I typically don’t get to witness the delivery of equipment I’ve sold on a wastewater treatment plant project. But, on October 6th, I was present at the Lancaster WPCF to see the first of three Lakeside Equipment Corporation Type-S screw pumps delivered. The three pumps coming to Lancaster will replace three existing influent screw pumps at the plant. These pumps are noteworthy for a couple reasons.
First, the sale of these pumps was a large order. Personally, who wouldn’t think the delivery of a large order is noteworthy. Second noteworthy reason, the order could have been much larger, nearly twice as large. Wait, did I just say that? That seems a little off…when you’re talking about sales, a larger order is better, right?
Let me explain. When the design for improvements to the Lancaster WPCF was underway, I was asked for a proposal by the design engineer for replacement of the pumps in kind, the same style and type as the existing screw pumps. Lakeside Equipment Corp. provided the proposal as requested, but also told the engineer that there was a better, lower cost, alternative screw pump available for the application.
The existing screw pumps at the treatment plant were what Lakeside calls a Type “C” enclosed screw pump. Type “C” Enclosed Screw Pumps are designed with two convoluted flights that are welded to the inside of a rotating steel tube. This type of screw pump is typically used in applications where the water needs to be lifted higher than an open-flight screw pump can lift.
The lift required for the influent pumping application at the Lancaster WPCF was well within the capabilities of an open flight screw pump. The reason the engineer asked for an enclosed Type “C” pump was concrete troughs for the open flight pumps to rest in didn’t exist. Lakeside knew there was another, more cost-effective solution, Lakeside’s Type ”S” pump. Type “S” Enclosed Screw Pumps utilize the same design and operating principles as Open Screw Pumps but are enclosed in stationary steel tube rather than in an open trough. Don’t have a concrete trough? No problem. We’ll put the open flight screw pump in a tube.
Lower cost? The Type “S” screw pumps for the application at the Lancaster WPCF were half the cost of what the Type “C” pumps would’ve been. Wow! That’s value plain and simple! It is very rewarding and feels great to provide such value for a community. The money saved will allow for Lancaster to apply the money saved to additional needed improvements.
Lakeside Equipment Corporation has been designing and building screw pumps for over 50 years. They make screw pumps that range from 12” to 144” in diameter for pump rates ranging from 90 to 55,000 gallons per minute. All of Lakeside’s pumps are fabricated in Chariton, Iowa by Johnston Machine Works using U.S. steel. More importantly, Lakeside designs and builds their pumps to provide years of service. Most operating trouble-free for more than 20 years. Now that’s true value.
I learned a new acronym today. NRW – Non-Revenue Water. What is Non-Revenue Water? It’s the difference between the amount of water supplied into a distribution system and the amount of water that is billed to the customers.
Why isn’t it billed for?
Apparent Losses – inaccurate metering, data handling/billing errors, and theft
Real (Physical) Losses – leakages and overflows
Authorized Unbilled – system flushing, firefighting, special users
I learned about NRW in this white paper produced by the State of Green (more about the State of Green in a later post).
I was shocked to learn 25% – 50% of distributed water is not paid for. That’s like a company’s delivery truck going down the street with the rear door open and the products falling out the back. I don’t know how any business can be sustainable if 25% – 50% of their product is not paid for. Water is a scarce resource. The UN projects water consumption will increase 30% by 2050. This is why every water utility should be focusing on reducing their NRW.
There are several steps utilities should take now:
Decide the reducing their NRW is necessary and make it a priority.
Create a NRW reduction Master Plan starting with a Water Audit.
Make sure the resulting NRW master plan is understood from the highest level of the utility to the lowest.
Conduct the Water Audit annually and modify or correct the master plan as necessary.
The four levers a utility has to pull to reduce their NRW are:
Active leakage control
System pressure management
Speed and quality of repairs
The utility should pull these levers based on the highest return on investment. Basically starting where they will get the most “bang for the buck”.
When investing in equipment and materials the utility should consider only quality products with long warranties. Selecting them based on the principals of Total Cost of Ownership, not just the purchase price. For instance, the purchasing cost of a pump is only 5% of the pump’s total cost over its lifetime. Maintenance cost accounts for 10% and energy costs accounts for the remaining 85% of the Total Cost of Ownership. Total Cost of Ownership demands that engineers and owners approach equipment selection from a different perspective. This will be a topic I’d like to cover in a later post.
Training is also a critical component. Having a well trained staff across the organization will help make each “lever” more effective. Innovative on-line training is available to help in this regard. The on-line platforms provide consistent and accurate training information across an organization.
Utilities should also keep their eye trained on innovations within the industry such as on-line training. The continuous innovation in equipment and process development that is taking place within the industry should be evaluated and incorporated into the program as seen fit.
At the beginning I said I found this NRW Reduction white paper on the State of Green Website. Here’s a link to the webpage for the white paper so you can download it for yourself if you’re interested.
We have reason to celebrate! Smith Environmental received an order from Peterson Construction Co. for two Neutralox Odor Control systems in February. Peterson is in contract with the Delaware County Regional Sewer District to construct the Lower Alum Creek Relief Pump Station. This project has two Neutralox odor control units on it, one being installed at the pump station, and one being installed at the Alum Creek WRF headworks building. These will be the first Neutralox systems operating in Ohio.
This order is a result of a pilot demonstration conducted at the Alum Creek WRF in August 2018. This was the first pilot demonstration Smith Environmental did with Neutralox. It’s only fitting that our first Neutralox order is a result of our first pilot. Obviously, the pilot was a success. The Neutralox system was shown to be very effective at eliminating the odors from high concentrations of H2S in the influent chamber at the plant headworks.
In fact, all odors in the air treated by the Neutralox unit were eliminated. The H2S removal efficiency was verified by Odaloggers. But, more importantly, a basic sniff test proved that all odors were eliminated. Simply putting your nose in the pilot exhaust and taking a deep breath was all that was really needed to know that the Neutralox system worked, eliminating all odors.
Since Neutralox is relatively new to Ohio you may not be familiar with it. Neutralox uses photoionization to oxidize and neutralize odorous compounds such as H2S, mercaptans, and dimethyl-sulfide. Photoionization is a non-proprietary process using low pressure UV lamps and a catalyst to create strong oxidants such as OH– and ozone. We like to say, “Neutralox doesn’t discriminate, it oxidizes all odors!”
There are more than 30 Neutralox installations in North America. They’re at locations where no odors are acceptable. Pretty much wherever there are people living, working, shopping, going to school, etc… You’ll find them treating odors at sewer lift stations, treatment plant headworks, sludge storage tanks, and sludge dewatering facilities. Utilities find Neutralox systems very attractive because they are so effective at eliminating odors and because they need very little attention with low operating costs.
Spring is just around the corner and with the warmer weather come increased odors. The COVID vaccines are rolling out in ever increasing numbers which means we’ll be able to get back to pilot demonstrations. Maybe as early as this summer. We’re currently getting our Neutralox pilot all tuned up so we’re ready for a season of piloting. Contact me about arranging a pilot demonstration. I’d love to show you what we can do on your worst odors.