Clean Harbors

Chemical cleaning is cost-effective, efficient


Courtesy of Courtesy of Clean Harbors

Chemical cleaning is an important offering within Clean Harbors’ portfolio of industrial cleaning/maintenance services for refineries, petrochemical processors and other process manufacturers. Along with high-pressure cleaning, pigging, Tech Sonic sound wave cleaning and other technologies, chemical leaning is a safe, efficient and cost-effective way to remove corrosion, deposits, residual oils/greases and other obtrusive contaminants.

Pre-planning is key — As a fullline provider of cleaning services and hazardous materials removal/disposal for refineries and petrochemical processors, Clean Harbors objectively identifies the most economical, practical and efficient approach to give each customer optimal results.

The recommendation is ultimately based on a combination of sample analysis, expertise based on similar projects and the maintenance/cleaning history of the equipment. In addition to the composition of the deposits, the analysis includes the piping/equipment design, metallurgy, on-site logistics, on-site waste processing capabilities, proximity of off-site processing facilities and turnaround constraints before recommending the most appropriate cleaning technology.

Chemical cleaning is often the preferred method since it can remove 100 percent of the deposits, requires little mechanical prep work and no equipment disassembly, and delivers turnaround times that are often measured in hours rather than days.

Chemical cleaning treatments — Clean Harbors deploys a range of chemical cleaning equipment including chemical blending/circulating units, filtration units, external heating units, heat exchangers, injection units and high-volume pumping equipment. Several chemical solutions are used such as alkaline/solvent washes for hydrocarbon sludge removal from process equipment, acid/chelant treatment for scale build-up on the inside of pipes and tubes in boilers or cooling water service, and safe and nontoxic surfactant-based chemistry for degassing. The selection of the chemistry is a combination of cleaning efficacy, on-site treatment capabilities and cost efficiency.

On-site processing — Clean Harbors’ portable boilers and heat exchangers improve cleaning project efficiency by processing generated waste on site. Waste can be conditioned during or after the cleaning process for reuse or to meet the on-site treatment capabilities of customers. The conditioning may involve pretreating the waste, diluting it or controlling the rate at which it is added to the normal plant waste stream.

Benefits of chemical cleaning — Clean Harbors and process manufacturers find chemical cleaning is often the preferred method to quickly return process equipment and pipelines to optimal efficiency. It makes sense for a wide range of equipment across several industrial settings and processes. It is often the most economical approach to process equipment cleaning and delivers the fastest turnaround.

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