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The Suffolk County Department of Public Works Stony Brook Pump Station was facing ongoing interruptions to pumping operations as a result of “ragging”—a common challenge in wastewater pumping where a buildup of fibrous materials leads to frequent pump blockages.
Xylem proposed a new technology—Flygt Concertor, a wastewater pumping system with integrated intelligence—as a solution to this challenge, delivering positive results: ragging was significantly reduced and clogging was eliminated.
“Unplanned downtime as a result of ragging was becoming a frequent and significant challenge for us,” said Ron Warren, director of operations and maintenance (now retired), for the Stony Brook wastewater pumping station. “Clearing a pump is a costly, dirty and unpleasant task that requires a maintenance team and often a crane. We were looking for a reliable, efficient solution that would eliminate this challenge and deliver cost savings.”
This was not a pump problem; this was a flow problem. Therefore, in August 2015, operators of the Stony Brook facility agreed to install and trial test a Concertor—a pumping system designed to ensure clean wet wells, clog-free operation, and drastically reduce unplanned vacuum cleaning call-outs. The system’s benefits quickly became apparent.
The pump station was a standard duplex pump station with two pumps installed. Suffolk County Department of Public Works personnel removed one pump from the pump station and installed the new Concertor in its place as the lead pump. A factory technician then installed the controller and input the settings. The entire process took about one hour.
Operators closely monitored the pumping system and positive results were clear within one month. Before installing the system, it was necessary to lift the pump regularly to remove fibrous materials caught in the impeller. Maintenance call-outs were as frequent as once every three months. Maintenance cost reduction was about $1,500 for personnel and $2,500 in equipment costs for the year, approximated Warren.
With the new wastewater pumping system, the pump clogging was completely eliminated, saving time and money. This intelligent system included automatic pump down of the well, reducing the need to clean the well of grease accumulations and reduced level control rod failure.
“For me, it is the ‘intelligence’ offered by Concertor that really sets the system apart,” Warren said. “The patented Energy Minimizer Function ensures that all of the pumps run at their most efficient duty points, taking this responsibility out of the hands of the operator. An IE4 high-efficiency motor, self-cleaning Adaptive N-hydraulics and constant power functionality complement the system’s other features to deliver optimum efficiency. As a result, we saw a significant drop in our energy bill, somewhere in the area of 20% to 30%.”
Since there is no need for ventilation, cooling or heating of cabinets with this system, customers benefit from substantial energy savings over the system’s total lifecycle.