A Real Grease Job

Aug. 26, 2003
Flossmoor, Ill. pump station incorporates unique application to help unclog grease out of pump intakes

Last year, the Village of Flossmoor, Ill. faced an unusual problem at their Flossmoor Commons Sewage Pump Station as grease was accumulating at a very rapid pace.

"The grease got to a point where it was five feet deep," Alan Ohlendorf, a utility operator for the Village of Flossmoor told Water & Wastes Digest.

According to Ohlendorf, the grease build-up occurred approximately every eight weeks as the pump station collected the wastes from a nearby strip mall, which included several restaurants. Following the discovery of the grease, numerous attempts to determine the exact source of the grease were unsuccessful.

Invariably, this grease caused a multitude of problems including the clogged pump intakes, interference with level sensors, and a blocked influent line.

Accordingly, the Village of Flossmoor made several attempts with various products to reduce this grease level, finding little or no success.

These unsuccessful attempts resulted in numerous emergency calls and a tremendous amount of overtime maintenance for the village. The resulting increase in costs quickly exceeded the village's maintenance budget.

Additionally, the village also began to incorporate regular vacuum cleanings of the wet well in an effort to reduce the emergency calls and additional costs. However, the collected waste had to be classified as hazardous material, which resulted in extremely expensive handling and disposal fees from the removal company.

Designed to mix

Per the variables mentioned previously, the village agreed to install a Depth Charge Wet Well Mixing System, which was designed and manufactured by Precision Systems. According to the manufacturer, the unit is unique among wet well mixing systems in that it is the first system specifically designed to mix floating/non-suspended solids within a wastewater wet well.

Additionally, it is a self-contained system with no moving parts in the wet well. The system operates using a series of injectors installed on the wall of the wet well that inject high-pressure air around the outside diameter of the wet well. The air is supplied by a compressor contained in the system's control panel, which interfaces with the pump control panel.

Critical system

The pump station's level sensors control operation of the system. When the wet well level reaches the lead pump "On Level," the system's control panel delays the start of the pump to allow it to begin its operation cycle. Following the end of the operation cycle, there is a short pause cycle to allow the injected air to escape from the water. At the end of the cycles, which takes a total time of less than 10 seconds, the lead pump is allowed to start and operate as normal.

The operation is automatic and self-contained as it does not require the addition of any chemicals or agents to achieve this mixing.

It is during the operation cycle that the effervescent action of the injected air causes significant turbulence on the surface of the wet well.

Solids floating on the surface of the water are mixed into the water. But before the solids can escape their entrainment, the lead pump is started and the suspended solids are removed from the station.

Since the Village of Flossmoor installed the system in February 2002, the problems, and the according additional maintenance have been eliminated.

"I no longer have any major maintenance at this station and I am very happy with it," said Ohlendorf. "It's back to being what I consider a normal lift station with normal maintenance."

For further information, contact Precision Systems at 708/891-4300.

Sponsored Recommendations

Get Utility Project Solutions

June 13, 2024
Lightweight, durable fiberglass conduit provides engineering benefits, performance and drives savings for successful utility project outcomes.

Energy Efficient System Design for WWTPs

May 24, 2024
System splitting with adaptive control reduces electrical, maintenance, and initial investment costs.

Meeting the Demands of Wastewater Treatment Plants

May 24, 2024
KAESER understands the important requirements wastewater treatment plant designers and operators consider when evaluating and selecting blowers and compressed air equipment. In...

Modernize OT Cybersecurity to Mitigate Risk

April 25, 2024
Rockwell Automation supports industry-leading Consumer Packaged Goods company, Church & Dwight, along their industrial cybersecurity journey.