How OWM takes the risk out of water management (Part 2)

How OWM takes the risk out of water management (Part 2)


In part one, Russell Caldwell, Director and Technical Consultant at OWM covered three of the six elements that ensure a safe, efficient and compliant water management program. Following on from that he looks to monitoring, the importance of record keeping and finally, review.


Part 4. Monitoring

Regardless of how robust the control measures, there is always the opportunity for failure through equipment breakdown, system changes or simply human error. It is therefore important that sites have a monitoring regime to track when things are right and when they are not.

In addition, a good monitoring regime provides complete confidence in the selected control measures. It also helps us to understand the controls better and creates opportunity to increase their efficiency and effectiveness.

Monitoring will come down to two key elements: monitoring to ensure controls are in place and monitoring to measure the controls in place are working. In order to monitor the controls are in place we must understand the control parameters we are trying to achieve.

For example, in a temperature regime we check that cold water temperatures are less than 20°C and hot water temperatures are hotter than 60°C. When using chlorine, the levels should be between 0.2-0.5 ppm. As pH has a direct link to the effectiveness of a chlorine regime, this would also be measured.

It is worth mentioning that when measuring the likes of chlorine or pH, one is less interested in precision and more interested in trends. Knowing that the chlorine level has changed from 0.21-0.22 or that a pH level is 7.952 has little benefit in this application. We simply need to be able to tell that the levels are within the required ranges. This should be kept in mind when choosing field equipment.

As well as monitoring that control levels are in place, we must also monitor that these controls are having the required effect. In nearly all cases, this involves bacterial monitoring.

Historically, bacterial monitoring involved sampling and forwarding samples onto a suitable laboratory. Although not necessarily incorrect, the limitations of this type of monitoring should be understood. When carrying out bacterial analysis, the time from sampling to analysis is all-important. As soon as the sample is taken, conditions of the sample will alter. To be most effective, analysis should take place as soon after sampling as possible, ideally in the field. Over recent years several simple in-field tests have been produced that will allow this.

As well as avoiding the problems associated with external sampling and analysis, field-testing has additional advantages. Through field-testing there is no more requirement for co-ordinating sampling with helicopters or port calls. A quicker turnaround in results allows us to speed up the initiation of corrective action, should it be required. It will then allow for verification by re-checking that corrective action has worked.

Part 5. Records

A very simple element within the management program but no less important, record keeping will allow the company to demonstrate to clients, authorities and others that control is being met and that the management program is in place and effective.

Through record keeping the company can also begin to trend results and start to compare one set of results to another. Are the results consistent throughout the year? Is there the same control across all assets? Are there differences across regions? By keeping complete and accurate records the company will then be able to benefit from the information gained allowing it to maintain or perhaps improve its overall control approach.

Part 6. Review

The final element of the management program is a review mechanism. A review system should always be in place in order to confirm that the objectives of the program are being met. It will also ensure its effectiveness, identify any changes and allow opportunity to improve. A formal review should be carried out annually however regular mini reviews are also advised.

So, there you have it… six elements that ensure a safe, efficient and compliant water management program. Unfortunately, there are still situations offshore where water is not as good as it should be. The six-element approach should go some way to towards helping you to mitigate risk in managed water and develop and managing a water management programme that is safe, compliant and fit for purpose.