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True Grit Doesn’t Need Cowboys: Taking On The Tanks

19 March 2020

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Fans of John Wayne films probably think of True Grit as the story of a drunken, hard-nosed U.S. Marshall and a Texas Ranger helping a stubborn teenager track down her father's murderer, but Kevin Mooney, Waste Water Sector Manager at CDEnviro, knows that grit and stubborn mean something entirely different to those operating industrial tanks. 

Whether those tanks are for sludge holding, storm detentionpumping stationsculverts or anaerobic digestion (AD), grit is a major problem. Along with rag, grit settles in tanks, reducing capacity and decreasing efficiency. Not only that, but the highly abrasive grit causes attrition and wear throughout the process. This means tanks need frequent maintenance and parts need regular replacement 

Call the cavalry 

In our experience, many operators seem to have resigned themselves to the problems caused by grit and often operate a duty/standby approach. With grit made up of a variety of materials, including eggshells, bone, lime, ash and glass – in fact any inert high-density materials – tackling it in a timely and cost-effective manner can seem like an impossible job. However, the good news is it doesn’t have to be that way, increased up-time and greater tank capacities are now possible. You could say the cavalry is at hand.  

Modern screening technology allows tank cleaning to be efficient and cost-effective and can increase the number of truckloads of material processed each day. As an example, one CDEnviro customer screened and dewatered 900 tonnesof grit and rag material in just 10 days from an anaerobic digester using the D:MAX solution. Our tank cleaning equipment is compact enough to be able to run on sites where limited space is an issue, meaning minimal disruption to other business operations 

Tackling grit not only improves tank efficiencies and reduces maintenance and transport costsdue to improved recycling processing less waste is being sent to landfill which saves on increasing landfill costs. As well as this, there is the possibility of recovering products for re-usecreating potential revenue stream to what was once a financial burden​. Maximum dewatering of the extracted material ensures any rag material going to landfill is drier, lighter and easier to manage. The D:MAX can recover up to 90% of grit which has opportunities for re-use in nutrient rich soil or composting additive, backfillpipe bedding and the generation of biosolids.  

Growth in AD market 

With the AD market growing throughout Europe as we move towards more sustainable energy sources, the need for cost-effective cleaning options to maximise tank efficiency and keep plants even more operational is becoming increasingly important. There are almost 5,000 operational AD plants in the UK and over 300 more under development, so this is a significant opportunity 

The cleaning of anaerobic digesters by specialised cleaning contractors is becoming a bigger part of the AD market every year as more plants come online and older plants age. Tank cleaning operators are increasing their uptime and reaping the rewards of increased capabilities by winning more contracts than ever before. 

As the AD market grows, the requirement for cleaning tanks will grow as well. Newer models will require cleaning, probably every four to seven years, and a cleaning contractor must have the right equipment in place to perform the operation to a high standard. 

Getting the job done 

Grit recovery systems are currently most widely used by water utility contractors, but the range of options available, including mobile systems, means that there’s no limit to who they can help Digester tanks and other industrial tanks, can have their capacity and efficiency boosted.    

Like the heroes in the film True Gritthe right grit recovery system has a reputation for getting the job done. 

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