Unexpected issues surfaced in a major mechanical and plumbing construction project for a data center in 2019. To meet a very tight project schedule, B&K had to fill, flush and drain the process piping – before the civil engineering firm could complete the sewer outtake line. • We designed and built a flush skid and sourced equipment – but some of the equipment that arrived wasn’t to specification. So, multiple B&K crews had to cut piping and rework fittings on the fly. • With the flush skid in place, we then had to fill-flush-drain. This required assembling 30 above-ground tanks and using tanker trucks to carry away water to a treatment facility.
This was a challenge we hadn’t seen before – basically, what to do with a half-million gallons of water.
As with so many data center projects, the client was hard-pressed to get up and running quickly. The point of the project where we fill, flush and drain the process piping was looming.
But the problem was, the civil engineering contractor wouldn’t be able to finish building the sewer line from the facility to the local utility in time.
The project could … not … delay. That was the reality.
And yet, all the water needed to prep the system had nowhere to go. We’re talking water for a system that’s in three buildings plus a large trestle piping system.
We needed a flush skid with a large footprint. So, we designed it, built components and sourced equipment for it to meet the specifications of the flush.
But when some of the equipment arrived, it wasn’t what we specified. The takeout of the pumps wasn’t what was promised — and it would take many weeks for the suppliers to re-issue the equipment to get it right.
So, we turned to our CAD professionals to model the equipment that had been supplied, and our crews in the field made the modifications to make the puzzle come together. (They did an awesome job.)
We got the flush skid built, but there was still the matter of what to do with the water. Per the client’s specifications, we had to hit a flow rate of 4.5 feet a second in every section of the pipe – and a flush for 24 hours.
So, it was fill, flush, drain, then repeat with a chemical added … then feed and bleed, i.e., drain and fill at the same time. We calculated the process required 546,000 gallons of water.
To store that water, we assembled 30 above-ground tanks. Lining them all up, it was about the size of a football field.
Even with that capacity, the tanks wouldn’t be able to hold all the water. So, we brought in multiple tanker trucks to drain them and transport the water to the local wastewater treatment plant.
That bought us time at a critical point in the project. The civil contractor finished the sewer line, and we could coordinate with the local utility on the amount of water being sent on a daily basis.
Most important, the flush was completed on schedule, and we could turn over the process chilled water system for commissioning.