Water. Just turn on the faucet and it’s there, all the time. Until one day, when something goes wrong—it could be a problem with the raw water supply, the water treatment plant, or the pipes that deliver water to our houses. Suddenly, there’s no water, and it’s only then we realize that we take this vital resource for granted. Every time that we turn the faucet, we expect that we will get clean, pure drinking water.
It’s not just us—manufacturing plant personal take water for granted too. After all, it’s only water. Plant operators assume that the equipment that purifies the water and the infrastructure that delivers it throughout the plant is going to work. All day long. Every day.
The truth is, plant equipment is barely adequate. Look around most industrial sites—the equipment in the water plant is antiquated or in poor condition, with little automation, instrumentation or on-line analyzers.
In addition, most manufacturing plants place such a low value on water that their employees have little technical understanding of the science of water treatment; they follow the instructions in the equipment manuals to operate the water plant. Plant managers outsource the remaining required expertise by hiring a vendor to monitor services and oversee the chemical additives process.
The problem is, this strategy doesn’t work.
In a recent webinar, “Designing and Managing Influent Water Systems, Keys to Minimizing Risk and Maximizing Flexibility,” sponsored by Knovel, Gulf Publishing Company and Chemical Publishing Company, I discussed the consequences of neglecting the utility water systems: inefficient operation, lost production or injury of operations personnel. I also explained the less obvious risk: that raw water supplies are declining in quantity and quality, especially in drought-stricken areas.
What’s the best solution? I recommend a risk management approach. Assess the risks, reduce those risks which options that incorporate a high degree of flexibility. You’ll find numerous examples of options in the webinar that you can watch here. Together with my colleagues, Dave Christopherson of Veolia, and Colin Frayne from Aquassurance, you’ll get insights that you can use to improve the design and operation of your pretreatment systems and reduce the risk of failure.
Loraine Huchler, P.E., CMC,is the founder and president of MarTech Systems, Inc. , a consulting services that optimizes the water and energy circuits in influent, steam, cooling and waste water systems in industrial facilities. Loraine has presented and published numerous technical papers on subjects including passivation in steam generating systems, packed-bed demineralizer technology, reboiler steam-side system operation and non-chemical water treatment technologies. She is also author of Operating Practices for Industrial Water Management, Influent Water Systems, Gulf Publishing, Inc. Loraine can be reached at email@example.com.