Gas Detection in Wastewater

29 Jan 2015

There are many questions about the right approach to monitoring hazardous gases in the wastewater industry. One way I suggest, is to break it down into three main areas for consideration:

Risk assessment
Risk assessment is critical, as you need to be aware of what you are going to be going into at all times. Therefore you need to understand the applications and identify the risks with regard to all safety aspects. Focusing on gas monitoring, as part of the risk assessment, you need to be clear on what gases may be present. You could consider tubes to provide initial confirmation. However, these provide only a snapshot of the local conditions and are not suitable for personal and plant protection on a continuous basis.

Fit for purpose
There are a variety applications within the water treatment process, giving the need to monitor multiple gases, including carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulphide, chlorine, methane, oxygen, ozone and carbon monoxide. For personal monitoring, a variety of methods exist, including gas detector tubes and personal gas detectors. Each time you enter an area or different application, a separate detector tube is required for each of gas, which is costly. Gas detectors are available for single or multiple (up to five) gas monitoring, making them practical for different applications as well as making sure that, if conditions change (e.g. sludge is stirred up, causing a sudden increase in hydrogen sulphide and flammable gas levels), the user is still protected.

Application
The risk of gas release and/or build up means that gas levels must be permanently monitored in most areas. You will need to consider what is suitable for the application, and this usually means installing fixed detectors, as well as using portable monitors.

Personal protection – Your employees and contractors need protection when working on site, to monitor for the different gases that could be present. This could be for performing a pre-entry check before entering a confined space or to wear throughout the site for ongoing monitoring and protection.

Portable gas detectors are easy to use, rugged and robust, configurable for different applications and have practical storage temperature requirements. They offer you clear audible, vibrating and visual alarms, alerting you to gas hazards without having to look at the detector, including instantaneous alarms for flammable gases and oxygen risks as well as STEL and LTEL alarms for toxic gas risk.

Leak detection – If you have a gas leak, you need to be able to identify where it is coming from. Because gas is most concentrated nearest the leak, you can use specific portable detectors to pin point the area or location where the leak is. This allows you to put in vital maintenance to fix the leak.

Area monitoring – When you know there is likelihood of flammable, toxic or asphyxiation risk in a area, then fixed detection is essential, this will provide protection for your plant and personal, giving instantaneous alarms, both visual and audible. It can also include the functionality to control fans, extraction options, etc.

Gas detection is a serious and complex matter. Cover needs to be provided wherever the risk exists and on an ongoing basis. Circumstances change and a snap shot of the gas hazard conditions is not good enough. Methods to monitor hazards in real time are vital. By considering the risks likely to be present, the means available to monitor them and how they are best employed, you will go a long way to keeping people on your site safe.

Related Crowcon articles:
Detecting gas hazards in the water and wastewater industry
Water and clean water treatment

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