Above-grade pump stations provide municipality convenience, savings
Why do collection system professionals such as Linda Chappius strongly prefer the Smith & Loveless Wet Well Mounted Pump Station instead of submersibles? For starters, the pumps’ above-grade access eliminates confined space entry for routine maintenance.
“You don’t have to be in the wastewater and dealing with all the hazardous situations,” said Chappius, maintenance technician with the City of Perryville, Mo.
With all pumps, valves and controls housed at ground level and outside of the wet well, Chappius can safely and easily inspect the city’s six Wet Well Mounted Pump Stations daily without the extra requirements associated with confined space entry, such as harnesses, gas monitoring equipment and multiple personnel employing the buddy system.
In order to provide this above-grade convenience, Wet Well Mounted Pump Stations are positioned atop the wet well with pumps several feet above the liquid level. A simple suction-lift process called vacuum-priming achieves quick and efficient pump priming in about 60 seconds under standard rated conditions. Once primed, the pump can remain primed for an indefinite period of time.
As a result, a single operator is able to safely inspect stations and conduct routine maintenance when needed. Occasional maintenance tasks, such as pulling an entire pump or changing out a pump seal or impeller, can be completed without employing costly outside contractors or pump maintenance centers. Merely removing eight cap screws from the connecting motor adapter on the station base facilitates full access to the volute and suction elbow in just a few minutes—again, at ground level.
Chappius contrasts the simplicity and time savings of the Smith & Loveless above-grade approach with past submersible experiences.
“With submersible pumps, when you tend to pull those, you end up breaking other components in the lift station and having more down time,” she said.
Eliminating downtime is the goal of any successful pump station design. The Perryville system includes six Wet Well Mounted Pump Stations, and Chappius indicates that familiarity breeds an efficient, ongoing operation supported by the responsive aftermarket support of Smith & Loveless.
“Because the components are similar…you have continuity of maintenance (and) the ease of ordering the parts,” she said. “You get what you need and you get them in speedy fashion.”
The numerous timesaving and safety-first advantages offered by Smith & Loveless above-grade pump stations contribute significantly to lower overall operational costs. Documented studies demonstrate that annual labor-time associated with submersible pump station maintenance and parts is more than double that of Wet Well Mounted Pump Stations. This translates to an average of at least $2,500 in savings per Wet Well Mounted Pump Station per year.
Because they are so easy to operate and maintain and feature durable, factory-built construction, Wet Well Mounted Pumps Stations also offer municipalities the industry’s longest average service life. At the heart of the station’s durable design are Smith & Loveless Non-Clog Pumps, which are constructed with oversized stainless steel shafts, bronze seal housings and oversized bearings that contribute to a typical service life that is three to five times longer than a typical submersible pump.
Chappius and the City of Perryville have experienced the superior longevity of Smith & Loveless above-grade pump stations first hand. The first Wet Well Mounted Station the city installed in 1995 still operates today, two decades later.
“It’s been a tremendously good lift station,” Chappius said. “For where it’s located and what it goes through for day-to-day use, it’s an excellent piece of equipment.”
Longevity stands as a key element of the pump station brand, developed after more than 70 years of pump station designs and tens of thousands of installations. As such, Smith & Loveless has recently introduced its next generation of above-grade stations, known as Everlast Wet Well Mounted Pump Stations. Offering durable pumping accessories like the Duro-Last stainless steel base plate, Everlast stations offer the industry’s longest warranty protection.
With additional operator-friendly features such as Quicksmart controls with color touch-screen interface, new RapidJack Check Valves (providing full valve access in just minutes) and the X-Peller single-vane impeller for combating problem flushables, Everlast stations will continue to offer municipalities such as the City of Perryville the benefits of efficiency, longevity, operator ease and safety and low cost of ownership.
“They have a quality product, and I would recommend it to anyone,” said Chappius.