Pumping Systems

Robust and reliable pumping facilities are essential for all water and wastewater treatment, collection, and distribution systems.  Pumping facilities must be ready for service on a 24-7-365 basis, and often must handle a wide range of operating conditions.

Most water and wastewater systems include pumps of many different ages, sizes, manufacturers, model numbers, flows, heads, speeds, and operating histories.  Some pumps and pumping facilities seem to run effortlessly, while others seem to be prone to problems.  Many factors can affect this, but these are not always readily apparent.  Initial pump selection, rated conditions, pump model, efficiency, impeller geometry, installation, alignments, suction and discharge piping, storage, net positive suction head, valves, repair histories, run times, and operating schedules – these can all be part of the story.  Special problems such as air entrainment, cavitation, vortices, or vibration may also be involved.

In many cases, a pump may be operating far away from its expected best efficiency point due to wear of the pump itself and/or due to unexpected conditions within the piping or storage systems.  Interaction with other pumps can also significantly affect a pump’s performance.  Poor pump operation can affect operating costs in several ways, including higher energy costs to pump the same volume of water, shorter pump life, and higher maintenance costs.  All of these create higher life cycle costs.

A practical hydraulic analysis or troubleshooting review can diagnose and provide solutions to many pump operating problems.

To learn more, contact:

Ned Paschke, PE, DEE