Porta’s Water Treatment – Extending the Life of Locomotive Boilers

Porta’s Water Treatment is an extension of the TIA system that was successfully used in France and the UK in the later days of steam.  Porta’s water treatment is claimed to:

  • stop all water-side corrosion;
  • prevent scale formation, even when using the hardest of water;
  • prevent deposition of sludges and thus the need for frequent boiler washouts;
  • reduce the need for blow-downs;
  • ensure purity of steam leaving the boiler.

Porta Treatment achieves these benefits from a combination of:

  • very high levels of dissolved solids in the range of 10,000 to 20,000 ppm (or even higher);
  • very high alkalinity of around 3,000 ppm (as CaCO3);
  • addition of tannins;
  • use of special antifoams to prevent priming.

Continuous use of Porta’s water treatment can extend boiler lifespan almost indefinitely and dramatically reduce boiler maintenance costs.

Porta wrote a lengthy (and not easily understood) paper on the subject titled “Steam Locomotive Boiler Water Treatment” which has so far not been published.

Wardale has described his use of Porta Treatment in his book The Red Devil and Other Tales from the Age of Steam, and his views on the subject are summarized in the notes of a meeting with Chris Newman in Beijing in Oct 2003.

The subject of Porta’s Water Treatment was the feature of an article by Martyn Bane and Shaun McMahonin Steam Railway Magazine No 335.