I’ve talked a bit in past articles about start-up and commissioning, but this month I’m going to dig a bit deeper into what goes on during this critical part of completing a water infrastructure project. In my experience, it is nearly always true that, with all the effort to design and build water infrastructure, there tends to be an intensity toward the end of the project to getting it up and running. There is contractual pressure for the contractor to meet a substantial completion milestone; and, depending on the type of project or the owner’s needs, there can also be critical operation conditions which drive the need to complete the work. As a result, it requires an “all hands — all senses” approach, working overtime to maintain the energy needed to get the project through this phase and fully completed.
Starting the handoff — Trying to take this all in
Planning is the key when beginning to think about starting up a facility. Depending on the scale of what has been constructed this could be a highly complicated electrical/mechanical/biological facility. It could be a brand-new facility or systems that must integrate with an existing facility. Even something as simple (conceptually) as a gravity sewer pipeline may require careful consideration to tie into existing infrastructure, operate bypass pumping, and maintain safe conditions. Disruption avoidance is a major focus of the planning effort, right alongside carefully mapping out the steps needed to take separate pieces of equipment that have been installed but not activated and turn them into a fully functioning facility.