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Execution of RCM-R Project for the Anaerobic Sludge Digestion Process in the Wastewater Treatment Plant

Presenter: Philip Lawlor
Manager, Treatment Plant Maintenance, Regional Municipality of Halton
Azie Seif
Reliability Engineer
Presentation Title: Execution of RCM-R project for the anaerobic sludge digestion process in the wastewater treatment plant (HALTON REGION, ONTARIO, CANADA) Azie Seif, May 27, 2024, Reliability Engineering at Halton Region, Ontario, Canada As part of a comprehensive corporate-wide reliability improvement program, RCM-R analyses were conducted to determine the most appropriate maintenance program to sustain reliable operations for the anaerobic sludge digestion process. The method employed, "Reliability Centered Maintenance – Re-Engineered," is an analysis method based on the standard SAE JA-1011 with several enhancements for compliance with ISO 31000 (Risk Management), 14224 (Reliability Data Interchange), and 55001 (Asset Management). In the context of Reliability Centered Maintenance (RCM), the assessment involves not only identifying the risks associated with each potential failure but also categorizing the risk levels into four classifications: high, medium, low, and acceptable. This classification, determined through a matrix, is crucial for selecting appropriate solutions to mitigate identified risks. The risk figures indicate which failure modes are more critical and hence more likely to have tasks defined. To establish clear system boundaries, inclusions, and exclusions, and to understand the consequences of asset failure in operation and its overall importance to the business, functional block diagrams (see Figure 1 and Figure 2) were developed. Throughout the RCM-R process, the Functional Block Diagram played a pivotal role in examining the operating context and identifying potential failures. Boundaries: Unless otherwise requested, the scope of this RCM-R includes the digester sludge feed system and valve, digester cover safety equipment, digester sludge heating system, primary digester tank, and secondary digester tank. The primary objectives of this process are: • Transfer raw sludge in small quantities and with a maximum interval of 30 to 60 minutes (on a 24-hour basis) to the digester tank. • Transfer the thickened WAS to the digester tanks by the float pumps from the RDT units based on the level in the float sump. • Transfer Primary scum to the digesters on a batch basis based on the scum levels in the scum tanks. • Mixing and heating the sludge inside the primary digesters at a temperature of 35-37 'C to stabilize of sludge and convert it into inert solids, biogas (methane and carbon dioxide), and water. • Controlling the sludge level inside the primary digesters tank in the range of 81.661 m to 81.991 m and Permissive start of feed pumps (raw sludge, scum, and thickened WAS) • Controlling the sludge level inside the overflow box of the primary digester tank and activating the pump to transfer the sludge to the secondary digester tank. • Transferring the sludge from the primary digester tank to the secondary digester tank • Sludge mixing in the secondary digester tank. • Transferring the digested sludge from the secondary digester tank to the dewatering equipment lice centrifuge and belt filter press Figure 1: Functional Block Diagram for the anaerobic sludge digestion process " Figure 2- Functional Block diagram for the Digester tanks (Primary and Secondary) Result: The implementation of RCM-R for the anaerobic sludge digestion process resulted in the identification of 9 Functions, 30 Functional failures, and 86 failure modes were identified. Of these, 21 had safety implications and 11 were hidden failures. In addition, the identified solutions were as follows: • Number of maintenance activities: 96 • Run To Failure: 9
About the Presenter:

Philip Anthony Lawlor is an experienced professional in maintenance and asset management with over 23 years of experience dedicated to private and public sector industries. He holds a Master's Degree in Quality Management, a Post-Baccalaureate Diploma in Innovation Management, and a Specialist Diploma in Lean Systems. Additionally, he is a Certified Asset Management Professional (CAMP) and Assessor (CAMA).

Philip works fulltime as the Manager of Treatment Plant Maintenance at Halton Region, where he is part of a high-performing team responsible for the smooth operation and effective maintenance of water and wastewater treatment plant assets. With his leadership experience as Director of Maintenance and Reliability, Maintenance Management and other leadership positions, Philip brings a wealth of knowledge from a diverse array of industrial sectors across Europe and Canada, providing him with a comprehensive while practical understanding of maintenance, reliability, and asset management principles.

Philip's contributions in the field have earned him recognition from organizations like Engineers Ireland, MEETA, PEMAC Asset Management Association Canada, and others. His work has been acknowledged through awards and publications, which reflect his commitment to sharing best practices and acknowledging the collective efforts of teams.

In addition to his career achievements, Philip actively engages in volunteer work and initiatives aimed at enhancing maintenance, reliability, and asset management practices. Philip is a Board of Director member at PEMAC Asset Management Association of Canada and a part-time research Associate, Maintenance Management and reliability at Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU). Philip understands that the effective implementation of Asset management practices is essential for the long-term sustainability of infrastructure and the well-being of communities relying on them.