Submersible chopper pumps prevent sewer backups during Hurricane Harvey
The main lift station serving the wastewater treatment plant in Morgan’s Point, Texas, continually experienced problems with its three standard non-clog pumps. The pumps frequently clogged when rainfall totals reached or exceeded 2 in. Shop rags, pieces of lumber, plastic bottles, gloves and wet wipes all commonly clogged the pumps when the standard demand increased. Pump removal, unplugging and recurring repairs were required, but the service company was not always available for immediate assistance, causing problems for residents serviced by this lift station.
From 2009 to 2016, Morgan’s Point spent approximately $100,000 to have the three pumps maintained and serviced. Over that period, 24 service calls were required to remove the pumps, de-rag them, reinstall them and reset them. In addition, technicians rebuilt the pumps at least six times and had to purchase two replacement pumps.
Due to the excessive downtime and repairs to the standard non-clog pumps, Brian Schneider, the city administrator for the city of Morgan’s Point, contacted the local Vaughan representative to find a solution. In May 2016, Vaughan Co. proposed a new SE-Series submersible chopper pump along with a complete guide rail system to solve the frequent clogging problem. The city of Morgan’s Point approved Vaughan’s proposal, and the system was on its way in an expedient 45 days.
Since the Vaughan pumps were installed in late July 2016, the city has experienced over 100 in. of rainfall with no plugging incidents or other issues. In January 2017, the city inspected the pumps for wear, and according to Schneider, “The pumps showed no signs of wear and were in like-new condition.”
During 2017’s Hurricane Harvey, the wettest tropical storm on record in the United States, over 52 in. of rain fell in the Houston area. The Vaughan pumps ran continuously for 72 hours with no plugging incidents and no problems while pumping over 2.5 million gal of unscreened sewage through the lift station. It never flooded, and none of the 150 homes served by the lift station experienced sewer backups.
Schneider shared his certainty that if the former pumps were still installed, all the residents would have had sewage in their homes. “I just wish we had purchased these pumps years ago to eliminate the maintenance headaches we endured, and the costs we incurred keeping our previous pumps in operation. The Vaughan pumps have been very reliable since installation.”