Friday, 13 July 2018

Expert Witness Water and Drainage Engineer

A few expert witness enquiries this week, mostly to do part 35 reports on drainage issues. These are usually pretty basic from an engineering point of view, but I'm happy to do them. I often get a big expert witness job to do over summer, but these are all fairly small.

Mainly this week, I have been getting into the final specification of  the new bespoke treatment plant for my commercial analytical laboratory client. Had a site visit on Wednesday to meet suppliers and installers.

Friday, 6 July 2018

Engineering Consultant : Detailed Design Procurement and Commissioning of Commercial Effluent Treatment Plants

My main work this week has been making preparations to procure that new effluent treatment plant for my long standing commercial client.

The Environment Agency have been very helpful, and I now have a revised consent to discharge which fits the site, and have designed a plant to fit the revised consent.

All that remains now is to make sure that we have recommended suppliers for all of eth kit, and an installation contractor to put it all in place. I'm meeting suppliers on site next week to finalise that, and procurement should follow soon after.

Commissioning wont take place until the autumn though, due to long lead time on the main process units.

In the meantime I have enquiries to deal with from Malaysia, West and South Africa, Pakistan, (and less exotically), Ireland for various water process engineering services.

Friday, 15 June 2018

Troubleshooting Effluent Treatment : Expert Witness

I've had a few more expert witness enquiries this week for sewage and drainage related problems. I've also been finalising the design and pricing of a novel trade effluent treatment plant. I'm not in favour of any more novelty than is strictly necessary, but in this particular application, it seems as if it might be necessary. 

Friday, 8 June 2018

New IChemE Book by Chemical Engineer Sean Moran

Sean Moran IChemE Official Book Water Treatment Plant Design

My new IChemE /Elsevier book was published this week. I have made a start on updating the first book I wrote for the Institution of Chemical Engineers, which will probably be my last, as I resigned from the IChemE earlier in the year, unhappy with their direction of travel.

Friday, 1 June 2018

Expert Troubleshooting Package Plant Problems

I have had cause before to write about problems with package sewage treatment plants, and the companies who supply, install and maintain them, based on long experience as a troubleshooter and expert witness.

I'm presently finalising the detailed design of a commercial effluent treatment system which uses a packaged plant as the biological stage, and it seems that nothing has improved since I last looked at things.

It seems the market is still dominated by salesmen whose only technical support seems to be from former tanker drivers who have done a 3-day package plant maintenance course. Calling a monkey a senior engineer doesn't make it so, I'm afraid.

Many of these "senior engineers" and their managers have been sharing their half-baked opinions with me and my client in a tone which makes it clear that they consider themselves experts. All I have learned from these exchanges is how so many people I meet are so confused about what they need. These know-nothings are so sure of themselves, but they are so frequently wrong.

To list a few of the falsehoods I have recently had presented forcefully to me as fact:

Businesses do NOT have a right to discharge trade effluent to sewer if the business is long established. A right like this might have been established with respect to purely domestic sewage, but there is no right to discharge trade effluent.

Peristaltic dosing pumps are NOT generally speaking more reliable and lower maintenance than piston pumps.

There is NO magic liquid additive which can get a biological treatment plant to produce compliant effluent if its aeration system is not functional.

It is almost universally the case that there are no experts working at package plant supply and installation companies. The experts who designed the plants do not work there any more, if they ever did. I designed a series of these plants once. It was a design-only contract for a consumer product, and this is the normal case. The designers have made them idiot proof, which has given some idiots the idea that they understand them, but they do not. They actively misunderstand them.

If you want expert advice, see an independent like me. Salesmen and tanker drivers are not professional engineers, whatever their job title. Their advice is neither expert nor unbiased. Caveat emptor!

Friday, 25 May 2018

Detailed Design Water and Effluent Treatment Plant Process Plant Design Expert

I've been doing the real nitty gritty detailed design of a commercial effluent treatment system this week, treating a highly variable cocktail of heavy metals and recalcitrant organics.

I've more or less got it all bottomed out now, in anticipation of the Environment Agency's new consent to discharge at the site.

Only a week to go to the release of my new #icheme book " An Applied Guide to Water and Effluent Treatment Plant Design".

I'm hoping it does as well as the last two. This is my most detailed yet, dealing as it does with my area of maximum expertise.

#sean #moran #icheme #book #water #effluent #process #plant #design

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Expert Witness Water Process Engineer

I had another expert witness enquiry this week, to do with a reverse osmosis seawater desalination plant. Water and effluent treatment is my sector of process engineering. The design, commissioning and troubleshooting of clean or dirty water treatment plants is what I spend most of my time as a professional engineer doing, and is also what most of my expert witness engagement are about.

#expert #witness #water #process #sean #moran #chemical #engineer 

Friday, 18 May 2018

Expert Witness Troubleshooter Industrial Effluent Treatment Process Engineer

A mixed bag this week of expert witness enquiries and real design work, all for industrial effluent treatment plants.

It looks like I have finally bottomed out the commercial waste treatment plant design and associated negotiation with the environment  agency. I also had an enquiry from a startup company who thought before we talked that reverse osmosis could turn high strength industrial waste into deionised water as a single stage treatment. It can't. 

Other than that, a bit of writing, and a bit of follow-up with my students, trying to help them get that all important first job.  

#expert #witness #water #engineer #chemical #process #sean #moran #blog

Monday, 14 May 2018

Expert Witness Water Engineer Water Treatment Plant Design, Construction, Installation Commissioning Setting to Work Performance Testing Operation and Troubleshooting

I'm starting the week with an expert witness enquiry, in my usual field (water treatment plant design, construction and operation) with all of the usual elements.

Is it a bad specification, a bad contract, a bad contractor, a bad client or a bad design? Is it a bad plant or is it a good plant badly operated? Or is it some combination of some of these factors?

#waterengineer #expert #witness #process #design #chemical #engineer #seanmoran

Sean Moran Chemical Engineer Former IChemE Council Member Voice of Chemical Engineering Blogger Text Book Author

I am a chemical engineer. Most people don't know what that is, (including many people who call themselves chemical engineers). Chemical Engineers design and operate process plants. Process plants mostly make stuff (rather than widgets). That stuff might be clean water, drugs, plastic, chocolate or petrol, (and so on). In summary, we make the stuff which underpins civilisation.

My specialisation is clean water. This is the blog on which I discuss my professional practice in water and environmental engineering. I however have a number of other roles, and a number of other blogs in which I discuss those. I can see from google search that people look for my blogs, so I thought Id write a post which brings them together to allow you to choose.

So, I tend to discuss the books I write on linkedin, or my goodreads and amazon blogs, though they do get a mention here sometimes. I write blog posts for my main publisher Elsevier under the byline "The Voice of Chemical Engineering", which you can see here. My Elsevier books are IChemE (Institution of Chemical Engineers) branded, though I left the IChemE earlier this year, and moved to CIWEM, as I was unhappy with the way the #IChemE treat their members.

I discuss my teaching on Linked in and this also tends to form the basis of much that I do on facebook, as I use facebook in my teaching.

#seanmoran  #icheme #council  #resignation #blog #chemicalengineer #engineer #blogger #author #professor

Friday, 11 May 2018

Industrial Effluent : Knowing What You Don't Know and How Much You Should Care

Sean Moran IChemE Chemical Engineer Blog

I still work as an engineer, even though a lot of the things I write on here are about my side-lines as a part-time academic and author. Earlier this week I had a discussion with a chemical engineer in a different sector which reminded me of the difference between academic and professional rigour, and between taking and dodging professional responsibility.

Without giving away too many details, it concerned the zoning of a confined space in an industrial effluent treatment collection system. Apparently the American NFPA 820 standard states that sewer gas is non-flammable. On the strength of this statement, an engineer thought that the confined space presented no risk of explosion hazard.

There are a number of standards in play in a case like this, though I have not seen an American standard used in this context the UK before. IEC 60079, BS EN 50281 and BS EN 60079 part 10 are the more commonly used guidance. The key word here is guidance. Codes and standards are not to be applied blindly. Professional engineers are employed to exercise professional judgement. Applying an inappropriate standard, or applying an appropriate one inappropriately is less than competent.

Thinking that reference to a standard gets us out of thinking about whether its recommendation is sensible is an abdication of professional responsibility. Not considering whether the question we are being asked falls outside our area of expertise is also a failing of professionalism. Luckily, someone on the team knows me, and knew that this falls in my area of expertise. I already knew that the idea that "sewer gas is non-flammable" was not universally true. I am confined space trained, and we wear gas monitors with (amongst other things) LEL detection when accessing chambers such as this. It also transpired upon investigation that this was not what I would call normal sewer contents, as it was mostly hot, high strength trade effluent rather than domestic sewage. Organic solvents are handled at the site, and it was uncertain as to whether there were any routes by which these solvents, or their heavier than air vapours could make it to the sump in question.

At this point I knew enough to say that there were grounds to have some concern about whether flammable atmospheres might occur in the sump, and to rule out the idea that this was an inconceivable condition. If I were looking to milk the client, I might have insisted that only a rigorous program of sampling and analysis could tell us how the chamber should be regarded, but I applied some common sense. What were the financial implications of making the conservative assumption, (zoning it as likely to contain an explosive atmosphere), compared with the costs of the investigation?

It turned out that there was no plan to put electrical equipment in the sump, so the zoning was a paper exercise. A study to "rigorously" establish the "proper" zoning would have been a waste of money. We are not scientists. Our investigations are intended to increase safety and robustness, or decrease cost. Sometimes the answer to an engineering question is "who cares"? Not that I'm immune to caring about things no-one else does myself. I'm an engineer too...

#seanmoran #chemicalengineer #realchemeng #engineering #industrialeffluent

Friday, 4 May 2018

Process Engineering Training From Sean Moran Chemical Engineer

There are still a lot of training enquiries coming in from the Middle East. Few firm bookings as yet, but I've got plenty to be getting on with.

I've just finished my draft of the much expanded second edition of "An Applied Guide to Process and Plant Design", part of my series of #icheme books and I'm coming to the end of my module on water treatment engineering at Manchester University, so there will be coursework and exams to mark soon.

What we don't have a lot of at the moment is expert witness work, but summer is usually the busy time for that. Don't ask me why, but that's how it is...

#icheme #seanmoran #chemicalengineer #processplantdesign #training

Friday, 27 April 2018

Chemical Engineering Training UK and Middle East With Sean Moran

There are lots of enquiries about training coming in now, though I don't expect to be actually delivering anything in the Middle East before Ramadan, I've got a couple of things booked in the UK at the end of June.

It's a mixed bag of subjects, but generally it's all about either design or operation of process plants, which is how I define chemical engineering (and how it used to be defined by the #IChemE back when I became a Chartered Chemical Engineer).

#sean.moran #blog #icheme #chartered #chemicalengineer #training #processplantdesign #processplantoperation 

Friday, 20 April 2018

Process Plant Design and Layout Training with Sean Moran

I delivered some training in the UK this week, unusually. Mostly I train in the Gulf. I did a short session on process plant layout for a design house in the North of England.

More generally, training is finally looking up. I'm presently booking a week long course on design of desalination plant to be delivered in the UK for an overseas client, a couple of courses in South East Asia on water treatment plant design, have a bid in a course in the Gulf on data analysis for process investigation, and I'm looking at offering a few new process safety courses.

I have almost finished my university lecturing for the year. The Chester process design course got exceptional feedback. I'll have to arrange feedback for the Manchester course when I am back next week.

#seanmoran #chemicalengineer #training #processplantdesign #processplantlayout

Sunday, 15 April 2018

Sean Moran Blogger Chemical Engineer Author Professor Former IChemE Council Member Voice of Chemical Engineering

I have a number of blogs, reflecting my various roles. I am a chemical engineer, (who still actually engineers things). I am also a university lecturer / professor, and an author, and I was involved heavily in the past in the Institution of Chemical Engineers, though I resigned my position on the IChemE's ruling council, and eventually resigned from the IChemE entirely in protest at their behaviour as an organisation.

This blog is mostly to do with my work for Expertise Limited, the company through which I design and troubleshoot process plants, do expert witness work, and provide training services. I have a Goodreads blog and a couple of Amazon author pages (here and here) where I exclusively discuss my books.

I write opinion pieces on LinkedIn and on Elsevier's site, mainly about issues to do with the subject of my books and teaching, though these sometimes touch on issues to do with IChemE and more broadly the engineering establishment. My main concerns with respect to engineering education are that there are too many graduates being produced worldwide and they have too few useful skills. This may suit big business, academia and the engineering establishment, but it isn't fair on the kids.

#SeanMoran #Blog #ChemicalEngineer #Author #Professor #Former #IChemE #trustee #institutionofchemicalengineers #Council #Member #VoiceofChemicalEngineering  #ResignationStatement

Friday, 13 April 2018

Water Treatment Plant Design and Operation Training from Sean Moran

More progress on the training front this week. We are firming up on an in-depth two week course on desalination using membranes in the UK for an overseas client, and talking to people in Africa, India, the Arabian Gulf and the Caribbean about other courses.

As far as real engineering work is concerned, we are awaiting the Environment Agency's determination of our application for a variation to a consent to discharge treated trade effluent to environment, to allow final design of a new treatment plant.

I'm expecting to have finished my first pass at Edition 2 of my first IChemE book, "An Applied Guide to Process and Plant Design" today. As I usually submit around revision 8, still a long way to go.

#sean.moran #training #icheme

Friday, 6 April 2018

Is Water Engineering Training Back?

Came back from holiday to a fair number of training enquiries. A mixed bag of water treatment, process safety, and data analysis (which I do a lot of, but never taught outside a university before). All new overseas clients, mostly related to the oil and gas industry. We will see if anything comes of it.

Other than that, I've been busy writing, and I've sold quite a few copies of my first book on the back of a series of linked in articles I've been publishing.

The EA have started their modelling exercise for the upgrade to the commercial effluent treatment plant. I think I can guess the result, but I'm willing to be surprised...

#seanmoran #sean.moran #training #waterengineering 

Friday, 30 March 2018

Training: Water Process Plant Design

We had a few training enquiries this week. It looks like the training market is finally coming back a bit.

I used to do a few courses a year in the middle and far east, but the oil price crash put that on hold for a few years (at least at rates attractive to UK engineers)

It will be nice to get back. I'm sure Abu Dhabi, Qatar and Dubai have changed a bit since I was last there.

Meanwhile, I seem to be on the home straight with the EA with respect to the effluent treatment plant upgrade paperwork. I'm going to send out lots of emails today for people to come back from holiday to....

Friday, 23 March 2018

Sean Moran Chemical Engineer Water Expert

Another week of water engineering for me. Practicing it, writing about it, and teaching it as usual.

A few frustrations with the Environment Agency, but by yesterday, the various parts of the Agency were talking to each other....