Cheaper Is Not Always Better
Georgia facility pays price for aftermarket equipment
Summerville, Ga., a small city in the northwestern part of the state and the seat of Chattanooga County, built its 2-mgd wastewater treatment plant in 1967. It was designed to handle the flow from a developing municipal collection system that now serves 1,860 connections.
During an upgrade in 2008, consulting engineers recommended abandoning chemical disinfection in favor of a WEDECO UV system. The system consisted of 60 lamps configured as two banks of three modules each and set in a single open channel. Other elements of the plant’s upgrades that year included air diffusers, a blower motor, an additional pump and improved lighting.
Two of the original lamps needed to be replaced, so plant operator Scott Millican urged his superintendent to proactively replace all the lamps in the system to ensure that the system was operating at peak efficiency.
“Our former superintendent mistakenly presumed that all UV lamps were essentially the same,” said Millican. “He went with the lowest price, which set the stage for trouble.”
Lower-priced aftermarket lamps were purchased through an alternate lamp manufacturer and installed in the UV system. They failed to meet expectations within eight months.
“We ran [the new lamps] only one year, but even at 100 percent power, our fecal counts were close to exceeding our permit,” Millican said. “We sought quotes for several lines of replacement lamps but were committed up front to the originals. Both the city manager and new superintendent agreed the higher cost was logical because the lamps were matched to the system.”
This led the new superintendent to seek approval for the emergency procurement of WEDECO’S ECORAY lamps as replacements. Beyond its environmental benefits, the WEDECO ECORAY UV solution is more efficient and longer lasting than any previous WEDECO UV lamp technology.
The new ECORAY lamps and companion electronic ballast cards were installed and provided an immediate improvement. At the Summerville plant, energy use has been significantly reduced, and experience has shown that many ECORAY installations see total operating costs typically reduced by 20 percent because the lamps operate efficiently in dimmed mode but still achieve the required disinfection.
The ECORAY line of UV lamps also incorporates environmentally friendly engineering features. The lamps contain 80 percent less mercury and can reduce a facility’s carbon footprint by 1,100 lb of CO2 in each lamp. The manufacturer, WEDECO, meets the highest environmental standards for Certification to DIN EN ISO 14001.
Following the initial weeks after installation, the system was reverted back to an automatic dosage setting of 36 mJ/cm2, which best serves the plant’s limited workforce. The experience proved a point about purchasing replacement lamps and aftermarket parts in general. “The lowest price doesn’t always guarantee the best results,” said Chris Tuggle, the current plant superintendent.