One of the constant challenges in water and wastewater treatment is maintaining the proper pH level of the water.  There are many different chemicals that can be used to raise and/or lower the pH level to an acceptable range. One such chemical that Operators Unlimited sells is Caustic Soda, the common name for Sodium Hydroxide (NaOH).  OU provides this in different concentrations, ranging from 25% to 50% solutions, and in various container sizes up to a full tanker.

Sodium Hydroxide is mostly formed industrially by the electrolysis of salt.  An interesting fact is that NaOH is produced at the same time as chlorine gas. In the electrolysis process, when NaCl breaks down, the sodium reacts with water to form sodium hydroxide,  while the chlorine escapes as a gas.  There are some chemical methods that can also be used to produce NaOH, but these are less economical than using electrolysis.

Sodium Hydroxide is a strong alkali which, among other facts, means that it is highly ionized and has a high pH.  Thus, in wastewater treatment these products can be used to raise the pH level of the water.   It is also helpful in the process of removing heavy metal particles from the water.

There are many more uses for Sodium Hydroxide than just in water and wastewater treatment.  Uses range from a neutralizing agent in the refinement of petroleum, to being used in the extraction of ores from metals.  A fascinating use is in the preparation of what is called “Lutefisk.” Lutefisk is often made by soaking dried fish in Sodium Hydroxide (often sometimes called lye) until it develops a jelly-like consistency, and then soaked in water to remove the caustic solution. It is then steamed and served with a butter sauce1.  Please do not use any of our products for this process.


1Diehl, Kari. (August 2019). What is the Scandanavian Food Lutefisk?. The Spruce Eats. Retrieved December 9, 2019 from the website