F. E. Weymouth Filtration Plant - Executive Summary

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The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWDSC) distributes drinking water to member water agencies throughout Southern California.  MWDSC provides approximately 60 percent of the drinking water used by nearly 16 million people living on the southern California coastal plain between Ventura County and the Mexican border. 
Disinfection is a critical process used by MWDSC in the treatment of its drinking water.  Disinfection helps to protect public health by killing pathogens in the water and preventing the spread of waterborne diseases.  The use of chlorine as a disinfectant in the treatment of drinking water and wastewater has been the dominant disinfection method in the United States since it was introduced, around the beginning of this century.  MWDSC currently utilizes bulk chlorine for disinfection at all of its water treatment plants, including the F.E. Weymouth Water Filtration Plant (WFP). 
As one might expect from its superior disinfection properties, chlorine is 
a hazardous substance.  Thus, storing and handling chlorine can present a risk to employees and the public without proper precautions.  MWDSC regards safe practices in the storing and usage of chlorine to be of primary importance and has an excellent safety record with chlorine. 
The WFP's chlorine storage and usage process is subject to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Risk Management Program Rule (RMPR) and also to the California Accidental Release Prevention (CalARP) Program regulation.  Both of these regulations require submission of a Risk Management Plan (RMP).  An integral part of the RMP is a summary of policies and procedures followed to safely operate the facility, including a description of the possible consequences in case of an accident and the actions, which will be taken, by the facility in an emergency. 
The following information is specifically required in the RMP Executive Summary:  
7 Accidental release prevention and emergency response policies. 
7 Gene 
ral facility and regulated substances information. 
7 Offsite consequence analysis results. 
7 Summary of the accidental release prevention program and chemical-specific prevention steps. 
7 Five-year accident history summary. 
7 Emergency response program summary. 
7 Planned changes to improve safety. 
The above information for the WFP Chlorination System is provided below. 
Accidental Release Prevention and Emergency Response Policies 
The MWDSC accidental release prevention policy for chlorine involves a unified approach that integrates proven technology, trains staff in operation and maintenance practices, and uses tested and proven management system practices.  All applicable procedures of the State of California and EPA's RMP Prevention Program are adhered to, including key elements such as training, systems management, and emergency response procedures. 
In addition, all MWDSC chlorine systems have undergone a high priority evaluation for Y2K readiness.  They will be Y2K compliant by 
July 31, 1999, though no Y2K problems are anticipated. 
The MWDSC emergency response policy for chlorine involves the preparation of integrated contingency plans, which address emergency response for hazardous materials and are tailored to each facility.  These plans integrate with the emergency response services available in the community and are in compliance with the RMPR and CalARP Program Emergency Response Program Requirements.  WFP has prepared an Emergency Response Plan for Hazardous Materials to facilitate coordination and emergency planning with offsite response officials and facilities in the event of an emergency.  This emergency response plan is being  coordinated with local response agencies (Los Angeles County Fire Department).  WFP has an excellent safety record with 50 years of chlorine use. 
General Facility and Regulated Substance Information 
The MWDSC F.E. Weymouth Filtration Plant is located at 700 North Moreno Avenue, in La Verne, California.  The plant is situa 
ted just east of Interstate Highway 210 and south of State Highway 30, covering approximately 140 acres.  The plant was built in 1940 to treat drinking water, including disinfection with chlorine.  It was designed to process 520 million gallons of water a day (520 mgd).  The facility currently stores and uses chlorine, a regulated toxic substance under the EPA and CalARP Program rules.  Chlorine is received at the WFP in a covered unloading area (Bldg. 5) just east of the Administration Building. The chlorine evaporators, chlorinators, and ejectors are located in the chlorine room, which is on the second floor of the Administration Building.  The chlorine storage and use at the WFP is subject to EPA and CalARP rules, as well as the federal and California Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Process Safety Management (PSM) Standards.   
The chlorine unloading area, near the Administration Building is continuously monitored in the control room by video camera and chlorine 
leak detectors.  Chlorine leak sensors are also provided in the chlorine room and chlorine vent boxes, located outside the building.  The alarms are annunciated at the chlorine alarm panel as well as at the operator's console in the control room.  Once alerted, fully trained personnel will respond to assess the chlorine leak.  In addition, each storage vessel valve connecting to the process, is provided with a remotely actuated (pneumatic) emergency shutoff system.  In case of a major chlorine leak, chlorine supply can be stopped almost instantaneously by closing the shutoff system from any of the three control panels: unloading platform, chlorine room, or control room.  Emergency showers and eye wash stations are also provided in the chlorine unloading area and near the chlorine room. 
The chlorine pressure reducing valves, leak detectors, and computer control system are connected to unninterruptible power supply (UPS) system.  In the event power is lost at the chlorination facility, 
an alarm will alert the control room.  The filtration plant has an emergency generator system, which provides backup power to run the filtration plant in the event of a power failure.   
The control room at the plant is manned 24 hours a day, year round.  Access to the plant is through guarded security gates, which are closed after regular hours. 
Offsite Consequence Analysis Results 
The offsite consequence analysis includes consideration of two chlorine release scenarios, identified as "worst-case release scenario" and "alternative release scenario". The first scenario is defined by EPA, which states that "the owner or operator shall assume that the ... maximum quantity in the largest vessel ... is released as a gas over 10-minutes," due to an unspecified failure. The alternative scenario is defined as  
"more likely to occur than the worst-case release scenario". 
For the worst-case as well as alternative release scenarios, the released liquid chlorine is assumed to form a denser-th 
an-air cloud consisting of chlorine vapor and liquid droplets (aerosols) which disperse in the atmosphere.  The distances to the toxic endpoints were estimated using the EPA's RMP*Comp software (version 1.06).  The toxic endpoint selected by EPA and CalARP rules for chlorine is 3 ppm, which is the Emergency Response Planning Guideline Level 2 (ERPG-2).  The toxic endpoint was conservatively set by EPA to ensure public notification and that local emergency response planning takes into account the greatest possible impacted area surrounding the release point. EPA-mandated meteorological conditions, namely atmospheric Stability Class F, wind speed of 1.5 meter per second, highest daily maximum temperature (77 deg F), and average relative humidity (50%) were used for the worst-case release scenario analysis.  No passive mitigation or administrative controls were considered for the worst-case release scenario.  The results of the dispersion analysis indicate that the worst-case release scen 
ario has offsite impacts. 
RMP and CalARP rules require that a scenario which results in offsite toxic endpoint distance and is more likely to occur than the worst-case scenario should be selected as the alternative release scenario, unless no such scenario exists.  Unlike the worst-case scenario, the alternative release scenario may consider "active" mitigation such as automatic shutoff valves, excess flow valves, and containment with scrubbers.  Active mitigation is defined as requiring mechanical, electrical, or human input. 
The alternative release scenarios must consider the facility accident history and/or failure scenarios identified in the process hazard analysis.  A review of the past five-year accident history data for the chlorination facility pursuant to these rules indicated that there were no such chlorine releases, which could have resulted in offsite (outside the WFP boundary) toxic endpoint distances.  Similarly, no credible accident scenario was identified from the pr 
ocess hazard analysis, where a release would reach offsite.  Thus, an acceptable/credible alternative release scenario had to be selected based on expert judgement.  
The alternative release scenario selected involves the release of chlorine from the monel flexible hose connecting the chlorine storage vessel to the chlorination process.  This scenario can occur if the operator uses a flex hose which is worn or has a defect, resulting in a crack during withdrawal of chlorine from the chlorine storage vessel. It is assumed that the crack developed in the flex hose (diameter 1-inch) corresponds to a hole of 0.1875-inch (3/16-inch) diameter.  If such a leak were to occur, the control room would be immediately warned by the chlorine monitors installed at the facility.  It is assumed that approximately fifteen minutes would be required for an emergency response team to be notified, don personal protective equipment, and evaluate the situation.  Then the emergency response team or the operato 
r would activate the remote controlled shutoff actuator and immediately close the valve at the chlorine storage vessel (chlorine flow from storage is stopped in approximately 3 seconds after the activation of remote controlled shutoff actuator).  The activation of the shutoff actuator is considered as an active mitigation.  This will reduce the total quantity of chlorine released to the atmosphere during an accident. 
It may be noted that the occurrence of this scenario is highly unlikely because the flex hose is carefully inspected during each connection/disconnection operation, and during operator rounds, once each shift.  In addition, under the WFP preventive maintenance schedule, the flex hoses are replaced at least every two years (more frequently than recommended by the manufacturer).   
The alternative release scenario toxic endpoint distance was also estimated using the RMP*Comp (version 1.06) software.  Toxic endpoint for chlorine is 3 ppm.  EPA suggested typical meteorologica 
l conditions used were Stability Class D, wind speed of 3.0 meter per second, average air temperature of 77 deg F, and average relative humidity of 50 percent.  The results of the dispersion analysis indicated that the alternative release scenario has offsite impacts. 
Finally, no chlorine releases that could have caused safety or health hazard (no deaths, injuries, property or environmental damage, evacuations, or sheltering in place) occurred at the WFP during the last five years.   
Summary of the Accidental Release Prevention Program and Chemical-Specific Prevention Steps 
WFP complies with Federal and State Process Safety Management requirements.  WFP accidental release prevention program is based on the following key elements: 
7 Detailed management system and clear levels of responsibilities and team member roles. 
7 Comprehensive process safety information that is readily available to staff, emergency responders, and contractors. 
7 Comprehensive preventive maintenance program. 
Performance of process hazard analysis of equipment and procedures with operation and maintenance staff participation and review. 
7 Use of state-of-the-art process and safety equipment. 
7 Use of accurate and effective operating procedures, written with the participation of the operators. 
7 High level of training of the operators and maintenance staff. 
7 Implementation of an incident investigation, inspection, and auditing program using qualified staff. 
Chemical-specific prevention steps include availability of self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA), worn by the operators during connection/disconnection of chlorine supply, awareness of the hazardous and toxic properties of chlorine, presence of chlorine detectors and alarms, and remotely controlled shutoff device on the chlorine storage vessel. 
Process and Chemical Safety Information 
Comprehensive chemical data have been assembled to include regulatory reporting and action thresholds, health hazard, and chemical exposure limitatio 
ns, as well as detailed physical properties of chlorine.  This information includes chlorine background information and MSDS sheets. 
Equipment safety information was meticulously compiled on the chlorine process.  Specifications for chlorine process are collected and provided in one place for easy reference. Details such as maximum intended inventory; safe upper and lower temperatures; safe upper and lower pressures; and codes and standards used to design, build, and operate the processes are on file at the facility.  WFP also has procedures in place that are triggered to update process safety information if there is a major change that makes existing information inaccurate. 
Process Hazard Analysis  
In 1992 and 1995, detailed process hazard analyses (PHAs) were conducted for the chlorination system equipment and procedures.  The PHAs were further reviewed in September 1998 and will be updated again within a five-year period or whenever there is major change in the process.  A list o 
f recommended actions were developed in September 1998 to further improve the chlorine safety and staff is currently evaluating these recommendations.  Staff will document the completion of recommended actions. 
A seismic walkthrough was recently completed based on Region 1 LEPC CalARP Guidance, and recommendations were provided to WFP staff for their evaluation and implementation. 
In addition, all MWDSC chlorine systems have undergone a high priority evaluation for Y2K readiness.  They will be Y2K compliant by July 31, 1999, though no Y2K problems are anticipated. 
Operating Procedures 
WFP maintains up-to-date, accurate, written operating procedures that provide clear instructions for the chlorine process.  The WFP ensures effective operating practices by combining them with operating and maintenance training programs.  Standard operating procedures (SOPs) provide system descriptions, specifications, equipment inspection requirements, and operating procedures for the chlorine system 
.  The operating procedures include connection/disconnection for chlorine storage vessel, start-up and shutdown for chlorine evaporators, after maintenance start-up for chlorine evaporators, maintenance shutdown for chlorine evaporators, start-up and shutdown for ejectors, start-up and shutdown for chlorinators, chlorine system emergency shutdown, start-up following an emergency shutdown, and temporary operations.  Also included are the maintenance and troubleshooting procedures, including consequences of deviation and the steps to correct or avoid deviations.  WFP updates procedures whenever a change occurs that alters the steps needed to operate safely.  Operating procedures will be developed and put in place prior to any new process equipment coming on line or changes made in the handling of chlorine equipment, and reconfiguration of the facilities. 
WFP employees presently involved in operating or maintaining the chlorine process are trained in an overview of the process 
and detailed applicable operating and maintenance procedures. WFP ensures that each employee newly assigned to the process, is trained and tested to be competent in the operating procedures listed pertaining to their duties.  WFP training program includes four elements: (1) initial training and awareness training, (2) refresher training, (3) documentation, and (4) and testing.  Each employee presently involved in operating the chlorine process has been trained to receive the required knowledge, skills, and abilities to safely carry out the duties and responsibilities, including chlorine emergency response, as provided in the operating procedures.   
Refresher training is provided every three years or less to each employee operating the covered process to ensure that the employee understands and adheres to the current operating procedures.  In addition, the WFP ensures that operators are trained in any updated or new procedures prior to startup of a process after a major change as indi 
cated in their Management of Change and/or Pre Startup Safety Review procedures. 
WFP prepares and retains records of initial and refresher training, which includes the identity of the employee, the date of training, and the signature of the person (s) administering the training. 
WFP has procedures and policies in place that ensure that the contractors are properly informed of the hazards, access limitations to these process areas, and emergency response procedures, and are prepared to safely complete the work.  The contractors are informed, prior to the initiation of the work at the site, of the applicable provisions of the emergency response plan.  WFP holds contractor safety briefings before allowing them near or in the process area; controls access to the process areas, and evaluates the contractor's safety performance. 
Pre-Startup Safety Review and Mechanical Integrity Program 
WFP ensures that a pre-startup safety review is completed for any new process covered by  
this regulation, or for significant modifications to an existing covered process that requires a change in the process safety information.  WFP maintains the mechanical integrity of process equipment to help prevent equipment failures that could endanger workers, the public, or the environment.  WFP mechanical integrity program includes the following: 
7 Written procedures for maintaining mechanical integrity through inspection and testing of process equipment, based on instructions of equipment vendors, industry codes and practice, and prior operating experience. 
7 Implementation of the written procedures by performing inspections and tests on process equipment at specified intervals. 
7 Training of maintenance personnel in preventive maintenance program procedures; safe work practices such as lockout/tagout, line or equipment opening, and avoidance and correction of unsafe conditions; and safe use and application of special equipment and/or unique tools. 
Hot Work Permits and Manageme 
nt of Change  
WFP requires employees and contractors to employ safe work practices when performing "hot work" in, on, or around the covered process.  WFP uses a permitting and training program to ensure hot work is monitored and conducted safely on or near a process involving chlorine. 
WFP provides a system and approach to maintain and implement any management of change or modifications to equipment, procedures, chemicals, and processing conditions.  This system allows WFP staff to identify and review safety hazards or provide additional safety, process, or chemical information to existing data before the proposed change would either compromise system safety or need training to be completed. 
Internal Compliance Audits 
Internal compliance audits will be conducted every 3 years to verify compliance with the programs and procedures contained in the RMP.  The WFP will assemble an audit team that will include personnel knowledgeable in the Risk Management Program rule and in the process 
.  This team will evaluate whether the prevention program satisfies the requirements of the Risk Management Program rule and whether the prevention program is sufficient to help ensure safe operation of the process.  The results of the audit will be documented, recommendations resolved, and appropriate enhancements to the prevention program will be implemented. 
Incident Investigation 
WFP investigates all incidents that could reasonably have resulted in a catastrophic release (serious injury to personnel, the public, or the environment) so that similar accidents can be prevented.  An investigation team is assembled and the investigation is initiated within 48 hours of the incident.  The results of the investigation are documented, recommendations are resolved, and appropriate process enhancements are implemented.  Information found during the investigation is reviewed by affected staff and added or used to revise operating and maintenance procedures.  There have been no such incidents 
involving the WFP chlorine system. 
Five-year Accident History Summary 
No chlorine releases that could have caused safety or health hazard (deaths, injuries, property or environmental damage, evacuations, or sheltering in place) occurred at the WFP during the last five years. 
Emergency Response Program Summary 
WFP is a first responder facility (i.e. specially trained plant employees respond to chlorine accidental releases).  Depending on the severity of the accidental release, external resources such as the Los Angeles County Fire Department will be called to aid in handling a chlorine release.  As part of the emergency response program, the WFP has developed and implemented a Hazardous Materials and Hazardous Waste Contingency Plan (HMHWCP) for the purpose of protecting public health and the environment.  The HMHWCP has a special focus on responding to chlorine emergencies. 
The HMHWCP plan is being coordinated with local response agencies (Los Angeles County Fire Department).  Th 
e main elements of the emergency response plan are: (1) chlorine response flow chart, responsibilities of various personnel at the facility, duties of on-scene incident commander, HAZMAT responder team, (2) details of emergency recognition and prevention at the facility, (3) procedures for planning and coordination with off-site emergency response organizations, and (4) details of the training program for all HAZMAT responders.  
Planned Changes to Improve Safety 
Numerous changes to improve safety (recommended actions) were previously identified for the chlorine process in 1992 and 1995 for chlorination system equipment and procedures, when a Risk and Hazard Analysis (following California Risk Management and Prevention Program (RMPP) guidelines) and Process Safety Management (PSM) Program were prepared for the facility.  These recommended actions have been evaluated and are being implemented as required.  Additional changes to improve chlorine safety were identified in September 1998, 
when the process hazard analysis was reviewed.  It is expected that these recommended actions will be evaluated and implemented by December 1999. 
As part of this ongoing commitment to chlorine safety, MWDSC is also planning a future capital project to relocate the WFP chlorine room away from the Administration Building to a new building beside the unloading area and to construct a facility for containment of the storage area and scrubbing of both the new chlorine process building and storage containment (to collect and neutralize an accidental chlorine release).
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