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ELG Compliance: 5 Tips To Get Your Equipment In Place On Time

Plan Ahead! Your Compliance Timeline May Be Tighter Than You Think

This is post two of a four part series on ELG Compliance

Getting the right equipment up and running in time to meet the ELG deadlines can be a challenge. The schedule for compliance can be even tighter than it looks when you consider all the things you need to get done, and the fact that so many others may be competing for the same resources that you are.

Earlier this month I talked about continuing the data gathering process while you starting vetting and evaluating your compliance options. This time, I talked with Jim Beninati, who works closely with our clients to identify, test and integrate new treatment technologies, and we put our minds together to share five lessons we’ve learned that can help you get your equipment in place on time.

1. Select an engineer that isn’t stretched too thin

Getting an engineer on board is one of the first steps towards achieving your compliance goals. It’s important your engineering resources don’t become a bottleneck in the process. Ask the right questions to understand the experience and availability of your engineering team, and be sure the critical people have time to dedicate to you.

2. Consider alternative contract/delivery options

Different contracting and delivery methods have the potential to save you time. Consider directly procuring major equipment yourself once you’ve nailed down the best technology and your engineer has specified a basis for it. If you conduct procurement directly, fabrication can take place at the supplier location in tandem with construction contracts.

Another option to consider is design-build delivery. In this model, the engineer and contractor are on the same team, which lends itself to a fast-track approach. This approach is particularly beneficial if you have limited or stretched-thin in-house resources, but be sure your team remains closely involved in the design process as well. Input from the folks who know your plant best (your engineers, operators, maintenance staff) creates the best end product for your plant.

3. Understand equipment lead times

There’s competition for resources because demand is high for equipment and manpower. There are lots of plants across the county looking to tackle the same challenge at once, and considering the same technologies. Equipment lead times will vary, though, depending on the type of technologies you are considering.

For biological systems there are a couple of alternatives and suppliers. These systems aren’t using specialty equipment — it’s primarily a matter of demand for designers to specify the equipment as the equipment suppliers don’t want to spread their design teams across too many projects simultaneously. Availability of manpower and design resources can create a holdup and increase equipment lead time, so be sure to consider this in your planning.

If you are considering thermal evaporation systems, keep in mind this technology requires more custom, specialty equipment with historically long lead times. The supply chain is narrow, meaning there can be a long wait for pilots, and there are a limited number of equipment suppliers who manufacture these systems.

4. Pilot more than one potential solution

No matter which type of system you need, it’s important to identify and pilot at least two potential solutions. Like I talked about in my last post, pilots are critical because they enable you to evaluate fairly how well a given technology will work on your particular wastewater stream, providing real data to make an educated decision. Piloting two or more options that you’ve identified with your engineer can also be a safety net. If one supplier can’t meet your schedule, you do have another potential option that you’ve thoroughly vetted.

5. Allot at least 2 years’ time

By the time you hire an engineer and update your plant’s water and mass balances, you should already be about six months in to the process. Add in the pilot program, time for drawing reviews, balance of plant design, and lead time for equipment delivery, and you’re looking at a minimum two year schedule from beginning to startup.

Follow these five steps and you should be well on your way to compliance in time to meet your deadline. Check out my next post for some specifics to keep in mind when selecting the right technology for your plant.