Pump-jamming At Correctional Facility

Dec. 12, 2002

Inmates in correctional institutions apparently had found a new diversion. By flushing oversized items down their toilets, they had either accidentally or purposefully caused the facility's wastewater to back up. Often the goal was to gain extra time out of cell. By flooding their cell or cell block, they had forced the facility to move them during the cleanup period. And these misdeeds often had been rewarding - that is, until recently.

A women's correctional institution had a major problem with plugging of pumps and plumbing systems. Inmates were flushing every conceivable sort of item into the sewage system including tampons, aluminum cans, pillowcases, pants, full blankets, and bed sheets. The result was repeated sewage backup and flooding.

The pumps would become so jammed that it would be necessary to dismantle them to clear them - a time consuming and grueling job. Often the pump's bearings and seals would become damaged and have to be replaced. The pump downtime could last between a few hours and a few days. In the meantime, sewage would back up into the inmate's cells and necessitate their relocation. This would only encourage a repeat performance.

The situation called for an urgent solution. That's when the maintenance personnel turned to Franklin Miller for help.

Franklin Miller Inc. supplies a full line of grinders and shredders designed for wastewater solids reduction. Several of the company's grinders are well suited for such heavy solids applications, including their SUPER SHREDDER® and TASKMASTER® grinders. These units employ a powerful, low speed, high shear mechanism to reduce tough concentrated solids. They can keep pump systems running smoothly and ensure the discharged wastewater is pretreated to meet the connected sewer district's regulations.

A Model SS1200 Super Shredder was selected and installed on the suction side of the pump. With its 12-in. flanges and a 10 hp direct coupled gear drive, the Super Shredder was a perfect match to the system's capacity requirements. The unit, with a straight-through flanged design, was relatively simple to connect - much like an ordinary valve.

The results were immediate. The pumps were no longer subject to frequent jamming. In fact, there hasn't been any pump ragging or backup since installation. As a bonus, major pump components such as impeller, seals and bearings have lasted much longer as well. The inmates have had to just deal with their cells and their usual daily routine.

Said the maintenance supervisor, "We depend on the Super Shredder for our system operation. Without it our system would be down in a matter of hours, so we just can?t be without it."