RICHLAND, Wash. – EM Office of River Protection (ORP) tank operations contractor Washington River Protection Solutions (WRPS) is installing a new wastewater filter system at the Effluent Treatment Facility (ETF) to increase waste processing throughput, improve efficiency, and save money as the Hanford Site gears up to treat tank waste.
The new ultrasonic filtering system will replace the existing filters and will remove solids from wastewater before the treatment processes. This system will play a key supporting role in the Direct Feed Low-Activity Waste (DFLAW) approach — a system of highly interdependent and integrated projects and infrastructure improvements that must operate successfully together to vitrify tank waste, which means to immobilize it in glass.
“The new filters will prevent interruptions to effluent processing and save taxpayer dollars,” said Richard Valle, EM program representative for the facility. “This will be particularly important during tank waste treatment operations, as the Effluent Treatment Facility will treat an estimated 5 million gallons of wastewater per year from the Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant, where the vitrification process takes place.”
The ETF’s current single-use filters are effective but must be replaced after less than 12 hours of use. During a normal processing campaign, about 40 of the current filter units — some 720 filters — must be replaced. Replacement is labor intensive, requiring a shutdown of processing for four hours, and the annual cost of new filters is significant.
“The new system can be back-flushed and cleaned ultrasonically,” said Paul Townson, an ETF project engineer for the contractor. “The three-module system allows operators to flush or replace one module while the other two continue operating, so there will be little to no interruption of operations.”
The filters in the new system are designed to last a minimum of five years, generating significant savings and eliminating downtime. Fabrication of the new filtration system will begin this spring.
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