The purpose of this BakerRisk Best Practice is to document general guidance for establishing a highly effective risk mitigation program for building occupants through Hydrofluoric (HF) water mitigation strategies. Recent industry accidents (Torrance, California; Superior, Wisconsin; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and Rotterdam, Netherlands) have led to increased awareness and scrutiny of the potential hazards associated with HF acid. HF hazards are well understood and numerous methods to manage risks associated with these hazards are employed by industry, which are documented as good practice for the Safe Operation of HF Alkylation Units in American Petroleum Institute Recommended Practice 751 (API RP 751) Version 5.
One effective mitigation strategy used by industry, and is the topic of this Best Practice document, is water mitigation. Water mitigation reduces the consequences associated with a release of HF acid by using water to remove airborne HF. To effectively mitigate a potential HF release, the key is quick, targeted deployment of copious amounts of water in an effective spray pattern to ensure a high degree of absorption of the HF.
“I consider the water mitigation system a critical safeguard, where the system must be effective, healthy, and available at all times.
The authors of this document have collectively leveraged their decades of experience in research, development, design, and operation of water mitigation systems, and highlight local/site specific considerations for effective design.
The purpose of this document is to assist operators of HF Alkylation units in establishing a highly effective risk management program through water mitigation strategies.”
– Ron R. Rife
Manager, Process Safety Support
As Manager of Global Business Development, Jatin Shah specializes in Risk Management Services including: Quantitative Risk Assessments (QRA), Corporate Risk Management, and Risk-based Decision Support. Since 1988, he has performed over 350 global QRA studies of refining, chemical, oil & gas, and transportation operations, more than 65 of which were QRA studies for HF alkylation units. Jatin works with clients to develop conceptual layout and equipment specifications for effective detection, isolation, and Water Mitigation strategies for HF, Ammonia, and other toxic processes.
Jeff Fitt is a Senior Principal Consultant with BakerRisk specializing in Hydrofluoric Acid (HF) Risk Management, HF Mitigation system design, HF Unit Quantitative Risk Assessments (QRA) and conducting API RP 751 Audits. Prior to joining BakerRisk Jeff was the Alkylation Global Technology Leader at ExxonMobil where he supported the operations and risk management of their Alkylation Units. Jeff has served as a core team member that developed the original API Recommended Practice 751 “Safe Operation of Hydrofluoric Acid Alkylation Units” as well as the four subsequent revisions of this document.