Friday, 16 December 2016

Winding Down

I've had an easy time in this last full week of work for 2016, catching up on all of those little jobs. Finished my paper on plant layout for the IET's "Engineering & Technology Reference" journal.

Did some publicity for my plant layout book, and arranged some teaching at Chester and Manchester, as well as a short overseas course early in the New Year.

I'm doing a couple of days next week, then it's the Xmas break. If I get bored, I can always do a bit on the new book.

I've got a few ongoing contracts (a mix of troubleshooting and expert witness work), so I'm sure it will all take off again in January. For now, I'm making the best of the lull.

Friday, 9 December 2016

Troubleshooting and Expert Witnessing: Small Sewage Treatment Plants

I've sent out two new reports this week, both on problems with small sewage treatment plants. One was to do with an odour issue, and one a performance issue.

It's good to keep current with practical engineering in the form of troubleshooting, and the design and pricing of needed modifications. As ever, some of them cost more than you would have expected before all factors are considered. Thankfully, they still cost less than the client's budget.

I've also been arranging an overseas trip for course delivery early in the New Year, and firming up plans for delivery of our IChemE approved course early in 2017.

Next week will be our last week of work this year. At least, that's the plan.....

Friday, 2 December 2016

Expert Witness Engineer Package Sewage Treatment Plant Odour Problems

I picked up a new expert witness job this week, to do with odour complaints associated with a package sewage treatment plant in a housing development. I have done a fair number of these as troubleshooting jobs in the past, but this is my first as an expert witness.

Odour is a tricky business. There is possibly nothing more subjective than odour, or more subject to variability between subjects, and there is no getting around the fact that sewage is smelly, even when fresh. There are also psychological effects which can make even very low level of odour seem intolerable. Robust sampling and measurement of odorous air is expensive and time consuming. What constitutes a nuisance is therefore hard to pin down.

I tend not to bother too much with the psychology. As an engineer, I am interested in whether there are any problems with the specification, design, installation, operation or maintenance of the plant which would be expected to produce abnormal types or levels of odour.

I have also been designing and pricing debottlenecking modifications to a commercial effluent treatment plant this week, and bidding for a couple of interesting overseas contracts.

My plant layout book is now available in the UK at least via Amazon and Elsevier sites.