Improving water quality of the Everglades

July 3, 2002
Pumping the Everglades clean

When the Florida Legislature passed the Everglades Forever Act in 1994, it enlisted the help of pump manufacturer Flowserve, Irving, Texas.

Working with the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) and its engineering consultants, Flowserve custom designed, supplied and installed eight pumps for the project. Four pumps move 950 cubic ft. of water per second, while others move 450 cubic ft. of water. per second. Together, they move an estimated 2.9 million gallons of water per minute. Additionally, Flowserve was responsible for the hydraulic model test, designing suction and discharge water passages, and the entire pump/gear/engine drive system. These pumps began operating in October, 2000.

The pumping stations move the water to be filtered through marsh treatment areas, which use natural vegetation to leach out the phosphorus. The Everglades' high phosphorus content, largely from stormwater runoff from agricultural and other srouces, disrupts the native plant and animal populations living there. Flowserve's system is designed to improve the water quality significantly, says John Ondrejack, Flowserve's Southeast regional manager.

The SFWMD selected Flowserved based on a rating system, which included technical design assessment, qualifications, experience and price. Flowserve won the contract based on its expertise in designing large, vertical pumps, having an engineering team committed to the Everglades project and its engineering techniques.

Ondrejack adds that the end user is pleased with the pumps' operation. "We've received the highest efficiency rating," he says. Flowserve designed the pumps to use less horsepower, which translates into reduced energy consumption.

The Jacksonville Army Corps of Engineers also awarded Flowserve contracts for the Everglades project, requesting 10 additional pumps. Because of its "excellent performance evaluation" on the primary pump installation, says Ondrejack, the SFWMD awarded the company a second machinery contract to supply pumps, engine drives, reduction gears, electronic controls and model testing and services for the pumping stations. When completed, the 25 Flowserve pumps will move more than 10 million gallons of water per minute into filter marshes.