Dealing with tough debris and clogged pumps and pipes are significant and costly issues for many municipal public works departments. These problems are escalating in many places the world over due to the growing popularity of flushable wipes products, as well as aging facilities and a lack of funding for sewer and utility systems. These issues can cost extensive amounts of downtime and capital due to frequent maintenance, equipment repairs and unscheduled shutdowns.
Regardless of the haul route, commercial drivers across America have come to rely on Pilot Flying J truck stops as a comfortable one-stop respite during the long hours between their destinations. Customers can grab a hot meal, do their laundry, use the business center or even visit an urgent care clinic if needed. Since the merger of Pilot TravelCenters LLC and Flying J Inc.
When the Santa Margarita (Calif.) Water District (SMWD) was formed in 1964 by a group of ranchers who wanted a reliable water source for their cattle, the district served more cows than people. Since then, the area has grown to over 150,000 homes and businesses, and the SMWD maintains more than 1,200 miles of water and sewer lines across a 62,674-acre service area.
Pump blockages and rags are significant barriers to energy and operational efficiencies at pump stations, causing unscheduled shutdowns, safety hazards for operators, costly equipment repairs and increased power usage due to a decrease in the pumps’ hydraulic performance. Scottish Water observed these negative effects, which were caused by an influx of wipes and rags throughout a network of area pump stations.
Located along the Spokane River and set among large evergreen trees, the City of Coeur D’Alene, Idaho, treatment plant follows some of the toughest treatment requirements in the nation. The facility must meet strict nutrient limits in order to protect the river and a downstream drinking water reservoir.
The Coeur D’Alene, Idaho, wastewater treatment plant has been in operation since 1939, making it one of the earliest examples of a municipal secondary-level treatment facility in the world. Since then, the facility has been overhauled significantly to keep up with demand, area growth and innovations in wastewater treatment technology.
Increasingly, wipes are causing serious issues for wastewater treatment system operators. Many of the wipes entering sewage systems are not dispersible and technically not flushable. The term “flushable wipes” was spawned in the 1980s when a consumer products company brought a latex-bonded air-laid wet wipe with polyester fibers to the market. The wipe was considered “flushable” since it could transit through the toilet, but with all those polyester fibers, it was not dispersible.
Grease can cause big problems, but when managed properly it can provide big dividends as a renewable energy source. The wastewater treatment plant in West Lafayette, Ind., has grease in abundance and is making the most of it.
In 2012, the plant received an average of 18,000 gal of grease per month. Although grease deliveries are not always daily, the plant can get multiple deliveries in one day. One small tanker truck can bring in 2,000 to 3,000 gal while a large truck can bring in between 4,000 to 5,000 gal.
An Abundance of Grease
The city of Revelstoke, located along the Columbia River in British Columbia, boasts a growing ski resort and one of the world's best heli-skiing destinations. The scenery of the neighboring Selkirk and Monashee mountains belies Revelstoke's growing population. In 2007, Revelstoke had more than 7,000 residents, and hosted thousands of winter sport enthusiasts at Revelstoke Mountain Resort.
A Growing Problem
In recent years, maintenance operators at the Segerstrom Lift Station in Santa Ana, Calif., noticed an escalation in pump ragging and blockages. This led to an increase in maintenance expenses due to half- to full-day cleanings and an increase in man-hours. Engineers sought the help of Costa Mesa-based JWC Environmental (JWCE), which recommended a Channel Monster sewage grinder.
For many years, a water reclamation plant in Texas successfully used six Penn Valley double disc pumps for their primary sludge and scum applications. At their latest expansion project, they added macerators in-line ahead of all the double disc pumps to enhance their process and grind rags and debris. Since the installation of the macerators, they have suffered severe problems with plugging of the pump suction lines that led to frequent pump rebuilds. After years of frustration in dealing with this problem, they turned to the Sludge Monster.
When Otter Creek Water Reclamation District was faced with expensive recurring cleanup costs at its largest wastewater pump station, engineers solved the problem with the Muffin Monster.
Disposal of fats, oils and grease (FOG) was an ongoing problem for municipalities and utility companies for years. When these thick, gooey substances are allowed to discharge through drains, they congeal inside sewer pipes and cause an overflow. Sewage overflows are health hazards, damaging property and the environment.
The Suzhou River near Shanghai, China, winds peacefully through beautiful gardens and parks, and flows alongside elegant temples and pagodas. The river has a rich cultural heritage in the region, including several elaborate stone arch bridges that cross it. However, as Shanghai has expanded the river has faced serious challenges from pollution.
For several years, local Michigan municipalities were overloaded with septage disposal issues and it was difficult for private pumpers to offload as land-application of septage became illegal. So John Campbell, founder of Big Fish Environmental and a 29-year veteran of septic tank pumping, started developing a unique and efficient septage receiving and treatment plant design.
Before the first Muffin Monster grinder was installed, Clark County Detention Center (CCDC) had no effective way of reducing waste in the effluent wastewater being received at the City of Las Vegas Water Pollution Control Facility (WPCF). According to Lloyd Noffsinger, maintenance and operations supervisor for CCDC since 1984, WPCF staff was continually contacting his office to find out how certain items were ending up in their facility. Unfortunately, CCDC needed funding to support any new wastewater projects.
In the beautiful town of Hutchinson, Minn., operators at the wastewater treatment facility have called upon four Monsters in recent years to tame a rising tide of trash and rags in their plant.
In 2005, plant officials tackled a problem area in the influent pump station where twin 20-year-old bar screens were in need of constant maintenance.
With the motto “The Grass is Greener,” it’s not surprising that the city of Plantation, located in a metropolitan area of southern Florida, strives to keep its wastewater treatment plant at the forefront of technology. The plant also supports the city’s ongoing policies for environmental responsibility, water reuse and landfill acceptability.
Two new solids handling pumps installed at the Breakers Mansion in Newport, R.I., in early 2005 were no match for debris flushed down the toilets by tourists. After careful consideration, a Mini Monster grinder was chosen to rescue the overworked pumps.