The great American anthropologist Loren Eiseley once said, “If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water.” Using water is demanded by many industrial processes, from crude oil desalting to FCCUs, cokers, steam generators, reactor jackets and cooling towers. And let us not forget, water is the most critical element for firefighting and fire protection systems. Ensuring availability of adequate fire water in process units, storage tanks, loading racks and administration buildings is paramount to continuing successful operations.
Most refining and petrochemical locations are sited near or along navigable waterways or seaports. When a natural water source is not nearby, dependability on reliable municipal or well water supply were key contributing factors for determining site locations.
But what do we do when a well has dried up? What is the plan when a scheduled outage or unforeseen event impairs your ability to provide adequate water supply? What about when a power failure renders electric fire water pumps inoperable and compromises plant protection? During the recent “big freeze” on the Gulf Coast, we witnessed the weather wreak havoc and disrupt critical water supply for plant operations.
I recently spoke with a refinery fire chief who provided an interesting real-life example. While fighting a 270-foot crude oil tank fire, members discovered that two of the three electric fire water pumps failed to operate upon startup, and the third pump failed within the first half-hour. To add insult to injury, when they deployed two-backup diesel-driven pumps, the pumps failed within minutes of operation because of a lack of preventive maintenance. The fire chief had to call for assistance from another company hours away. Worst-case scenarios like this may seem “crazy as a soup sandwich,” but they aren’t. Teams must prepare for these scenarios, and key personnel must know where to source external equipment.
At US Fire Pump, we design and manufacture industrial pumps and equipment for creating temporary water systems. US Fire Pump’s boost pump can provide pumping capacity where current water pumps have failed. During scheduled water outages or unforeseen events that interrupt water supply, teams can deploy submersible pumps ranging from 3,000 gallons per minute (gpm) to 20,000 gpm into a nearby static source for supply to existing or supplemental pumps. The systems can operate manually or autonomously whenever the demand for water is needed using US Fire Pump’s engineered “smart” technology.
For maintenance outages or replacement of underground sections of water piping, we can provide large-diameter hose for jumps from hydrant to hydrant and easy connections to existing hydrants or feeds with our custom-built manifolds.
US Fire Pump employs an in-house engineering team for design assistance for your planned or unplanned temporary fire water system. In challenging water scenarios, we can deploy over six miles of industrial large diameter hose or mobilize and flow over 100,000 gpm with our world-class standby equipment during emergencies. US Fire Pump’s 24/7 emergency response team of engineers and firefighting specialists are ready to respond when duty calls.