Emergency response, RO and DI systems allow chemical plant to overcome blackout

August 21, 2017

Emergency response, RO and DI systems allow chemical plant to overcome blackout

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When a Louisiana chemical plant suffered a site-wide blackout, plant personnel learned they would have to bring each power-generation unit, and its corresponding water filtration system, back on-line individually. Facility workers returned the on-site demineralization system to a functional status quickly, but it was receiving almost zero condensate return.

To re-establish condensate return, which is a liquid that is transferred from steam in order to increase energy-production efficiency, the plant would need to increase its flow rate by approximately 1,800 gallons per minute (GPM) more than its system could produce.

Another complicating factor was the lack of a suitable power source, which would exclude the use of reverse osmosis equipment during the emergency-response phase of the project.


Based upon the strength of a recent MPW presentation, the plant decided to call MPW instead of a competing contractor that had more recently provided DI services. Four hours later, MPW delivered two DI trailers. Within 24 hours of the first call, MPW had six DI units functioning at the site. The customer requested two additional DI trailers on day 2. After that, the customer required up to seven daily trailer swaps due to issues with feedwater quality.

The source of the plant’s feedwater was clarified river water that was approximately 450 uS. At one point, the client switched over to a well-water source that measured greater than 900 uS, which lessened the throughput from approximately 500,000 gallons to approximately 250,000 gallons per DI unit. Since the client requested a flow of 250 GPM, the trailers lasted about two days on the river water and 20-24 hours on the well water before being exhausted.


After three weeks of using only DI trailers, plant personnel agreed to put two filter trailers and two reverse osmosis trailers (RO) in place. By this time in the project, the facility needed 1,200 GPM to keep up with demand. After these units were put in place, only eight more DI trailers were needed during the final six weeks of the project.

MPW’s 10 million grain mobile DI trailer served the client well, providing twice the capacity of competing systems. The MPW system’s superior efficiency limits swap-outs; decreases traffic congestion, logistical delays and accidents; reduces the carbon footprint and emissions; and is the most environmentally responsible method of mobile DI service.

During this job, MPW used 61 DI swaps; a competitor would have needed more than 120 swaps to complete the same work.

MPW responds to emergency DI trailer needs every day. However, the volume of trailers and the execution of MPW’s emergency-response team are what made this project unique. Through the efforts of employees at all of MPW’s regeneration facilities, the company conquered the logistical challenge of keeping up with demand while also servicing its other customers. MPW responded to the customer’s specific and ever-changing requirements throughout the venture, which prevented the facility from losing millions of dollars each day.

The cost savings available via MPW’s use of RO technology, which was executed through rented power generators, was the primary discovery for plant personnel once the blackout and condensate-return issues were resolved. Plant representatives said in the future they will be more prepared to handle a similar emergency.

MPW purified 14 million gallons of water during the two-month project, during which there were no safety incidents.

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