Author(s): Javiera Córdova, Jose M. Adriasola V.
Linked Author(s): José M. Adriasola V.
Keywords: Spills; Slurry; Pump; Sump; Design guidelines;
Abstract: All industrial facilities use different liquids in their processes, therefore there is an inherent risk of having liquid spills during operations and maintenance tasks. “Minor liquid spills” are defined as those with relatively low total volume and occurring with high frequency during operations and maintenance (e.g. washing the floor surface using water hoses or replacing pipe spools). For handling these “minor spills” it is common practice to have small sumps with pumps located at low points in the floor, so the liquid and solid particles (if any) would flow towards the sump due to gravity. The pump is then used to transport the liquid and solids stored in the sump back to the process or to a treatment facility or to some other destination point. The pump typically works automatically, it starts and stops depending on the liquid level in the sump, which is measured by a liquid level sensor set up with low and high level. These systems are usually overlooked, since they are considered too small, simple and inexpensive in comparison with other major systems in the industrial facility; however, they can easily become a “stone in the shoe” for the operators. The motivation for writing this paper comes from lessons learned over the last few years regarding the performance of small sumps with pumps for handling “minor spills” in mining facilities. This paper presents a detailed analysis of these systems in different scenarios and, regarding on the results, proposes some key practical design recommendations to minimize the chances of having some problems observed in the recent past. Some key variables included in the analyses are: input hydrograph, sump’s total storage volume, general characteristics of the pump, discharge pipe’s length and diameter, and solids particle distribution expected in the slurry spilled.