise.
    Any chance we can condense some of the "steam" coming out and test it and differentiate between water and or steam?
    Will the properties be the same after water evaporation?
  • stopgogo
    stopgogo Member Posts: 25
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    We would like to cut costs by eliminating digging and tracing leaks hence it can be expensive. Is there an inexpensive way to inject steam lines with something equivalent as "dye" like water tracers to analyze steam leaks ?
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,781
    edited August 2017
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    Distilled water is made by boiling water, creating steam and condensing it (collecting it).

    Nothing you put in the water will show up in the condensed water.

    So, no.


    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
    stopgogo
  • nicholas bonham-carter
    nicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,578
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    Quite likely a steam leak will be noisy at the point of exit of the steam, and with a different pitch from a water leak.
    Can you get a listening device leak detector?--NBC
  • bob_46
    bob_46 Member Posts: 813
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    I have had to disconnect large steam injection humidifiers because amines were getting into the airstream. We had to add steam fired boilers between the plant steam and the humidifiers. If they were worried about people breathing amines it must be detectable in the steam.

    There was an error rendering this rich post.

    Canucker
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 22,256
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    I've wondered how some of the newer water treatment chemicals react with the inhibitors like amines that are used in steam boilers. Or any boiler additive for that matter.

    I know a wood boiler manufacturer that claims the polyphosphates added to public water to handle turbidity can turn into a nasty sludge layer in the lower section of the boiler when heated.

    Chloramines are a blend of chlorine and ammonia being used to replace chlorine also. Water providers are concerned with health related issues, not so much how boilers behave with the new additives.

    I think chloramines were part of the issue in Flint.


    https://www.armstronginternational.com/files/products/humidifiers/pdf/techreports/aminelevels.pdf
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • Canucker
    Canucker Member Posts: 722
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    bob said:

    I have had to disconnect large steam injection humidifiers because amines were getting into the airstream. We had to add steam fired boilers between the plant steam and the humidifiers. If they were worried about people breathing amines it must be detectable in the steam.

    This.^^^
    You can have it good, fast or cheap. Pick two
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,433
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    Slightly OT, but on chloramines -- they are preferred in public water supply, since they last much longer in water and are as effective in disinfection as straight chlorine. Also, if there are trace organics in the water -- which is not unheard of -- they won't react with them to produce nastier organics. All good. The down side -- there's always a down side! -- is that it is a little harder to accurately control the dosage, and significantly harder to measure it.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England