Friday, 8 April 2016

Industrial Effluent Treatment Plant Problems: Why Employ a Process Engineer?

We put another troubleshooting report out this week on an underperforming industrial effluent treatment plant with a range of options for getting it to work properly.

We have looked at a number of plants recently where part of the problem is that some of the equipment is oversized, and some of it undersized. The essence of good process engineering is that the equipment is designed to work together across a range of flows and contaminant loadings.

I had a mismatched equipment situation like this last year caused by a decision by a large international civil engineering firm to do without a process designer. This unwise experiment had two severe effects of the effectiveness of the plant. As well as the mismatch in equipment sizes, a number of unproven technologies were selected, and the implications of their not working as advertised were not considered.

There was a secondary effect of the lack of a process engineer's input to the design: the layout was only just large enough  to accommodate the specified equipment, which created great difficulties in modifying the poor design.  

Why employ a process engineer? To get the right sized equipment, laid out properly to work reliably, cost effectively and safely. Doing without one in the past has proved a false economy for many of my clients.

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