When you ask Scarborough (Maine) Sanitary District Superintendent David Hughes what he likes most about his collection system pump stations, he'd tell you, “Absolutely nothing.” Hearing nothing, that is.
“When there's a problem, I end up having to deal with it,” Hughes said. “What I like best about them (is) I don't get involved with them.”
Essentially, he values reliable pump station performance, day in and day out, and avoiding problems or hassles that might otherwise reach his desk. And one can see why reliability keys his perspective on pump stations: The district maintains nearly 100 miles of pipe and 23 pump stations, many of which are underground systems that serve deep sewers throughout the district’s coastal topography.
“This makes maintenance an issue (when one factors) access to the wet wells and gravity sewers,” said Hughes, a design engineer by professional vocation and a 25-year veteran of the water industry.
To counter this, the district heavily relies on dry-pit underground and vacuum-primed, aboveground pump stations from Smith & Loveless. The bulk of the collection system was expanded in the 1980s, which coincided with the move of Scarborough’s main treatment plant. However, the district’s first seven pump stations—all originating from Smith & Loveless—started up nearly a half century ago, and all of them still dutifully operate today. Likewise, 14 other stations in the network feature the Smith & Loveless brand, including some that the district converted by retrofitting with Smith & Loveless pumps and controls.
The district’s highest capacity pump station transfers 99% of the flow to the treatment plant. Designed for continuous human occupancy with internal HVAC, a spacious interior and exclusive Safe-Stair stairwell module, this Smith & Loveless Capsular underground pump station facilitates safe and easy access for routine maintenance. This results in fewer occupational requirements and lower associated capital costs for the district.
According to two long-time district staff members, Chief Operator Gary Howard and Chief Mechanic Carl Tucker, the reliability of Scarborough’s Smith & Loveless pump stations emanates from the inherent design philosophy built within each Smith & Loveless system: simple and easy maintenance.
“The pumps themselves, the way they are designed from a maintenance standpoint, are very easy and user-friendly to work with,” said Howard, a 45-year veteran of the district. “Changing a seal is very easy.”
Tucker agreed, noting, “A lot of the parts are interchangeable so I don’t have to stock a lot of parts. Very few maintenance issues. Very reliable pumps.”