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Ways to Reduce Operator Time Spent on Wastewater Operations

In 2019, the median pay for wastewater treatment plant and system operators was just under $23 an hour. It’s an important job, but it’s also imperative that districts try to manage costs for the residents and businesses in that area. Optimizing your workforce is an important step, but it’s just the first step to take.

There’s another reason to optimize your employment strategies. The recent pandemic is forcing wastewater treatment districts to make sure employees are spaced for social distancing. With a goal of six feet, careful planning is important. Plus, some workers may be unable to return to work if they have COVID-19 or are caring for someone with the virus. Thought needs to go into the adjustments that keep the right staffing levels without sacrificing productivity.

How do you best manage your employees and make sure the time spent on wastewater treatment operations isn’t wasted time? How do you optimize your operator’s time? These are the best ways to cut costs without sacrificing work quality.

Evaluate the Strengths and Weaknesses in Your Current Wastewater Treatment System

Complete a thorough site review. Look at the equipment you have in your wastewater facility and track flow rates, the amount of maintenance that’s performed each week, month, or year, and how old it is. See how many hours the equipment is at peak flow rates and when the wastewater isn’t coming in as fast. In many communities, morning showers and dinner hours are going to be the busiest. See if that matches up with what the operators experience each day.

Take time to ask the operators of that equipment how comfortable they are and if they encounter frequent issues. If there are problems, what has to be done to fix them. How many hours are operators spending on fixing issues or waiting for maintenance? Now, ask them how much time they spend sitting back and monitoring the different processes. This impacts productivity.

Look at the growth in your district. If the population has increased by 20% in the past couple of years, you have to consider how well your system can keep up with the growth. It could be time to rethink things and plan a major upgrade.

Is weather impacting the amount of wastewater entering the system? Has winter snow accumulation drastically increased over the past decade? Are sudden downpours or an increase in hurricanes more frequent than in the past? You can’t control the weather, but you can design a system that handles the unexpected and more frequent stormwater rushing into the plant.

Put Extra Time and Energy Into Training

Productivity also relies on the employees you have. Operators need to know what they’re doing and how to accommodate any surprises that pop up during the day. If you run into employees who seem to struggle more than others, they may just need some additional training. Look into workshops for them or put them with your best worker to hone their skills.

People learn at different rates. What took one operator a week to learn may take someone else two weeks. Try not to rush workers who are doing their best. If you train them too fast, they’re more likely to make mistakes. Operators who are pushed to learn quickly and don’t feel supported may just walk away. Can you afford to lose an employee and have to start from scratch?

On the other hand, you don’t want to waste time training a worker who is more interested in checking a phone than working. You should take time with someone who is trying hard to master the equipment, but you need to know when it’s a lost cause. Try to spot the dedicated employees from those who simply want the money and aren’t willing to put in an effort. The quicker you can weed out the good from the bad, the more time you’ll be able to dedicate to training the right people.

Embrace Automation and Real-Time Monitoring

When your operators are spending a lot of time fixing issues and manually changing settings, it wastes their time. Embrace automated wastewater treatment equipment that uses modern technology like real-time monitoring and adjusts settings automatically. You still need wastewater treatment plant operators, but they have a helping hand in meeting efficiency goals.

You want a system with real-time monitoring. When equipment points out problems at the exact moment they happen, it’s far more helpful than learning that something’s wrong as wastewater backs up or exits the plant before the raw sewage is properly treated. Untreated raw sewage during heavy rainfall or flooding isn’t ideal and can lead to fines. Real-time monitoring adjusts for increased flow rates and makes changes accordingly.

Computers help operators with efficiency and water treatment quality. Look for equipment that has computerized systems that can handle the routine tasks and alert the operator to potential problems before things get really bad.

Use the Sharp Biological Nutrient Removal (SharpBNR) process control system to monitor and optimize aeration rates during wastewater treatment. If more aeration is needed, the computer automatically adjusts rotor speeds. If aeration can be slower, again the computer will take care of it. SharpBNR is easily paired with SCADA to make sure water treatment processes are meeting goals. The system is designed to send out alerts and alarms as warnings of issues to make sure nothing gets overlooked.

Upgrade to Low-Maintenance Equipment

It’s a good time to look at upgrading older equipment with equipment that doesn’t require the same amount of maintenance. You’ll save money on maintenance, have less downtime, and increase productivity. Your maintenance team may not need to be as heavily staffed, and you’ll be able to transfer workers to other areas where they’re needed.

Start with the screw pumps. Depending on your plant’s size, you may need to save space with a Type C Enclosed Screw Pump. If you have plenty of space, an Open Screw Pump may work better. Your key consideration needs to be clog-free designs that improve efficiency.

Screening products are another component in wastewater treatment plant efficiency. The Raptor Multi-Rake Bar Screen uses a set of rakes to get into the screen’s openings to remove debris quickly and completely. This system is designed to be low maintenance and goes into reverse to free up jams.

Those are good places to start. Look at your list of current wastewater treatment equipment and see what’s older and going through frequent repairs. Upgrading that equipment is ideal. If it’s simply not in the budget, replacing worn parts is the second-best option. Energy-efficient motors and pumps will make a difference.

Partner With an Expert

When it’s decided that you should upgrade or replace equipment, select engineers and installers who will make sure your system meets your budget and exact needs. Choose your partner in wastewater treatment upgrades carefully. You need to balance costs with expertise, and some companies just don’t have the same experience as others.

Have you considered having experts walk through your wastewater treatment plant and offer suggestions for optimizing your system? It’s a good place to start. Lakeside Equipment’s engineers design efficient, cost-effective systems that are customized to a client’s needs.

Lakeside Equipment’s foundations go back 92 years. Our experts have helped communities across the U.S. plan, engineer, and maintain their water treatment systems. We provide quality wastewater treatment equipment that’s designed to meet your budget and operation goals. Give us a call to discuss your needs.

Wastewater Treatment Plant Energy Efficiency Tips

How do you make your wastewater treatment plant energy efficient? It’s estimated that upwards of 60% of a plant’s operating expenses are electricity costs. The EPA believes that around 4% of all U.S. electricity usage occurs in wastewater treatment. It also results in over 45 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions. Before taking any steps to improve your plant’s efficiency, look into an energy audit. It will help you create a blueprint of what equipment uses the most energy. That gives you the important first step into figuring out where to upgrade equipment and technology in order to cut costs.

Once you’ve completed an audit, pay attention to energy use from one week to the next. Are there extreme increases in usage? Do they happen as expected in the morning rush when people are getting to school or work and again at night when people return home? Those increases are expected. If you’re seeing a drastic increase at 2 a.m., there could be a problem that needs to be addressed.

While upgrades and changes to your water treatment system can cost some money, you can’t automatically dismiss it due to the cost. Over the next months and years, the money you’ve spent is likely to be paid back just in savings on your plant’s electricity bills. These are some of the areas of concern and changes you should consider making.

Add an On-Site Renewable Energy Source

Have you thought about investing in a renewable energy source at your plant? Solar and wind are possible options. With grants and solar rebates, it’s possible to pay very little to have this type of system installed.

In a sunny location, solar panels can draw the energy from the UV rays and convert it to electricity. Wind turbines do the same. How well they work depends on your location. If your water treatment plant is located in an area where the sun shines most days, solar energy is a must. Even in areas where there’s a mix of sunny days and rainy ones, you will generate some energy on rainy days, too.

Prineville, Oregon, decided to upgrade the water treatment plant with solar panels. They worked out an arrangement with the city to slash power bills in half. Westlake Solar Panels installed panels on seven acres at the wastewater treatment plant without a charge. In return, Westlake will provide a lower electricity rate that is low enough to cut the wastewater treatment plant’s electricity bills from an average of $200,000 a year to $100,000.

Not every day is windy, but a higher elevation or valley may have consistent breezes. Those winds can turn the blades on a wind turbine and create some of the power needed to run a wastewater treatment plant. If it’s windy in your area, wind turbines are beneficial at cutting electricity bills.

Rhode Island’s Field’s Point Wastewater Treatment Facility received a grant to study wind power. The plant spends about $2.5 million each year on electricity. By spending $14 million installing three wind turbines, estimates were that the plant would save over $1 million each year and also reduce greenhouse gases.

Check for Leaks and Malfunctions and Make Repairs ASAP

You don’t want wastewater lines leaking all over. It lowers pressure and can affect efficiency. It’s also messy and takes extra work to clean up leaks. Broken or malfunctioning equipment is also going to impact efficiency. There’s another important factor to consider. You could be fined if you released untreated wastewater into the environment.

You should be checking your equipment regularly to make sure things are working as expected. If repairs are needed, delaying them can impact productivity, use more electricity, and end up costing you more. A strong maintenance team is a great defense here. If you have a team who are experienced in diagnosing, troubleshooting, and determining when a piece of equipment has outlived its usefulness, you’ll have someone who can quickly get your equipment back up and running and let you know when it’s time to upgrade to something new.

Purchase Systems Controls That Use SCADA Feedback

Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) is a system that analyzes equipment in a plant and uses the data it gathers to tell systems controls what to do using that real-time information. With SCADA managing controls, it makes sure flow rates and pumps and other equipment are in sync to prevent overflows. If something is way off, it can set off alarms and alert workers.

Suffolk County Department of Public Works installed a SCADA system to manage the sewer system in Long Island. Doing so saved the county more than $180,000 each year. In just one year, the system helped Suffolk County reduce emergency calls and allow technicians to stop having to travel miles to inspect over 80 pump stations each day.

Update Lighting Fixtures

Some older wastewater treatment plants still use fluorescent lighting and fixtures that use up far more electricity than necessary. If you upgrade your plant’s lighting to energy-efficient LED fixtures, you can save a lot of money.

Oklahoma’s A.B. Jewell Water Treatment Plant upgraded hundreds of fluorescent, metal halide, and high-pressured sodium light fixtures to LED ones. That cut energy consumption by almost 450,000 kWh each year resulting in an annual savings of $22,000. Plus, the new light fixtures and bulbs were still working perfectly five years later, so maintenance costs were minimal.

Installing Newer HVAC Systems

Some plants have also turned to trapping methane from the water treatment process and using methane for heating. It can drastically reduce heating bills for plants that rely on more expensive heating fuels. Geothermal heating is another option.

In Appleton, Wisconsin, the wastewater treatment plant was heated with cost-effective natural gas. The plant upgraded to a biogas boiler in 2019 and is saving $100,000 in heating costs. It dropped natural gas usage by up to 90%. The cost of the new biogas boiler was just shy of $800,000 and they received a $167,000 rebate for the upgrade. In the end, it’s expected that the savings will pay off the cost of the boiler upgrade in just six years.

Upgrade Aged Water Treatment Equipment

Is upgrading worth the expense? If your equipment is older, there are three reasons to consider an upgrade. One, today’s technology helps plants run at optimal efficiency while using as little electricity as possible. Two, it helps prevent plant overload that leads to raw sewage getting released to the nearby river or lake. Three, older equipment is more likely to break down, which can lead to expected downtime and costly repairs.

Even newer equipment may not suit your needs. If there’s been a rush of growth in your area, you may be straining your system with more homes and businesses than your system was designed to manage. Newer equipment will meet the increased demand.

Older equipment hasn’t been designed to reduce electricity consumption. Newer pumps and blowers help to cut electricity bills. Entire components can increase productivity when needed and turn things off during slower times.

In Green Bay, Wisconsin, they updated the blowers on their aeration equipment in two plants. By switching to energy-efficient blowers, they cut electricity usage in half. The Albert Lea Wastewater Treatment Plant in Minnesota installed a combined heat-power system and saved around $100,000 every year.

Even a small change at your wastewater treatment plant can make a huge difference. Lakeside can help you plan the right upgrades to cut your power bills and help your plant run at optimal efficiency. Reach us by phone or email to discuss your energy-efficiency goals.

How COVID-19 Will Impact Wastewater Treatment

Every corner of the country has been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Across the nation, there have been more than 5.75 million cases of COVID-19 and more than 177,700 deaths. It’s alarming to think of how fast this virus has spread during 2020. One area people don’t think about is the impact of COVID-19 on wastewater treatment.

While it might not be something you stop to consider, COVID-19 has impacted the wastewater treatment industry, too. It’s affected wastewater treatment in several ways ranging from increased residential wastewater to clogged pipes and equipment. There’s also the fact that the body does shed the virus through the waste that ends up in the wastewater traveling through sewer lines and into residential septic systems.

The CDC and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services have started a surveillance program to track the levels of COVID-19 in wastewater. While no one has found evidence of the virus spreading through wastewater (treated or untreated), the virus is present in the feces of those who have the virus. By studying patterns, experts know where they should be looking for COVID-19 clusters and making testing available.

The other reason it’s important for wastewater treatment plants to test for COVID-19 is to keep workers safe. Employees who work in wastewater treatment plans should take protective measures with personal protective equipment and safe practices at work. Doing so can eliminate the risk of contamination from untreated wastewater.

Problems With Clogged Lines and Equipment

One of the problems wastewater treatment plants are facing with the pandemic has been trash in the sewer lines. Around the nation, wastewater treatment plants are facing issues from a large increase in protective gloves, masks, and disinfecting wipes making their way into sewer lines and wastewater treatment plants. People are flushing these items instead of disposing of them in the trash as they should.

Most toilet papers disintegrate in water. It usually takes no more than 24 hours. Wet wipes don’t break down as quickly. They may flush and make it through toilet pipes, but as they travel through the sewer, they can catch on tree roots, curves, and other items and collect other items. Soon, there’s a huge blockage of fat, feces, napkins, tampons, and wipes that isn’t breaking down. It slows down the wastewater’s flow and can lead to sewer backups and spills.

As the pandemic started, toilet paper stocks decreased. Soon, toilet paper shortages were affecting everyone. People were turning to baby wipes, makeup removers, and any other moist wipe they could use in place of toilet paper. Napkins and paper towels were other items people were using in place of toilet paper. Rather than throw them into the trash, as they needed to, they were flushing them. These items do not break down quickly. They were causing clogs in sewer lines and water treatment equipment.

Latex or non-latex gloves and disposable masks were other items getting flushed. Again, they don’t degrade in water, so they were clogging lines. In Washington, a bill was signed making it illegal to flush non-flushable wipes starting on July 1, 2022. In Tennessee, one town’s sewer workers started cleaning sewer pumping stations twice a week instead of once a month. An Air Force base in California has crews working 16-hour shifts to remove clogs from pipes. In Maryland, one wastewater pumping station saw an increase of more than 37,000 pounds of wipes during the first quarter of 2020.

All of this is costing cities and towns a fortune in additional hours and repairs. People need to remember to only flush toilet paper and human waste. Despite the pleas from one side of the nation to the other, people keep flushing things that cause harm. That’s one of the biggest ways the pandemic has impacted wastewater treatment. Grinder pumps and screens are essential to handling all this increased trash, but not every district has the money available to install them.

Increased Wastewater Flow in Residential Areas

With more people working from home, residential water consumption has also increased. A water monitoring company studied water usage and found it increased by about 21% per day. Some cities saw higher increases. For example, New York City’s residential water consumption increased by 28%. In Minnesota, the increase was 25%. People working from home are doing more laundry, using the toilet more, washing more dishes, and taking more showers. People are also washing hands more as is recommended by the CDC.

This increase in water usage means wastewater treatment plants are treating an increase in water. Water treatment plants that treat a lot of water from commercial industries may see decreases, but water treatment plants serving mostly residential structures are facing large increases that older equipment may not be able to handle.

Another change with water usage is when peak water usage is happening. It used to be that most families showered and ate breakfast in time to catch buses/trains and commute to work or school. Families had to have kids ready to get on the bus for the early morning pick-up. Commuters had to be out of the home early to beat rush hour traffic. Wastewater treatment plants expected the highest water flow around 7 a.m. and again around dinner time or 6 p.m.

Without the rush to commute or get to a bus or train, people shifted their morning routines an hour or two later than normal. Peak water usage is now around 9 a.m. instead of 7 a.m. Water treatment plants expect changing flow rates throughout the day and may use computers to speed up or slow down equipment accordingly. Not every plant is set up this way, however. Changes in flow rates at unexpected hours can cause problems. If treatment plants have flow rates that are higher than anticipated, they may have to ask residents to avoid running appliances during certain hours to reduce the strain on older equipment that cannot keep up.

Does Water Treatment Kill Coronavirus?

People who get their residential and commercial water from treated water do not have to worry about the virus still being present. Wastewater treatment processes kill viruses and bacteria. After filtering wastewater, aerating it, and using chemicals to kill any residual contaminants, water that’s returned to bodies of water or put into storage tanks for public water systems. No evidence of COVID-19 surviving water treatment has been found.

What if untreated wastewater makes it into lakes or streams after heavy rains? There is the chance that COVID-19 will be in untreated water, but there has not been any known case of the virus spreading through wastewater spills. Wastewater treatment plants should do everything possible to prevent untreated wastewater spills by making sure their system can handle an increased capacity and repair broken equipment and lines.

Can steps be taken to eliminate the chances of COVID-19 untreated wastewater from returning to the environment? How can plants anticipate changes in peak water flow? What can be done to stop people from flushing their gloves, masks, and wet wipes? Upgrading equipment is key. Older infrastructure needs to be improved to reduce energy consumption and keep up with changes in wastewater flow rates and screening.

Lakeside Equipment is here for districts that need to repair their equipment due to damage from items that shouldn’t be flushed. We can also help districts upgrade equipment to be more energy-efficient or handle an increase in residential wastewater as people are working from home and cooking more meals at home. Reach us by phone or email for more information on a new wastewater treatment system or to discuss upgrades that will save your district money.

What Is a Positive Displacement Pump?

It came out in May that the worldwide market for positive displacement pumps is forecasted to reach $11.25 billion in the next seven years. That’s almost double the market’s value in 2019. Why are these pumps high in demand? What’s driving the increased need for this specific type of pump? There are several factors.

It helps to understand what positive displacement pumps are used for. They remove liquids from discharge pipes. They’re useful in many industries including wastewater, food and beverage, oil and gas, mining, etc. If you have liquid or fluid matter that needs to be moved from Point A to Point B, a positive displacement pump is your answer. Take a closer look at how these pumps help in these industries, what you should look for, and how they work.

A Guide to How Positive Displacement Pumps Work

Pumps move liquids or fluid materials from one area to another. There are axial-flow pumps fluids in one direction. Liquids come in passes through an impeller and travel out the other end. A centrifugal pump changes the flow by using a motor and impeller to create energy that pushes fluids along. The final option is a positive displacement pump that captures an amount of fluid and forces it into the discharge pipe. The benefit is the pump handles a constant volume even if the pressure changes.

These pumps are categorized by their mechanisms:

  1. Linear-type: Chain or rope pumps
  2. Reciprocating-type: Diaphragm, piston, plunger, or radial piston pumps
  3. Rotary-type: Gear, hollow disk, rotary vane, screw, or vibratory pumps

A linear-type of positive displacement pump uses a chain or rope and some form of a plate or even bucket to displace liquids. Go back in time to an ox-powered water wheel. Oxen were tethered to the big wheel and walked in circles. That motion moved the wheel, which moved the chain or rope along a pulley or up and down a drilled or dug well to collect water from deep within the well. Back up at the surface, the motion at the top of the pulley system dumped the water into a discharge chute while the buckets made a new path. Today, they’re more likely to have a chain and disc system that fits within a tube or pipe. As the discs are pulled up through the tube or pipe, water is trapped and is drawn upward.

Next up is a reciprocating type. How it works depends on the type. Think of the old-fashioned well pump. People pumped the handle and each upward pull of that handle drew water up to the discharge pipe. There’s also a piston pump that also uses the upward pull or downward thrust to move liquids. A diaphragm pump is the other type of reciprocating pump. An air bladder (diaphragm) moves up to decrease pressure or down to increase pressure. If you have a private well, you have a pressure tank that helps water flow from the well to the different water lines within the home.

The final main type of positive displacement pumps is the rotary type. There are five types of rotary positive replacement pumps: gear, hollow disk, rotary vane, screw, or vibratory. Screw pumps are one of the types of pumps you’ll encounter a lot in water treatment plants, which makes them one of the more familiar types. You can have an open or enclosed screw pump. They work by having a giant screw within a closed or open chute or pipe. The blades of that screw capture the fluid from a lower pool of liquid, and the motion of the turning screw propels it upwards and to the top of that chute or pipe.

Screw pumps are popular in so many industries and settings. It’s worth stopping to talk about them. You have open and closed. Open is in a concrete trough, and enclosed is in a steel tube. For enclosed screw pumps, there are the Type C or Type S. Type C pumps have two flights (screws) that are welded into the rotating tube. Type S works oppositely with a stationary tube.

While the mechanics vary, the goal of any pump is the same. The mechanics draw in the fluid material on one side, move it through to the next with the help of motors or human or animal power. For the most part, you’ll be relying on motors to power these pumps. If energy-efficiency is vital to your water treatment plan, home setting, or business, you should look at solar-powered or wind-powered electricity to run your pump.

Their Role in Different Industries

That’s the breakdown of the different types of positive displacement pumps. How are they used in different industries? Getting back to the increased need for positive displacement pumps in the next seven years, a driving force in this is going to be the need to find new options for energy. Natural gas is in high demand and is just one of several hydrocarbons that are drawn from the earth using positive displacement pumps. Because drilling and fracking require a lot of pressure, piston pumps that handle the high-pressure situation are often used.

As some look for environmentally-friendly ways to heat their homes and businesses, hydrocarbons aren’t the first choice. Solar and wind power are one choice, but there’s one that is gaining popularity. Geothermal energy needs powerful pumps to move the water from below ground into the building.

You can use these pumps in a geothermal system. Geothermal energy takes the natural warmth found within the earth and uses it for home heating. You pull the warmer water from deep within the ground where it releases that warmth into the house and discharges the cooled water in a continuing cycle. In the summer, geothermal energy helps keep the house cool. The surface temperature is warmer than the temperature deep in the earth. The cooler water is drawn into the home to cool the air and discharges the warmer water back in the ground to cool again. A positive displacement pump can help keep that flow of water from the underground to the building from coming to a stop.

In water treatment, these pumps move the wastewater from the sewer lines or septage station to the next steps in the treatment process. Screw pumps are the common option in a waste treatment plant. If solids like fat balls or fecal matter won’t mess up the screw pump. They’ll move to the next steps where the sludge is separated for processing. Sludge eventually ends up in disposal tanks where it can be dried and composted or taken to a landfill. More homes and businesses mean more of a load. To meet the increased load, water treatment plants are upgrading and increasing capacity. They’re adding energy-efficient measures to lower overall costs. This all starts by choosing the right pumps and water treatment equipment.

In a rice paddy or other agricultural settings where irrigation is needed, positive displacement pumps move water from another water source to your fields or rice paddies. In rural settings, a tractor may be attached to a chain using a chain pump. In a large commercial field that grows everything from corn to wheat, irrigation systems need to be efficient and move a lot of water every day. These settings may use screw pumps to move water from a lower pond or water tank to the elevated fields. Liquid manure needs to be pumped into trucks for spreading.

Pumps also serve a need in the food industry. A plant that makes sausage needs a way to pump the mix of ground meat and spices into the machines that fill casings. A viscous mixture like pasta sauce needs to be transferred from the vats where it’s cooked into machinery that jars it. Food grade screw pumps do this without breaking down as the acidic sauce passes through the pumps for hours at a time.

How Do You Shop for a Positive Displacement Pump?

What are your needs? Archimedean screw pumps don’t clog and can move the liquids and solids wastewater treatment plants handle. Screw pumps are used in sludge pumping, effluent lift stations, and stormwater management. They can help drain land or move water from a water source to elevated fields. Screw pumps are used to move grain in an agricultural setting. They’re also helpful in moving liquids around in wineries and breweries. While your budget is important, it’s also important to have a clear vision of what the pump will do. Do you need the pump that can process foods or one that will be exposed to the outside elements?

You also need to have a clear idea of where the pump is going so that you get the right size. An enclosed screw pump takes up less space than an open screw pump. A Type S screw pump may take up more space because it has a pivoting end. The pump needs to keep up with the flow rate without causing a backup. How much space is there? If there are space limitations, you need to choose a pump that is the right size for the space you have.

Maintenance is the third factor to weigh carefully. Motors in a pump need to be lubricated or they’ll seize. Some units are designed to be maintenance-free, others require a little more care. How much staff and/or time do you have for upkeep? Do you want to make sure bearings are lubricated after months or years of use or do you prefer the idea of self-contained lubrication that is always there? A Type E Sealed Bearing requires little to no maintenance, and if re-lubrication ever is needed, it’s not time-consuming as you never have to remove the bearing.

Do you have time to clean the components, or should the pump be designed to prevent clogs or build-up? A clog-free design is one of the factors that make Lakeside Equipment’s screw pumps the best choice when it comes to maintenance and cleaning. Screen rakes also help keep trash from getting to your equipment.

Choose a specialist in water treatment and hydropower equipment. Lakeside Equipment’s expertise dates back to 1928. We make sure your goals are met by talking about your budget, space, and district. If you’re in an area where the population growth is rapid, a design that considers that growth is important. If you’re looking for equipment that cuts electricity costs, we can help there, too. Give us a call to learn more about Lakeside’s positive displacement pumps.

How Advances in Wastewater Treatment Are Delivering Cleaner Water

Every advancement that a wastewater treatment plant incorporates helps provide people with cleaner water. If you look back through history, the government didn’t address water pollution until 1948. The Clean Water Act wasn’t established until 1972. At this point, there was finally a law with clear guidelines cities and towns had to follow to prevent polluted water from going back into U.S. bodies of water. It led to construction grants for areas that wanted wastewater treatment plants. It started making our water cleaner.

Since that day, water treatment advancements keep happening. The EPA offers guidelines into the pollutants that water districts must remove and test for. If water treatment hasn’t removed enough of the bacteria, heavy metal, or chemical, the public must be notified and told not to drink the water as it’s not safe and changes must be implemented. Water shouldn’t be released to lakes, rivers, ponds, and streams and if it is authorities must be notified.

Early Wastewater Plans

In the 1850s, London’s Thames River experienced what was known as “The Great Stink of 1858.” At that time, human and animal waste was simply deposited back into the river. During a particularly hot summer, that waste caused the river, which flowed past the Houses of Parliament, to reek and politicians left for their country homes because the smell was too much. They all agreed, however, that a new system needed to be implemented. That led to the creation of London’s first sanitation system and close to 100 miles of sewers.

An ABC system was created that mixed sewer water with alum, blood, clay, magnesium, and other ingredients. This mixture moved from one settling tank to the next before being discharged to a river. The problem was that the mixture only started to clean the water. Remaining solids were treated with sulfuric acid to reduce ammonia and used as fertilizer. This process didn’t work effectively and didn’t address the foul odors of the water and solids.

Meanwhile, scientists in Massachusetts started their own experiments using sand filters to purify sewer water. The tests were successful at removing many water-borne illnesses like typhoid. Additional experiments held back in England found that if the remaining sludge was aerated to remove organics and convert any remaining ammonia to nitrite.

Advancements in Water Treatment Equipment

Those steps led to the process of treating wastewater. Equipment is an important part of the process. Grit removal, screening, and oxidation work together to clean water. Water enters a water treatment plant and screw pumps help move it from one area to the next. Screens remove trash and larger objects that cannot be cleaned, such as tampon applicators or plastic wrappers. Sludge settles and is removed. Remaining fluids are aerated and Biological Nutrient Removal takes place to remove nitrogen and phosphorus. What advancements are helping with cleaner water?

#1 – Solar and Wind Powered Plants

One area where water treatment technologies are seeing important advancements are with sustainability. Sustainable water treatment technologies are helping further protect the environment and water sources. states that while Earth’s surface is 3% water, no more than 0.5% of it can be used for drinking water. Many people get their water from underground aquifers, but there’s a danger of those drying up in the next 100 years. Reusing water is critical if we are to prevent water shortages. Reusing water requires effective cleaning, which requires power. Solar can help with effective cleaning that minimizes one’s carbon footprint.

Solar-powered water treatment equipment is a trending way to deliver clean water. If you’re harnessing the power of the sun to power a water treatment plant, it reduces the emissions going into the air. You don’t have the soot and smoke from fossil fuels going into the atmosphere that end up in the rain that falls back to the ground. While a water treatment plant will clean some storm runoff, a good deal of it also ends up in rivers and lakes. The acid rain contains nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide, which end up in bodies of water and increase water pollution. In addition to solar-powered water treatment equipment, wind power is also being used to eliminate the need for fossil fuels.

#2 – Water Reuse

Going back to water reuse, major companies are starting to understand the importance of reusing water. Nucor Steel realized how much it could cut its water usage by recycling the water they already use and using stormwater instead of cleaned water. These changes have led to a reduction of the water used and lowered its energy bills, too. Water consumption has declined by over 200 million gallons each year with these changes. Cleaner water is saved for homes, and the company’s water needs for cooling the steel products is met by claiming stormwater run-off and rain collection.

#3 – Improved Filtration

Clay, blood, and alum were some of the first filtration materials used. Sand was next. Clean water can also be filtered with charcoal. Most recently, scientists have been using sand coated in graphite oxide to filter water. Water filtered with the graphite oxide-coated sand is five times cleaner than water filtered through sand. It’s an important tool in removing dangerous substances like mercury. They’ve also found that ground plastic bottles that are coated with cysteine are an effective filter for arsenic.

Algae grow easily in water ponds where UV rays are used to kill bacteria. That algae can be dangerous, so it must be killed and removed with chemicals like chlorine and some kind of filtration. Scientists are working on chemical-free ways to kill the algae. One is to introduce bacteria that thrive on algae and break them down into harmless materials that are easily removed through filtration.

#4 – Low-Maintenance or Maintenance-Free Equipment

There’s also an issue with a crumbling infrastructure. Cities need to look at making sure that water isn’t being lost to sewer system water main breaks. Leaks or defective water treatment equipment must be repaired or replaced to prevent water loss. Newer, modern equipment that is constantly monitored by computers and adjusted as flows increase or decrease helps with this.

Smart technology is common in homes, but it’s also being used in water treatment plants for alerts that notify engineers if there is a leak or problem in the equipment. Faster repairs prevent water loss or the release of contaminated water to lakes, rivers, and other water sources. Newer water treatment technology also reduces the need for maintenance by incorporating bearings that are never submerged below water or improving grit removal to prevent damage from abrasion.

#5 – New Equipment Improves Efficiency

Choosing the right equipment is one of the best ways to embrace cleaning water while minimizing your carbon footprint. Have you looked at upgrading your water treatment plant or business with the latest equipment and sustainable practices? Have you thought about going solar at your water treatment plant?

There is an initial cost, but the savings in terms of energy usage and efficiency make that cost worth it. If you’re spending a lot of money on maintenance or repairs, it’s time to talk about upgrading your water treatment equipment. Lakeside Equipment launched in 1928 and strives to help municipalities come up with viable ways to clean water in responsible, environmentally-friendly ways. Call us to discuss your needs for high-quality, cost-effective water treatment equipment.

Commercial Applications for Screw Pumps

Open and enclosed screw pumps are used in a variety of settings. They’re often found in wastewater treatment plants where they move sludge and fluids that travel in through sewer lines or from hauled septage. Screw pumps are also helpful in commercial applications, though people don’t always stop to think of the benefits of screw pumps in a commercial setting. Here are five commercial applications for screw pumps.

Beverage Industry

The beverage industry is the perfect example of a commercial business that benefits from screw pumps. Breweries, wineries, kombucha, canned/bottled coffee, and other beverage companies can move liquids around without damaging other components in the recipe. As screw pumps require little maintenance and have the option of a Sealed Precision Type “E” bearing assembly that has a sealed bearing that doesn’t require a grease pump or grease lines that could leak over time and contaminate the liquids the screw pump is moving.

For example, beer is made by heating crushed grains (malts) with water. The liquid sits to extract the malt and must be separated. Using a screw pump, the liquids and grains are separated. Grains can go to farms as livestock feed. The remaining liquid is boiled and flavoring hops are added in stages. That mixture cools and yeast must be carefully added. As you add the liquid yeast mixture, a screw pump can control the speed so that it’s evenly mixed. Kombucha and wine are also beverages that are fermented and may benefit from a screw pump.

In winemaking, a screw pump can move fluid. It also moves the denser items like the dregs that include grape skins and seeds. The screw pushes the dregs to a container and the remaining liquid is piped to fermentation vats.

Screw pumps can also be used in a large kombucha plant. The screw pump can help during the step where tea leaves are removed from the tea right before the tea mixed with the culture that grows the SCOBY for fermentation. After the kombucha is moved to a cooling vessel and flowers, herbs, and other flavoring ingredients are added, you could also use a screw pump as it’s moved to kegs for carbonation.

Chemical Plants and Oil Refineries

While centrifugal pumps have been considered the normal option for a chemical plant, screw pumps are ideal. One of the leading reasons is to keep costs down. Screw pumps are designed to handle liquids of different viscosities. A centrifugal pump has to lower the flow rate when pressure increases. That requires constant adjustment to prevent problems. Screw pumps don’t need to make these adjustments, so you’ll save time and money. If you look at some of the flow rates of Lakeside Equipment’s different screw pumps, you’ll see the variation.

  • An open screw pump can handle 90 gallons up to 55,000 gallons per minute.
  • A Type C enclosed screw pump can handle 540 gallons to 35,000 gallons per minute.
  • A Type S enclosed screw pump can handle 90 gallons to 10,000 gallons per minute.

Screw pumps are proving to be the best choice in the oil and gas industry. With more viscous crude oil coming in from countries like Canada, Latin America, and South America, it can take more work to move the oil from reservoirs to oil pipelines. With other styles of pumps, pressure changes required the pumps to be adjusted by the operator to prevent problems. Screw pumps can do this efficiently as they can handle different viscosities and changing pressures with ease. To maximize production, it’s important to work with an expert to help find the best type of screw pump for your refinery.

Food Processing

How could a screw pump be useful in food processing? When food processing requires delicate speeds to prevent over-mixing or adding items too quickly, a screw pump is ideal. A canning company needs to get diced tomatoes into a canning line without pumping the tomatoes so quickly that the tomato pieces get broken down. That’s one area where a screw pump is helpful. It moves the tomato mixture at the right speed to prevent damage to the tomatoes. Steady flow rates keep lines running effectively without much need for maintenance, which boosts productivity.

A cheese manufacturing plant is another example. Milk is trucked to the plant and pumped into the storage tanks before pasteurization. To make the cheese, the curds and whey have to separate. After this happens, whey is pumped away and curds move to the machinery that shapes them into a block or round of cheese. Throughout this process, screw pumps help move liquids or curds to the next step in cheesemaking.

Screw pumps can also help move the whey that’s left behind. Liquid whey is used for animal feed. Whey can be dried into a powder and used as a protein supplement and in baby food. It can be used in bakeries or added to foods like soups and salad dressings. Whey protein powder is a hot commodity, but you need an effective way to pump it to the tanks where it’s stored until it’s needed.

Paper Mills

The pulp and paper industry requires several screw pumps throughout the process. At the very beginning of the process, wood is stripped of its bark and chopped into tiny fragments that are soaked in a mixture of water and chemicals to help digest it. The resulting pulp has to have most of the liquid removed before it moves to bleaching and washing. After washing, a new round of water removal takes place. The pulp goes through a refining process before heading to the paper making presses and drying area. Each new step that requires the separation of liquids benefits from a screw pump.

Eventually, the resulting liquid (liquor) has to be purified. The water left over after paper is made often go into ponds or tanks that use aeration to add oxygen and help with the water treatment process before it returns to bodies of water. The remaining sludge is often sent to incinerators.

Theme Parks

Theme parks across the country rely on screw pumps. Any theme park with a water ride needs a way to get water to the top of a ride or slide where it can plummet down the slide or track to the pool below. A screw pump is effective at moving large amounts of water continually. If you think about water parks where there are log rides in a flume, a screw pump is good at bringing water from the pool back up to the top of the ride over and over. The same is true of water slides and water rides where riders either use an inflatable tube or ride through the slide chute independently. If the water stops flowing, the ride goes wrong. It’s important to have low-maintenance screw pumps moving water non-stop from the bottom to the top.

Lakeside Equipment offers both enclosed and open screw pumps. Our first designs go back to the 1960s and have seen many improvements over the decades. With more than 50 years of expertise, we specialize in clog-free designs. You’ll work with an experienced team to match both your budget and specifications. Trust in us to design a screw pump for your industrial setting.

Screw Pumps for Sludge – How They Work and What You Should Look For

Screw pumps are designed to move liquids, solids, or liquid-solid combinations from one area to another. It’s a simplistic, yet effective, way to push liquids, sludge, grains, and other items along a chute or tube without clogging. Lakeside screw pumps operate at a constant speed, which lowers the chances of the machine needing maintenance or wearing out, making them a cost-effective piece of equipment. While these pumps can handle most everyone, one area where they’re very effective is pumping sludge.

Original Screw Pumps Go Back to Ancient Egypt

How do screw pumps work? One of the original uses of a screw pump was for agriculture and drainage. The screw pump set in water in a low-lying area and the top collection area sat in a higher area. As that screw twisted, water collected in the spiral tube and moved upwards to the collection area at the top. That brought water from a lower area like a river up a bank or slope to the garden beds or fields above.

The Egyptian Screw is believed to be the first screw pump and it was used to move water from the Nile River up the banks and to the villages and fields. While people know screw pumps as Archimedes screw pumps, evidence that Archimedes had any part of the invention is sparse. The pump was around for two centuries before Archimedes’ name is mentioned.

One of the first major uses of the Archimedes pump was in the 1600s when the Dutch used them to move water through dikes and canals. Windmills powered the screw pump bringing water from one section to another.

To understand how they work, imagine a long screw that’s sitting inside a straw. The bottom of that screw sits in a water-filled sink or basin. There’s a second bowl on the counter. The screw is turned at a steady speed. The threads of the screw are designed so that they hold liquid. As the screw turns, water collects in the threads of the screw and the upward movement of the screw pushes the water up the straw. The straw’s walls trap that water from escaping out of the bottom. Eventually, water propels to the top of the straw where it spills into the upper chamber.

What Factors You Should Weigh When Choosing a Screw Pump

A screw pump can move more than water. They can move oil and other viscous liquids like sludge. Sludge is a combination of fluids and solids that forms a thicker material like mud. Most sludge brought to water treatment plants comes from residential and business septic tanks where it’s pumped out and transported through trucks, but it can come from a variety of other sources. In an agricultural setting, screw pumps can move grains from a truck to a storage container. Sludge can also come from food and beverage plants like breweries, wineries, and dairy processors.

This is important when it comes to purchasing a screw pump. You need equipment that matches your intended use. Consider these factors when you’re buying a screw pump for sludge.

Open vs. Closed Screw Pumps

The screw pumps at Lakeside Equipment can be open or closed. This is important to understand as it can make a difference when you finalize your choice.

Open screw pumps sit in a trough that’s made of steel or concrete. The trough is open at the top, which exposes the spiral screw to the environment. The bearings are protected in a sealed sleeve or have a lubricating system that helps prevent wear whether they’re submerged or not. The trough needs to be at an angle of 22 to 40 degrees for the screw pump to work effectively. Given that incline, you do need a substantial amount of space when setting up this type of screw pump.

What are the advantages of an open screw pump? They can handle variable capacities without needing additional controls to manage the variation. They are efficient and don’t clog. There’s no need for pre-screening the sludge you get. Maintenance is low, and you don’t need a wet well to operate them.

What about enclosed screw pumps? There are two types: Type C or Type S. Both of these screw pumps are housed within a tube. A Type C is in a tube that can rotate. Type S’s tube is stationary. Type C is best if you need higher lifts than an open screw pump. It also requires less space as it can be installed to have a maximum incline of 45 degrees. Type S can pivot to keep up with changes in the pumping rate. It requires more space with an incline range of 22 to 40 degrees.

Benefits to enclosed screw pumps include higher efficiency with Type C. If the pump needs replacing, you can simply have the new pump dropped into place, which makes replacement much more affordable. With an open system, concrete and grout are needed. Enclosed screw pumps require no costly grouting or concrete work.

Flow Rate

How quickly do you need sludge moved? How thick is that sludge? Flow rates vary, and you need to make sure that the screw pump you choose can move the sludge as quickly as you need it moved. At the same time, look at the PSI and horsepower to make sure the system is going to work efficiently for you. We can help you with open screw pumps that move as little as 90 gallons a minute to as much as 55,000 gallons a minute. If you need an enclosed screw pump, the Type S is capable of 90 to 10,000 gallons per minute, and Type C handle 540 to 35,000 gallons per minute.


How much room do you have? If you’re in a tight space, not every screw pump will work. When space is limited, the inclination of that screw pump needs to work with the available square footage. Imagine you have a screw pump that If you have plenty of room for the screw pump’s installation, you will have more options.

The open screw pumps manufactured by Lakeside Equipment range in size from 12 inches in diameter all the way to 144 inches. Enclosed screw pumps are available in 12 to 60 inches (Type S) and 24 to 120 inches (Type C). When you talk to our engineers, we’ll help you understand the pros and cons of open vs. closed screw pumps and which best suits your needs.


You’re spending money on a new or replacement screw pump. You want a system that’s designed to last. You want to get your money’s worth and that means a system that’s not going to require a lot of maintenance and upkeep. The screw pumps at Lakeside are designed to reduce friction that damages the screw pump’s parts. Very little maintenance is required to keep the screw pumps working like new.

Lakeside Equipment’s customer service team and engineers are ready to help you design and purchase the right screw pumps for sludge. Our screw pumps are made in the USA and give you the flexibility of open or closed designs. If you’re looking to replace or upgrade your equipment or are installing a brand new system, give us a call. We have decades of expertise that ensures you get the best system for your money.