Spring floods in the Midwest and fall hurricanes in the South in recent years have left devastated industrial plants in the wake of receding waters. John. Puskar, P.E., president of CEC Combustion Services Group in Cleveland, suggests some pre-event considerations and post-event recovery issues that industrial plants should consider for critical fuel-fired equipment.

Puskar notes that the information applies to boilers, industrial ovens and furnaces, thermal oxidizers, and even space heating equipment.

Pre-Event: Design and Installation Considerations

  1. Keep fuel train valves, piping and components as high off the ground as possible.
  2. Make sure that burner-management systems are not obsolete.
  3. Consider NEMA weatherproof control cabinets, even inside.
  4. Keep spare components on site but in protected areas.
  5. Prepare a list of vendors and suppliers for mission-critical components.
  6. Run vent lines outside of the building from all regulators and switches.
  7. Install rental boiler connections.
  8. Install dual fuel systems and or at least connections for backup.
  9. Consider the availability of components used in the fuel train and control systems.
  10. Have all documentation in order, including control and electrical drawings, lists of components, and setpoints for controls.

Post-Event: Dry Out, Inspection, Testing and Recommissioning Issues

  1. Check all vent lines and regulators for water incursion.
  2. Dry out all refractory -- is a critical step.
  3. Pay special attention to control panels and critical components.
  4. Drain water from fuel oil tanks and clean.
  5. Test all safety interlocks.
  6. Check all valves for leakage.
  7. Remove all burners check for corrosion.
  8. Reset and check fuel air ratios.
  9. Check and clean combustion air fans.
  10. Have procedures in place for emergency response when an event may be imminent.
For the full text of an article that further explains these pointers, contact Puskar at JPuskar@Combustionsafety.com.