Ecolab’s Nalco Plant in Garyville seeks re-certification as water stewardship leader

Published 3:03 pm Saturday, September 24, 2022

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GARYVILLE —  Ecolab’s Nalco Water Garyville site located in Garyville will be pursuing re-certification for the Alliance for Water Stewardship.

Since 2019, the AWS standard has empowered the Garyville site with a five-step framework to address site-related water challenges and manage risk.

The Garyville facility is a reaction plant that primarily produces water treatment chemical blends and polymers. Process water is pulled directly from the Mississippi River and treated on site.

The facility is Ecolab’s second largest water user and relies on potable water from St. John’s Parish, which sources water from the Lions Water Treatment plant pulling from the Mississippi River. Wastewater is treated on site and discharged directly to the Mississippi River, while stormwater is discharged to the Garyville canal which drains to Lake Maurepas.

The team at Ecolab’s Garyville plant assessed the facility for opportunities to decrease water use across operations to meet the team’s objective to reduce water use per ton of product by 32% from its 2016 baseline by 2020. Water reduction opportunities were identified in the following areas: condensate return, cooling tower optimization, demineralizer regeneration, wastewater recycle, production campaigning, sand filter backwashing and washout optimization. Prioritization of these opportunities involved collaboration across the Nalco Water Commercial Engineering, Corporate Sustainability and Garyville Engineering and Safety, Health and Environment (SHE) teams.

Feasibility studies were performed to chart the water reduction impact, capital and operating cost of solutions. Ecolab’s Water Risk Monetizer was also utilized to understand the water risk at the plant. Implementation of water reduction projects was prioritized throughout the plant to achieve savings. Of the five water outcomes of the AWS Standard, Garyville focused on sustainable water balance, good water quality status and important water related areas (IWRA) balancing relevancy and risk to the site.

The solutions below contributed to the Garyville plant’s progress toward its 32% water reduction goal. The following projects help improve the facility’s water balance and have been completed to reduce overall water use:

  • Reuse of sand filter backwash to reduce the plant’s intake of river water by 12% of overall water use
  • Reduction of washouts from campaigning in the latex area to reduce water use by 2%
  • Standardization of washout times for railcars and reaction vessels resulting in a 2.5% reduction of overall water use
  • Recovery of spent caustic from deionized water unit regenerations resulting in a savings of 2,000 gallons per day
  • Restroom upgrades, including waterless urinals to reduce potable water use by 0.5%
  • Pilot study on a full plant recycling system that could recover up to 45% of the site’s wastewater

The following projects are ongoing:

  • Condensate recovery, with the goal of recovering 70-80% of all condensate on-site
  • Cooling tower replacement
  • Vessel washout standardization and optimization
  • Pump seal flush replacements and pump seal pot installation
  • Multiple small recycle streams throughout the plant including reuse of the plant’s cooling tower blowdown

To maintain good water quality of both process water and wastewater, internal daily water testing is carried out in addition to weekly third-party wastewater testing to comply with Garyville’s wastewater permit. The plant has a strict testing regimen and detailed environmental spill emergency response plan which were further strengthened through AWS Standard implementation. Because the water is directly discharged to the Mississippi River, efforts in achieving good water quality status help contribute to the health of the most important IWRA in the Garyville facility’s catchment.

Ecolab also participates bimonthly in the Community Action Panel (CAP), a group created by Nalco Water and Marathon in 1996 to engage local stakeholders, including local business and community members, on water-related issues. Ecolab continually shares its AWS journey with CAP and seeks feedback on practices in the five outcome areas of the AWS Standard.

Moreover, the Ecolab Foundation supports the Loch Leven project in partnership with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) to restore and enhance 10,000 wetland acres and provide 12.1 billion gallons of flood storage capacity to local communities.

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