Lift Station Eliminates Confined Space

Dec. 18, 2018

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Tough-to-access submersible pumps complicated life and increased costs for maintenance workers at the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro, U.K.

“Our original submersible pump [stations] were no longer maintainable by our in-house staff,” said Leslie Dey, estates officer for the hospital. “Keeping up with the training to send anyone down there would have been a massive cost.”

Routine operations and maintenance items such as pulling a pump to change a seal or impeller required dangerous confined-space entry, including permits, tripods, safety harnesses, air monitoring equipment and more. 

“A lot of it was just far too costly to do in house,” Dey said. “It was eventually all contracted out.” 

Constantly increasing patient levels and frequent flushing of rags, gloves and other disposable products contributed to frequent and costly pump clog events. These pump clogs always resulted in temporary service interruptions and were contracted out at a great cost to the hospital.

“We now live in a very disposable world,” Dey said. “Use a disposable wipe to clean things down and it’s popped in the nearest toilet and left for someone else to deal with.”

Dey was able to take back ownership of his lift station equipment and reduce operations costs by converting from submersible pumps to Smith & Loveless’ (S&L’s) Everlast wet well mounted pump station. 

The pump station simplifies operator access and eliminates confined-space concerns by mounting a complete lift station above ground and inside a quick-access enclosure. Routine inspection and maintenance tasks can be completed by a single operator, paving the way for low life cycle costs.

“The beauty of the equipment all being above ground is that all of our guys can access that fairly easy,” Dey said. “It’s all inside that one neat little package that they can all maintain.”

The system was completely factory-built and shipped directly to the jobsite. Installation was completed in less than a day after the station was set in place, connections of the inlet and outlet piping were made, and electrical connections were complete.

“It allowed us to maintain no disruption to the hospital whatsoever, and from our reactive team’s point of view, that’s fantastic,” Dey said. “We could ensure we had all services running right up until switchover.”

Dey and his staff inspect their pump station daily and conduct routine maintenance tasks with ease. Since the switch from submersibles, contractor costs have been eliminated by the hospital. 

“This option of the aboveground pump station not only allowed us to take back ownership of our equipment and be able to maintain it ourselves in-house, we’ve dropped the service contract for the unit entirely. We just haven’t needed it,” Dey said.

While the hospital used to experience frequent pump clog events, S&L’s mono-port X-Peller non-clog pump impeller has eliminated pump clogs at the site during its first year of service. 

“We’ve almost forgotten we have the pump station on site, which for us is a fantastic position to be in in comparison to where we were previously,” Dey said. 

The aboveground station also has made a difference to the maintenance staff at the hospital. Staff can safely and easily maintain the aboveground pump station, without the use of contractors and apply these time savings to other critical facility maintenance tasks. 

“I would 100% recommend this product,” Dey said. “You can take back ownership for your group without relying on contractors to come in. Your own in-house team are all trained by Smith & Loveless to be able to deal with any faults they may or may not come across in the future.

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