Sand can be very troublesome in separators by causing cutout of valve trim, plugging of separator internals, and accumulation in the bottom of the separator. Special hard trim can minimize the effects of sand on the valves. Accumulations of sand can be alleviated by the use of sand jets and drains.
Plugging of the separator internals is a problem that must be considered in the design of the separator. A design that will promote good separation and have a minimum of traps for sand accumulation may be difficult to attain, since the design that provides the best mechanism for separating the gas, oil, and water phases probably will also provide areas for sand accumulation. A practical balance for these factors is the best solution.