Waist Water Cleaning Plants
Most of the companies installing such systems have no staff with relevant formal qualifications or any knowledge whatever of how to design such a system. They purchase these systems from manufacturers who sell them as products without guarantee, expecting them to be sold by or to professional engineers who can satisfy themselves as to their suitability. The companies selling these products often no longer employ the engineer who designed their product, and their representatives are not qualified process engineers. In any case, they are salesmen, not consultants. These manufacturers make clear in their quotations that no guarantees are offered, and all is at the client’s risk, but all too often clients think they have covered themselves when in fact no one who understands these systems has looked at risk to the client. In our experience, the companies offering these packaged systems act in good faith. We have experience of Clearwater, Conder, WPL, Titan / Entec, Biotank and many other manufacturers’ plants. In every case, the package plant vendor made clear in their quotation that no guarantees were offered, and the clients’ representatives (usually architects) failed to notice that they were buying a big green box with no guarantee of anything with respect to performance. In most cases, installers of these systems do not understand how to properly specify, install, or maintain the systems, and are at a loss when it comes to a plant which is not working properly. They do no valid tests to prove that the plant works before they leave site. They do not train the client or their staff. They are usually however the last to admit this. Most of the plants we have visited recently have actually never worked, and a high proportion of them can not be made to work without radical modification, having been badly specified or installed in the first place.
A word to architects: many of the examples above were specified by architects, in collaboration with package plant installers. Package plant installers are not professional engineers, and one should note that quotations from package plant suppliers almost always specifically avoid offering process guarantees. Most of the previous examples cost architects in money and more importantly in reputation. Consult a professional engineer who is not trying to sell equipment when specifying this sort of machinery: it will save money. Installers might describe themselves as drainage engineers, or even consulting engineers, but prospective clients should ask them who is designing their system. Why not ask them if their Professional Liability Insurance covers them for design of process plant? Insurance companies are shrewd judges of a company’s abilities. A wise client will ask to see that a Chartered Chemical Engineer has oversight of the design specification, and that valid performance tests and process guarantees are offered. No number of years of experience of selling non-guaranteed packages designed by a third party gives the ability to properly specify, design, install, commission, or troubleshoot these plants. This does not stop any number of companies from attempting to do so. Often they get lucky, but it can be an expensive gamble for clients who find out that with no guarantees, they are the losers when the plant does not work. Alternatives are water aeration and top water aeration to clean waste water, farm ponds and so on.
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