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Shipping Container Equipment Enclosures Help the Unsung Heroes of Water Treatment

Paige Welsh
Sep 27, 2017
Shipping Container Equipment Enclosures Help the Unsung Heroes of Water Treatment

The connection between flushing toilets and water treatment is fairly obvious, but what does flicking a light switch have to do with clean water? Many people don’t realize that water treatment is closely intertwined with power plants. When coal combustion creates hazardous waste, energy companies use shipping containers to move water treatment equipment to the cleanup site.

The corrosive and sometimes toxic wastewater can harm human health and eco-systems if improperly contained or left untreated.  Water treatment plants can’t just sit at the end of our drains; they sometimes need to travel across the nation. Whenever expensive equipment must be packed up and sent on the road, a shipping container solution is worth considering.

Aerial view of coal ash ponds. Licensed under iStock.

Aerial view of a coal ash pond. Licensed from iStock.

WesTech, a Falcon Structures customer, specializes in creating water treatment equipment, including the filtration systems that energy companies use to clean coal ash ponds. When coal is incinerated in a power plant, bits of debris, referred to as coal ash, are left over. The least expensive way to dispose of this debris is to add liquid to create a slurry, and then drain the slurry into a man-made pond. Unfortunately, if the power plant hasn’t lined the bottom of the pond with a non-permeable barrier, the liquid from the slurry will seep into the ground below.

Imagine lining a small hole in the ground with a coffee filter and filling that filter with soggy coffee grounds. Some of the coffee will evaporate, but a significant amount will leach into the earth below. Similarly, the slurry of ash ponds leaches acidic liquid that can reach groundwater. This seepage carries toxic substances including arsenic, which can cause cancer and skin lesions, if it reaches a drinking water supply.

Coal ash slurry can leach toxins into ground water.Proper filtration technology can remove dangerous substances like arsenic from the liquid in ash ponds and neutralize the acidity. However, the ash pond cleaning process is sensitive. As many chemists will testify, running a delicate procedure in an uncontrolled and unenclosed environment is nearly impossible. Requirements for water treatment equipment enclosures include:

1) Climate control to keep equipment within a set temperature range.
2) Draining floors for spilled liquids.
3) Openings just large enough to let water and utilities into the enclosure.
4) Protection from weather and intruders.

Water filtration equipment is protected and mobile inside a shipping container equipment enclosure.

Containerization is a natural fit. A growing number of WesTech’s energy clients request modified shipping containers as enclosures for water treatment equipment. This helps them avoid the costs of building enclosures only to abandon them when the system is transported to the next site. Relocating the equipment and the shipping container enclosure as a single unit is also easier and creates less downtime than dissembling and reassembling the filtration set-up at each location.

Filtration system lines interior of shipping container equipment enclosure.

Filtration equipment lines the interior of a modified shipping container.

Falcon works with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) across several industries to containerize their operations. We have the experience to address the specific needs of their technology. We have adopted features such as drainage systems, spill-proof floors, heavy-duty climate control systems, and custom utility pass-throughs. Our new guide, “How Containerized Water Treatment Equipment Enclosures Improve Efficiencies” goes into depth about this work and the benefits modular equipment enclosures have provided the industry.

Sure, water treatment doesn’t sound glamorous at first, but it’s important. Everyone drinks water, and we think that’s reason enough to get excited about expediting the water treatment industry’s efforts to keep us healthy.

You can learn more by downloading and reading our guide.

Download our guide, How Containerized Water Treatment Equipment Enclosures Improve Efficiencies.

If you have questions about using a modified shipping container to protect your equipment, contact us. You can always call our expert sales reps at 877-704-0177.  We’re happy to provide a free, no-obligation quote for your project. 

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