Sustainable water treatment solution reduces costs, conserves water at Ohio refinery

A partnership between Toledo Refining Company (TRC) of Oregon, Ohio, and Veolia Water has saved a significant amount of money by reducing purchases of city water and lowering treatment costs by directing less wastewater to the city’s treatment plant.

Oct 25th, 2013
Veoliacover

Toledo Refining Company (TRC) of Oregon, Ohio, has partnered with Veolia Water in a 20-year term agreement in which Veolia operates and maintains the refinery's onsite wastewater treatment facility. The treatment plant recovers 50 percent of the plant's wastewater for reuse in the refining process.

Throughout the partnership, now in its 14th year, the refinery has saved a significant amount of money by reducing purchases of city water and lowering treatment costs by directing less wastewater to the city's treatment plant. Just as importantly, this sustainable solution reduces demand on local water supplies. In addition, the refinery has benefited from reduced risks, significant cost savings and being able to focus resources on its core business of oil refining rather than treating wastewater.

With a capacity of 170,000 barrels per day, the refinery primarily produces fuels, including gasoline, ultra-low sulfur diesel, and jet fuel, plus a variety of high-value petrochemicals. Photo by Johnny McClung, Veolia Water North America.

Located near Toledo, Ohio, TRC's Toledo Refinery processes light, sweet North American crudes. With a capacity of 170,000 barrels per day, the refinery primarily produces fuels, including gasoline, ultra-low sulfur diesel and jet fuel, as well as a variety of high-value petrochemicals. The refinery relies on Veolia to maintain safe, reliable operations at the treatment plant to ensure that the refinery can continue operating properly.

TRC is a wholly-owned subsidiary of PBF Energy Company of Parsippany, N.J. PBF is one of the leading independent petroleum refiners and suppliers of petroleum-based products in the United States.

Water Treatment Expertise

Fifteen Veolia employees operate and maintain the wastewater treatment plant around the clock. The staff includes a project manager, operations manager, eight operators, a maintenance manager, three maintenance mechanics and an administrative assistant.

Toledo Refining Company's treatment plant recovers 50 percent of the plant's wastewater for reuse in the refining process. By recycling the water, the refinery reduces city water purchases, saving money while conserving water supplies. Photo by Johnny McClung, Veolia Water North America.

Besides operating and maintaining the treatment plant, Veolia also handles discharge orders to the city of Toledo, a comprehensive Title-V air permit, and an NPDES permit for emergency overflow to a local waterway, Otter Creek.

"Toledo Refining makes the fuels, and we make the water clean again so they can reuse it in their processes," said Veolia Project Manager Bryan Zimmerman, who is based at the client's site. "Our plant removes solids and other residues from the water, and our mechanical crew handles day-to-day maintenance so that the refinery can concentrate on their core business."

A key advantage to having Veolia operate the refinery's wastewater treatment system is experience. "With many years of experience operating and maintaining these types of plants, we are able to adapt to changing situations," said Zimmerman. "We can easily adapt and adjust our process chemistry to meet the refinery's needs."

Advanced Technology

All refining processes produce solids and oily wastewater that is pre-treated before being discharged to local, publicly-owned treatment works (POTW). The Veolia-operated wastewater treatment plant receives the wastewater from a dedicated sewer system and treats the water using a variety of advanced technologies.

First, the wastewater is collected and screened to remove solids, including debris. Oil is then removed in an API separator and a dissolved nitrogen flotation system. Next, the water is sent to secondary treatment that consists of aeration to remove residual organics and inorganics, and it is then delivered to a two-train clarification system.

Treated effluent from the clarifiers is split into two "streams." The quality of the effluent is high enough to split a portion for discharge to the city treatment plant and the rest to tertiary treatment, or "polishing," using five sand filters. The polished water is then recycled as "make-up water" for the refinery's cooling towers.

"The quality of the polished water is very important," explained Zimmerman, "because the refinery's cooling towers need clean water to run properly."

Saving Water

Veolia's wastewater treatment plant enables the refinery to reclaim about 50 percent of treated water for reuse. By recycling this water, the refinery reduces city water purchases, saving money while conserving water supplies.

Fifteen Veolia Water employees operate and maintain the wastewater treatment plant around the clock and handle discharge orders to the City of Toledo and all permitting.

The refinery is also looking for more uses for this resource and is working with Veolia on ways to increase the percentage of treated water available for reuse.

According to Aaron Coulter, TRC's area manager, "The refinery is always looking at ways to increase recycling and reuse. Although the treated water currently meets our specifications, in order for us to expand its use, Veolia would have to treat the water to a higher level, which would require further investment."

Safety First

"Veolia employees have an excellent safety record at our plant," said Zimmerman. "Employees from each division are active on the safety committee, and we host monthly safety meetings that everyone attends."

"Our employees are committed to working safely, and their dedication shows," he explained. "In over 14 years at the site, Veolia employees have had only one recordable incident: a sprained ankle. In fact, our employees have earned Veolia's Operation of Excellence Award (OPEX) --the company's highest recognition for working safely."

All About Constant Communication

The success of the wastewater treatment plant's operation is often attributed to constant communication between Veolia and refinery staff, noted Zimmerman. "Although refinery and Veolia personnel hold regular meetings, most communication happens on a real-time basis. This allows us to do a better job controlling processing costs and maintaining water quality on our end."

Coulter, the refinery's area operations manager, agreed that open communication between the two companies' staffs is important. "We give the wastewater plant notice if there are any changes in the refinery, and Veolia wastewater plant personnel do the same for us. The success of our relationship is a combination of people, experience and communication."

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