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A Reinvigorated approach to Operational Safety in the Design of a New Digestion System for Spokane, Washington

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Abstract:

The failure of Digester No. 3 at the Riverside Park Water Reclamation Facility (RPWRF) in Spokane, Washington triggered a host of changes to many aspects of project implementation, as well as daily operation. Planning, design, construction and startup of improvements now emphasize improved communication and collaboration between the design team and plant staff, as well as a heightened awareness of safety. Many components of the new digestion facility, developed by an integrated team comprised of City staff and the design team, are targeted at providing reasonable flexibility and control while eliminating unnecessary system complexity.

The changes to daily procedures are aimed to standardizing processes to ensure staff is armed with the knowledge and training to allow them to take appropriate and consistent action in operations and maintenance of the facility. Enhanced documentation is utilized to facilitate the implementation and practice of these procedures. Documentation also is a key component of the City's active risk management process.

These enhancements can and should be considered as best management practices. Change is always difficult. It requires a commitment from all levels of the team. Management and policy makers must make sure adequate resources are in place, and promote a positive, proactive culture of communication and collaboration in support of staff. Designers must incorporate the needs and concerns of staff, while bringing the best design concepts to the table. Involvement and endorsement at the staff level is key to ensuring that implementation of new facilities, as well as new processes are successful.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2175/193864706783762977

Publication date: January 1, 2006

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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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