What is involved in shutting down and then restarting the plant?
When the plant ceases treating water, the steps to enter the care and maintenance stage begin with capping the ocean intakes and outlets. This means that the plant can become ‘dry’ which protects and prolongs the stainless steel pipework and equipment and ensures the life of the concrete structures within the plant. The delicate reverse osmosis membranes are then put under preservation and the pipeline is disinfected and sealed. The workforce is essentially halved during this time.
When the plant receives the order to begin operating again, a number of procedures must occur before it can begin treating water. Firstly, the ocean intake and outlet caps would need to be removed to get seawater flowing into the plant. The membranes would need to be taken out of preservation. Recruitment of staff would occur and the pipeline would need to be disinfected. Once operations commence it is anticipated it will take up to eight months to be ready to produce water at full capacity.