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Understanding refinery wastewater treatment basics - Part 1

11.10.2003  |  Huchler, L. A.,  MarTech Systems, Inc., Lawrenceville, New Jersey


Every refinery has a treatment plant to remove petroleum contaminants, hazardous materials and suspended solids from wastewater prior to discharge to the local watershed or publicly owned treatment facility, or reused within the refinery. Within the refinery, the technical service engineer works closely with the environmental department to monitor and control the waste treatment plant. An overview of typical wastewater unit operations (Fig. 1) familiarizes refinery personnel with the impact of utility and process operations on the efficiency of wastewater treatment.

 Fig. 1  

Typical refinery wastewater treatment plant.

Operational complexity. Normal refinery operation does not always produce consistent, predictable flowrates or quality of waste streams. Batch operations such as column washing or nonroutine operations such as process upsets, tanker ballast water pumping or storm events can cause dramatic variations in waste stream characteristics.

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