Jan 26, 2017

Clogs Draw a ‘Get Out of Jail Free’ Card

Pennsylvania jail uses new pumping technology to combat clogging

Although they were by no means overwhelming, clogging problems in a county prison wastewater treatment system had become a nuisance, and it was time to take action with new technology to solve the problem.

Chester County Prison is located approximately ten miles south of West Chester, Pa., the county seat of Chester County. The current prison was opened in 1959 and operated under the original construction until 1983, when parts of the prison underwent renovations and expansion.


The facility is subject to modern trash consisting of products that manufacturers label as “flushable,” including baby wipes, baby diapers, paper towels, disinfectant wipes and feminine use products. These non-dispersible products wreak havoc in collection systems, and particularly in a prison setting, where it is also not uncommon for clothing, towels, rags and trash to join the flow, creating a clog potential for the pumps. It is also common for the effluent to contain a large amount of candy and snack wrappers, along with plastic eating utensils. The prison experiences periods of high flow and extended periods of low flow due to the nature of the complex – a blend of the prison, youth center, prerelease/work release center and convalescent home.

Chester County Prison has existing duplex submersibles that handle the waste generated from the prison. The pumps have performed very well, but they occasionally have been subjected to clogging due to the harsh conditions in which they operate. Xylem’s Philadelphia branch had previously provided repair services to the facility and knew the challenges of the installation.


Due to the uniqueness of the system requirements, Philadelphia branch engineers felt that this application would be an excellent choice to test out Flygt’s new Concertor technology while simultaneously addressing the prison’s occasional clogging issues. The manufacturer’s engineers discussed with the customer how the Concertor system integrated the pump, control system and software package into one pumping solution. The Concertor includes an algorithm that maximizes efficiency and has the ability to detect and clear potential clogs. The system combines this integrated control system with IE4 motor efficiency, patented adapted N-hydraulics and clog detection, making it easier to start up and operate, as well as allowing better regulation of the process itself and considerable cost savings due to fewer maintenance call-outs.

Using a combination of advanced software functions and state-of-the-art hardware, the system senses the operating conditions of its environment and adapts the pumping performance in real time. With the new Concertor system, the adaptive N-technology and algorithms that detect and handle clogs, initiate pump cleaning and minimize energy use were the most desirable features to county officials.

The Philadelphia branch installed a prototype 4-in. Concertor pump-and-control module into the existing lift station in August 2015. On average, the pumps run between two and three hours per day. The prototype pump was installed as the lead pump with no alternation, with the lag pump only being used for high-level conditions. During the one-year testing period, the lag pump ran a total of 27 hours.


Over the course of the testing period, the prototype pump exceeded the performance of the previously installed pump, which was a duplicate of the lag pump. Due to the flexibility in performance and energy minimization functionality of the integrated pump control, the results showed an 11% savings in energy costs compared to the previous pump. Additionally, there were no instances of ragging during the test period. These benefits were made possible utilizing the simple Concertor integrated pump package. 

Flygt, a Xylem brand


14125 South Bridge Circle

Charlotte, NC 28273

United States

Phone: 203.712.8927

Phone (Toll - Free): 855.995.4261

Fax: 203.380.4705


[email protected]