Founded in 1973, Southern Metal Processing in Alabama was the very first commercial polymer cleaning company in the U.S. and since then have maintained their footprint on the market as the largest commercial cleaning company worldwide, with plants on two continents and serving customers in markets around the globe.
SMP cleans filters used in oil extraction and fracking– ones with ratings of 0.5 μm to 200 μm, including woven wire mesh, random metal fiber, and sintered metal powder media. A permit change by one of their local wastewater treatment facilities involving removal of chromium from their system meant they were working nearly around the clock to meet the new standards and also paying for daily off-site testing in a desperate effort to meet discharge limits.
SMP had worked with a number of other vendors over the years, all of whom said they had the answers they needed, but their wastewater treatment system continued to struggle to meet city permit limits. The city then ratcheted up the targets even further. Something needed to change with their system.
Meeting the Standards and Reducing Costs
With the tests showing the chromium levels at under 1 ppm and copper undetectable, the city
was satisfied with the results. That also meant that SMP could dial back on its amount of testing. The improved wastewater treatment benefited costs and capacity too.
Before bringing in Hubbard-Hall, SMP could treat a “maximum of 15,000 gallons per day.” The regimen developed by Deal more than tripled maximum throughput, letting the company scale back operating hours and cutting costs. Eventually, they went to weekly on-site measurements, saving the company about $500,000 annually in the process.
The Customer’s View
The Hubbard-Hall team demonstrated to SMP that throwing money at a solution to a problem isn’t always necessary but that the goal should be to define the core issues and address them holistically and systematically.
“We understand that most things can be solved with a lot of money, but that doesn’t mean it is cost-effective,” SMP says. “We have continued to work together on the next important hurdle, honing the changes both in upstream processes and wastewater treatment processes to impact the overall cost/gal of water treatment, a key to keeping us competitive in our market as pressure around environmental concerns continue to tighten and impact the cost of good water.”
More importantly, SMP gained the trust of Hubbard- Hall and its team, and its top executives say they not only gained a solution to their persistent problem but that they also found a partner to help them in other areas of their operation.
“If they tell us to paint the wastewater building purple because for some reason it will help the treatment process, we will,” the SMP executive says.
June 28th, 2021