Petroleum refineries require a reliable supply of fresh water for steam generation, process cooling, product manufacturing, and other purposes. Because fresh water is becoming more valuable in many parts of the world, many locations have undertaken to reclaim and reuse waters for cooling, steam generation, and process use . Bresnahan  presented two case studies that illustrate some of the technical challenges that were encountered when reusing water in refining and petrochemical complexes. One case was use of reclaimed municipal wastewater for most of the cooling towers at Mobil's Torrance Refinery in Los Angeles County, CA, which began in 1995. After working with chemical suppliers to formulate an appropriate treatment program together with optimization and continuous improvements, the reuse program has been operating successfully.
Another case involves the 300,000 bpd Chevron refinery in the San Francisco Bay Area. It is the largest user of potable water in the area . Nearly half of the refinery's water demand (23,000 m3/day) is used as makeup water in the cooling towers. The water utility identified the potential water reuse for this application in 1979. A pilot plant testing program was completed in 1987, which demonstrated that using lime/soda ash softening treatment on secondary effluent would produce a consistently high-quality reclaimed water for use as makeup water in the refinery's cooling towers. A full-scale plant (23,000 m3/day) was completed in 1995. Figure 20 shows a process flow schematic of the reclamation plant. Secondary effluent from the WWTP is stored in a 6400 m3 equalization tank. The influent is pumped to two 17 m diameter solids contact clarifiers after chemical treatment with lime/soda ash. The clarifier overflow is pH adjusted and filtered by four deep-bed, continuous-backwash sand filtration units. The filter effluent is disinfected by sodium hypochlorite for 90 minutes before being pumped to the refinery. The sludge from the clarifiers is thickened in two 10.7 m diameter thickeners and dewatered by a plate and frame filter press with 1.5 m plates.
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