Designing pump stations that cannot failRyan Clancy | June 05, 2022
Pump stations are an essential part of municipal infrastructure and it is critical that they operate reliably. Failures and overflows can have a significant impact on the community, costing taxpayers money and disrupting daily life.
One upgrade that is becoming increasingly popular in pump and lift stations is the installation of a redundant pump system. Rather than having one large pump, redundant pump systems use multiple smaller pumps that are spread out over a given area. This allows for the implementation of proactive maintenance measures and can help prevent failures caused by power outages or other issues.
What is a lift station?
A lift station is a type of pump used to move sewage or wastewater from one location to another. Lift stations are typically used when the destination is at a higher elevation than the source, or when the distance to be traveled is too great for gravity to work alone.
Lift stations come in a variety of sizes and configurations, depending on the needs of the particular application. Some lift stations have only one pump, while others have multiple pumps that operate in succession or simultaneously. The pumps may be powered by electricity, diesel, natural gas or other means.
Lift stations typically include some type of control panel that helps operators monitor and manage the system. The control panel may include features such as alarms, timers and automatic controls. Lift stations may also include a generator to provide backup power in the event of a power outage.
Lift stations are an important part of many sewage and wastewater systems. They help to ensure that sewage and wastewater is properly transported from one location to another, and they can be used in a variety of situations where gravity alone will not suffice.
Identifying equipment failure during overflows
Overflows at lift stations are often caused by equipment failure. This can be due to a variety of reasons, including poor maintenance, inadequate design or simply wear and tear over time. Improperly maintained lift stations are more likely to experience problems, such as clogged pumps, which can lead to overflows.
There are several signs that equipment failure may be the cause of an overflow. There may be a sudden increase in the amount of wastewater flowing into the lift station. This can be due to a break in a pipe or another type of leak. The level of wastewater in the lift station may also rise quickly and unexpectedly. The pump might start making strange noises or fail to operate properly.
It is important to identify the root cause of the problem in order to prevent future overflows.
What is a redundant pump system?
A redundant pump system is a type of backup pump system that is designed to provide continuous operation of the pumps in the event of a failure of one or more individual pumps. The system includes two or more pumps, each connected to a common discharge pipe. One of the pumps is designated as the primary pump and is operated continuously. The other pumps are designated as secondary or redundant pumps and are normally not operated. In the event of a failure of the primary pump, one of the secondary pumps is automatically started and operated until the primary pump is repaired or replaced.
The key advantage of a redundant pump system over a single-pump system is that it provides continuous operation of the pumps even in the event of a pump failure. This can be critical in applications where the pumps are required to operate continuously, such as in water treatment plants or sewage treatment plants. Redundant pump systems are also used in some industrial applications, such as chemical processing plants, where it is important to maintain continuous operation of the pumps.
Proactive maintenance programs
Aging equipment and capacity constraints are inevitable in any manufacturing or production process. But by their very nature, they can be difficult to predict and manage. That's where proactive maintenance programs come in. By definition, a proactive maintenance program is designed to address these types of issues in lift stations before they cause problems.
There are many benefits to implementing a proactive maintenance program. Perhaps the most obvious is that it can help you avoid costly downtime and disruptions in a production process. But it can also improve overall efficiency and productivity, and even help extend the life of equipment.
With that in mind, let's take a closer look at each of these three components in turn.
Understanding equipment and processes
The first step in any proactive maintenance program is to gain a thorough understanding of the equipment and processes. This means understanding how the equipment works, what it's designed to do and how it interacts with the rest of your process. It also means having a good handle on the process itself, including all of the different steps involved and how they fit together.
Developing a monitoring system
The next step is to develop a system for monitoring the equipment and processes. This system should be designed to identify potential problems early so that operators can take corrective action before those problems cause disruptions in a production process.
Implementing preventive maintenance
Once there is a good understanding of the equipment and processes, and a system in place for monitoring them, the next step is to implement preventive maintenance tasks. These are designed to keep equipment running smoothly and prevent problems before they occur.
The proof is in the pumping
Even with a preventive maintenance program in place, there will still be times when problems occur. That is why in Hot Springs, Arkansas, the Department of Environmental Quality decided to upgrade the city’s infrastructure by installing redundant pump systems. This would allow them to implement the proactive maintenance.
Hot Springs undertook a comprehensive overhaul that included the implementation of redundant lift stations. This measure was taken in order to ensure uninterrupted service in the event of a pump failure. To further improve reliability, the city also adopted a proactive maintenance approach that involves regular inspections and preventive repairs. As a result of these efforts, the city has seen a significant improvement in its wastewater infrastructure, delivering 100% redundancy.