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 Boiler Feed Water Makeup Audit Increases Reliability of Water Treatment System

 Challenge

A refinery in Kentucky was experiencing difficulties with the quality and quantity of water from their existing water treatment system. The water was used for the refinery’s boiler feed water treatment facility. With 18 filters, 10 softeners, a deaerating heater and a reverse osmosis system with pre-filters, plant personnel were overwhelmed with maintenance issues. Some of the refinery’s specific challenges:

  • Post-precipitation in the filters
  • Lime sludge had entered the filters because of a past clarifier upset
  • Filter media had passed through the filters into the softeners
  • Resin had passed through the softeners into the RO pre-filters and membranes
  • Much of the instrumentation was broken or unreliable
  • The multiport valves had not been regularly maintained


The process specialist within the refinery’s utilities department needed technical assistance and a quick, dependable solution.

 Solution

Through our System Optimization Program, a technical services engineer:

Traveled to the refinery and conducted a comprehensive review of the entire water treatment system and ancillary equipment. They met with operating personnel to determine current maintenance procedures and operating conditions. Then reviewed operating data and sequences, drawings and operating and maintenance manuals.

The Audit team provided a detailed engineering report, including observations and recommendations

 Results

Within the engineering report, detailed recommendations were provided for:

  • Cleaning and maintenance procedures for the entire system
  • Replacement components, screens, resins, filter media and instrumentation
  • Alternative materials of construction and sizing of components to provide long-term, reliable operation and ease of maintenance
  • Installation and monitoring procedures
  • Restoration and maintenance procedures for the multiport valves


In this case, refinery personnel decided not to perform the restoration and maintenance procedures for the multiport valves. Utilizing the multiport valve restoration program, the valves are being restored to maximum performance. For each of the valves personnel are:

  • Disassembling
  • Replacing all worn parts and gaskets
  • Lubricating
  • Painting
  • Returning the restored valve to the refinery


Because of budgetary constraints, the refinery decided upon a 2-year optimization program. During 2003, 8 filters and 10 softeners were optimized. During 2004, the remaining 10 filters will be optimized