Sunday, 29 Jan 2023
Red tide disrupts operation of desalination plant in Barka

Red tide disrupts operation of desalination plant in Barka

The business expects additional delay in reverting to complete operations as proliferation of Harmful Algal Blooms (HAB) is continuing, which is probably to boost the monetary effect of the outbreak.

The business disclosed the effect of HAB to Muscat Securities Market and its investors on Sunday. It mentioned, “From third week of July, the water production of RO-1 and RO-2 Expansion Plants has been affected due to an algal bloom prevailing in the Sea of Oman. The estimated financial impact to date amounts to RO140,000. However, as the algal bloom condition is persisting the company will provide additional update on any further material impact.”

According to ACWA Power, throughout this algal bloom period the pollutant levels in the seawater elevated outdoors the technical limits as defined in the Water Purchase Agreements (WPAs) of the two Reverse Osmosis (RO) Expansion Plants.

“The company and its operator are continuously monitoring these levels closely and have increased chemical dosing to the maximum in order to keep the two plants in partial operation until the seawater quality falls within the acceptable limits and full production is restored,” it mentioned. This scenario is defined as Seawater Quality Failure in the respective WPAs and when established, is recognised as a Force Majeure (unforeseeable situations that prevents from fulfilling a contract) occasion, the business stated.

Pursuant to the WPAs throughout the Force Majeure occasion, the business will get relief from liability for any consequent failure to carry out its obligations.

Earlier in February-March this year, SMN Power Holding which operates Barka II desalination plant, faced a comparable issue due to HAB as its water production capacity was disrupted resulting in a forced outage of 18 days with an estimated monetary effect of RO425,000.

To tackle the effect of such HAB outbreaks, Muscat-primarily based Middle East Desalination Research Centre is operating to provide an early warning method that would limit the effect from HABs by stopping them from reaching seawater reverse osmosis (SWRO) plants, whilst also mitigating their effects by means of pre-remedy and other actions inside the plant when intake has occurred.

During red tides, marine or fresh water algae accumulate swiftly in the water. These algae create toxic substances which can be lethal for fishes and can pose considerable threat to public well being if not efficiently removed by desalination plants.

For desalination plants, algal blooms can lead to operational concerns like clogging of intake filters, elevated chemical consumption, higher membrane fouling prices, and in intense instances, shut down.

Information Source: Muscat Daily

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