November 2011

Special Report: Plant Safety and Environment

Spent caustic management: Remediation review

Understanding of waste components needed for proper spent caustic disposal

Spent caustic handling, treatment and disposal are major concerns for refining and olefins (ethylene) production facilities due to its hazardous nature and noxious properties. As sources for spent caustic generation are diverse, they do produce characteristically different waste streams consisting of inorganic and organic acidic components such as carbon dioxide (CO2) sulfides, carbonates, mercaptans, phenolics, cresylics and naphthenates. These components are acidic and must be removed to avoid corrosion of downstream equipment and to prevent poisoning catalysts. The conditions can be further complicated by neutral oil carryover. Several treatment methods can be used to manage spent caust

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