How to Pump Wet Wipes and Cooking Oil

Pumping wet wipes at a municipal wastewater treatment facility

Pumping wet wipes at a municipal wastewater treatment facility

Wastecorp employees read a story posted on YAHOO! from Yahoo and Thames Water’s Website (Thames water is responsible for sewer maintenance in London, England) about a “fatberg” comprised of cooking oil, wet wipes and more which was roughly the size of a Boeing 747. In our weekly global meeting, many on the call contributed to the discussion because in almost every pump markets globally, our customers have to manage either issues relating to cooking oil or solids in the sewer system.  The manufacturers of wet wipes worldwide have said that they are researching and developing new products that will help to reduce the clumping issue. But the primary contributor to this problem is not the wet wipes; no one should be dumping cooking oil down the drain – ever. As the YAHOO! article says, when you dump hot cooking oil down the drain into the cold sewer system the fat congeals and clings to anything including the wipes, toilet paper or other solids.

Related: Thames Water Press Release about the “Fatberg”

Here is North America; municipal wastewater treatment operators routinely voice their concerns to us about the use of wet pipes by the general public and then flushing them down the toilet.  “Do you guys make a pump that can better handle the wet wipes” is a question Wastecorp frequently receives at our sludge pump call centers.  Jim K. from Winston Salem North Carolina tells it like it is:

“ All these wet wipes that come into our mid-size WWTP are wreaking havoc on our pumps. We use rotary lobe pumps and progressive cavity pumps and they just clog them causing them to fail and then thousands worth of damage. We need to go a different route.  Our city engineer was looking at Wastecorp’s website and suggested we ask about either your plunger pump or double disc pump options.” We need some guidance here please.”  Jim K. – Winston Salem, NC

Well Jim, the rotary lobe and progressive cavity companies will sell you the same story: go with our pumps – they’re new. They are leaving out an important fact most lobe and progressive cavity pumps have been around just as long as plunger pumps, (+- 75 years) and most of lobe and progressive cavity pumps don’t do a good job of handling solids. When it comes to plunger pumps, they are a lot less likely to clog. The check balls and pistons move sludge and wet wipes and send them on their way. You should also consider a screen and a grinder in your WWTP process, but having a pump more capable of handling solids will go along way.

Jim, like your city engineer said, many WWTP’s your size have selected either a plunger pump or a double disc pump to manage these wet wipes. We see a lot of facilities your size going the route of the Sludge Master® PE-941 SSIII or our Sludge Pro® 4DDWP™ Double Disc Pump Series. Unless your facility has an endless budget to keep replacing rotors, stators and bearings your facility would be wise to consider other pump options. More info can be found at www.wastecorp.com

Related: Waste oil pumps and containment systems 

 

Sewer Overflows Becoming an Increasing Problem for Cities

Sewer Overflow Problem in Modern Cities

Sewer Overflow Problem in Modern Cities

When we visit our customers at wastewater treatment plants and ask operators “what are your facility’s most pressing concerns?”, the answers we most frequently hear are ever tightening budget constraints and dealing with aging infrastructure. And this concern echoes not only in the United States, but in many parts of the world.  So this is nothing new right? City budget problems have existed for years. Well, the problem is that aging infrastructure designed to treat sewage may not be equipped for rising urban populations and shrinking green space to protect us from harmful bacteria and other negative health effects.

A New York Times article highlights these concerns. For example, more than 9400 of 25000 American sewage systems have reported violating environmental laws by dumping partially treated human waste, chemicals and other hazardous materials in lakes, rivers and waterways.  “This may contribute to more than 20 million illnesses each year in the U.S. alone from drinking water contaminated with bacteria and other pathogens that spread from untreated waste.”* When sewage systems overflow they may be discharged close to water intake points or public beaches which is of major concern.*

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Oil Water Separator Pumps

White Castle Restaurants Mud Sucker Diaphragm Pumps

White Castle Restaurants Mud Sucker Diaphragm Pumps

State-of-the art food processing facilities and the engineers who design them have a challenge in finding the right pumps and control panels to transfer process wastewater. This was the case for fast food restaurant chain White Castle’s innovative processing center in Ohio USA. Wastecorp worked with White Castle,  local contractor PAE and Associates  (who specialize in Wastewater treatment plant construction) and the consulting engineer on the job Facility Design Group, Atlanta.

The specifications on the project called for two of Wastecorp’s Mud Sucker 3B Series Professional Diaphragm Pumps to draw process wastewater containing fats, oils and other liquids from a 13’ deep lift station to an external rotary screen. In this sophisticated operation, the lead Mud Sucker is programmed to turn on when the wastewater reaches a depth of 5 ft. or when the wastewater reaches a liquid temperature of 82°F. The second Mud Sucker or lag pump is programmed to turn on once the wastewater reaches a depth of 6 ft. The combined pumps are programmed to operate at 100 gallons per minute with a flow meter installed on the discharge pipe to meter pumped wastewater. The Mud Suckers’ then transfer the wastewater to an external rotary screen. After screening, the wastewater flows into a PH adjustment mixing chamber where the PH is monitored and acid or base is added as required.

In this custom project, Wastecorp manufactured the Mud Sucker Diaphragm Pumps and supplied all of the control panels, and electronics based on White Castle’s current needs and made provisions for an expanding facility down the road. An advanced NEMA 4 pump control panel with touch screen display, variable speed drive, thermostat, custom plc program and hand held unit allows the operator to easily monitor and make changes to the process. An innovative Waatco over the side heater ensures that the wastewater reaches 82°F to allow for proper oil/water separation.

When it comes time to plan your wastewater transfer process, Wastecorp provides the professionally designed and engineered pumps, control panels and optional equipment needed for a long term, high quality solution. Contact us today at 1-888-829-2783 or visit us at wastecorp.com

Diaphragm Pump Fleet Options

diaphragm pump fleet options

Diaphragm pump fleet options

Recently, many industries ranging from food processing companies, miners, agribusiness, and companies with general wastewater pumping requirements such as pump rental companies have been inquiring about how to standardize their diaphragm pump fleets. Steve R, from Gainesville GA sells pumps all over the Southern United States include North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Texas and more. We have worked with Steve on standardizing fleets for well known meat packers, poultry producers and multinational construction equipment rental companies before. His recent comments exemplify increasing inquiries we are getting of this nature. Continue reading

Pumping Stringy Material at Wastewater Plants

Stringy material pump

Stringy material pump

Any wastewater treatment plant operator will typically tell you that one of the biggest hassles they face daily is pumping stringy material from a variety of sources. The problem here is that the material tends to get stuck in the impellers of trash pumps and wreak havoc on lobe pumps. Phil from Clyde, Texas tells us about his quest to find a better solution:

“A buddy of mine has been using your Mud Sucker diaphragm pumps at a public works facility down the road from me and we are considering the same. Our WWTP pumps a lot of stringy material from mops and unknown fibrous material. We are using non clog trash pumps now but make no mistake, the impeller still gets clogged. We need something better. We have seen diaphragms used on honey wagons to pump all sorts of material and they have worked. We work with less than 5% solids and need to pump around 100 GPM with a TDH of about 15’. What do you recommend and what do I need to budget?” – Phil H. Clyde, Texas
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