Startup for a temporary wastewater solids handling facility

Posted in: Infrastructure, Water


Mead & Hunt recently completed the design and construction phases, and has begun the startup phase of a wastewater treatment temporary solids handling facility. Startup of a new facility is not as simple as the turn of a key or the flip of a switch. Let’s add that this is a temporary facility and the issues become even more unique.

Any operations startup with a lot of equipment will have issues. To do a great job you must accept a few “truisms of the profession” such as: 1) Do not expect a perfect startup to occur, and 2) Plan for problems. Knowing this will help your team be prepared.

It is not uncommon to need backup equipment and manpower. My backup plans include critical equipment such as pumps and conveyors that could potentially shut down entire process with a minor failure. Keep in mind a great plan will also alleviate problems associated with budget.

The facility startup phase plan should indicate that:

  • Final safety plan and all required training has been completed.
  • Contact numbers for project managers, equipment providers and suppliers is readily available.
  • Chemicals are onsite. Make sure you order ahead of time to ensure on time delivery.
  • Additional startup staffing is available, and there is a plan for workforce problems and overtime expenses.
  • All equipment – presses, conveyors, pumps, etc. – has been delivered, setup, and is ready to go. It’s a good idea to have an equipment and chemical representative onsite to support troubleshooting to minimize downtime.

A successful startup for a temporary dewatering facility requires a lot of upfront communication and planning. Operators and project managers should be well-trained and experienced with operations, troubleshooting systems and a mechanical background. During the startup phase, things can change quickly with unexpected problems arising. Be prepared to closely watch the system.

Startup of a temporary facility requires considerable experience and expertise. With all of the things that could go wrong, it is not for the light of heart but call me a “crazy wastewater manager,” I love it. Making sure every possibility is addressed is what gets me up in the morning. If you have a “startup story,” please share it.


Troy Gallagher

About the Author

Troy Gallagher has focused his 25-year+ career in the water and wastewater field, working for both industrial and municipal clients. Before joining Mead & Hunt, he started and built his own water and wastewater consulting, engineering and training company. Troy now serves as Market Leader responsible for new business development and teaming relationships to pursue nationwide opportunities in  water and wastewater treatment within diverse markets (municipal, aviation, food and dairy, and industrial).

Read more posts by Troy Gallagher

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