June 2003

Special Report: Process/Plant Optimization

Optimize sour water treatment

This checklist details several common problems associated with sour-water strippers and the workarounds to correct them

Armstrong, T., John M. Campbell & Co.

Is boiling water trivial? How challenging is it to boil sour water? Operation of a sour-water stripper (SWS) is not simply boiling water. The stripper is operated to remove ammonia (NH3) and hydrogen sulfide (H2S), avoid sending hydrocarbons to the Claus unit, and thereby prevent fouling of trays and plugging the overhead system. These conditions must be accomplished while also complying with stringent wastewater effluent regulations and avoiding negative impacts on the sulfur unit through excessive overhead temperatures. Despite these potential pitfalls, the SWS is generally ignored until a major problem occurs. We will

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