Shell polymers water treatment plant

Milestone Moments: Raw Water Treatment Plant is Up and Running

Another milestone moment in plant construction, the raw water treatment plant is now fully functional.

By Shell Polymers on May 05, 2021

It was a brisk, wintery Sunday on January 31st in Monaca, PA. To the delight of the production team on-site, the pump roared to life and ran as they started up the water treatment plant for the first time. Years and years of engineering and planning have finally become a reality.

As the construction of our state-of-the-art polyethylene plant continues, the activation of the raw water treatment plant signals significant progress and puts Shell Polymers one step closer to producing high-density polyethylene and linear low-density polyethylene in Beaver County, bringing jobs and engaging the community along this journey.

Operators preparing for start up of the water treatment facility
Operators preparing for start up of the water treatment facility

Joe Lollini, Operations Support Engineer, explains, “This milestone will set off a positive chain reaction, a sequence of events where eventually we’ll get all of the utilities up and running. We’ll get the power generation units up and running, which will produce electricity for the first time. And eventually we’ll start the ethylene cracker unit and the polyethylene units – culminating in Shell Polymers’ very first polyethylene pellet.”

“This milestone sets off a positive chain reaction – culminating in Shell Polymers’ very first polyethylene pellet.” – Joe Lollini, Operations Support Engineer

The Shell Polymers plant will repurpose the Ohio River water on-site to generate steam and provide cooling. The steam will be primarily used to drive turbines that either generate electricity or power compressors, while the cooling capabilities will help remove heat from our systems and control the temperature of equipment and processes.

In order to be used in these capacities throughout the new polyethylene plant, the water from the Ohio River must go through multiple treatment processes, including clarification and filtration. It also goes through further demineralization prior to being used as boiler feed water to generate steam. The strategic decision to invest in a raw water treatment plant is instrumental in bringing polyethylene manufacturing to Beaver County.

The start up of the plant marks an inflection point for the project as the Shell Polymers’ team, in earnest, begins starting operations.

The start up of the plant marks an inflection point for the project as the Shell Polymers’ team, in earnest, begins starting operations.

“Over the last decade, this project came to life,” Huberto Diaz, CSU Lead, excitedly shared about his experience. “Whether you were wearing this red uniform, or you were wearing a craft uniform in the field, everyone was all marching, walking in the same direction to make this a success.”

Starting Up Raw Water Treatment Pennsylvania Chemicals Project

Title: Starting Up Raw Water Treatment Pennsylvania Chemicals Project

Duration: 1:43

Description:

A short video showing the start up of the raw water treatment plant

[Heather Michaux, UGF Deputy CSU & Maintenance Lead speaking]

It was January 31st, the day we actually started it up. Snow, polar vortex, the whole nine yards.

[Scott Thompson, Production Unit Manager, UGF speaking]

The temperatures outside are below freezing, and therefore, starting up a water plant in these conditions can be extremely difficult.

[Huberto Diaz, CSU Lead, UGF speaking]

Everything was ready, and ready to go. You get those butterflies in your stomach.

[Heather Michaux speaking]

You’re like, “OK this is the moment of truth,” right?

[UGF employees speaking over radio]

“I’m ready.”

“Yeah, Roger that. 5-9-3-0-1 Charlie, here comes your start.”

[Heather Michaux speaking]

Hearing the pump start up and then once it stayed on suction and actually ran, all of this work that we put in all of this effort over, literally, years and years that has gone into actually getting to start up real plant equipment…it was an exciting feeling.

[Chad DiStanislao, UGF Operator speaking]

It’s been a long road. There’s been a ton of work to come into this.

[John Platt, Bechtel Senior Project Manager speaking]

Today marks an inflection point for the project as we, in earnest, pivot to starting operations.

[Joe Lollini, UGF Operations Support Engineer speaking]

This milestone will set off a chain reaction, a sequence of events where eventually we’ll get all of the utilities up and running. We’ll get CoGen up and running. We’ll produce electricity for the first time. And eventually we’ll start the ECU and the Polyethylene Units and it will culminate in that very first pellet.

[Huberto Diaz speaking]

Over the last decade, this project came to life. Whether you were wearing this red uniform, or you were wearing a craft uniform in the field, everyone was all marching, walking in the same direction to make this a success.