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What Equipment Helps Keep a Hydropower Plant’s Costs Down?

Hydropower is a clean, renewable energy source, and it accounts for 52% of the renewable electricity generation in the U.S. The benefits of hydropower are plentiful. Streams, rivers, lakes, and ocean tides are already in place. In some areas, the sun doesn’t shine every day, making solar a little more challenging to rely on during some months. The water always flows, even in the winter. This makes hydropower an effective, reliable energy source.

The largest hydropower structure in the U.S. is the Grand Coulee Dam in Washington. Water can flow at rates of up to one million cubic feet per second and has a capacity of more than 6,800 MW. It’s a pumped storage and reservoir facility. Virginia’s Bath County is a pumped-storage power station with two reservoirs. Its capacity is just over 3,000 MW.

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy estimated that the existing hydropower plants could generate 15% of their capacity. The development of existing dams and power plants could bring impressive changes to the power grid. To improve the infrastructure, cities look at upgrading outdated equipment and building new hydropower plants on rivers and streams to tap into the full potential of waterways across the U.S.

Changes to hydropower technology help keep costs low while also protecting the fish and other aquatic animals from harm. If you’re worried about keeping costs at a hydropower plant down, you’d be surprised by the options out there that are cost-effective and beneficial to fish and other marine creatures.

Components Found in a Hydropower Plant

To generate electricity from water, You have a dam that collects water in a basin and forces the water through a gate (inlet) where it goes downhill. At that inlet is a trash rake that clears debris and trash. The trash rake is essential as it prevents debris like root balls from older trees, branches, and manufactured waste from getting into the equipment and continuing downstream.

Water flows to the hydraulic turbine, where the turbine spins, causing a shaft within a generator to rotate. This motion generates electricity sent to the powerhouse and transformer before moving to transmission towers and lines for use in homes and businesses. As the water flows past the turbine, it heads to outlet discharge and returns to the river, lake, stream, or ocean.

Electricity demand fluctuates, so do water levels. In a drought, a river may run low. For that reason, some hydropower plants also have the ability to slow down at night and reuse water. Water is pumped back to the reservoir or basin instead, where it can be used multiple times to generate electricity.

Every Hydropower Plant Needs Trash Rakes

One of the most critical pieces of hydropower equipment is a trash rake. Whether it’s a deliberate act or an accidental one, a lot of litter ends up on roadways each year. Wind and heavy rains move that trash into streams and rivers. People on boats or picnicking near a lake, ocean, or river may leave trash behind that ends up in the waterways. All of that garbage heads downstream.

That’s just one of the problems that hydropower plants encounter. Trees, branches, leaves, and pine cones can all fall into the waterways and end up in the hydropower equipment and pipes if it’s not cleared.

When there is a hydroelectric plant, the trash, branches, and such are drawn into the facility, where it could jam equipment and bust pipes. To prevent damage, you need to clear this trash and debris. Trash rakes continually work to collect these items into dumpsters or other forms of containment for proper disposal. Lakeside Equipment has several options to meet your needs.

Cable-Operated Systems Vs. Hydraulically-Operated Systems

Some trash rakes rely on hydraulic systems to screen and rake the materials from incoming water and remove them. Others are operated through cables and winches that lower the rake to the bottom of a basin before drawing it back up.

#1 – Catronic Series (Cable-Operated)

This is a heavy-duty trash rake capable of lifting 20 tons thanks to a winch and cable system that drops and raises the rake. Once the trash and debris are collected, the system can transfer them to a nearby dumpster.

  • This system goes to depths of 200 feet.
  • Your options include a jib crane or a hydraulic grab crane.
  • It’s an energy-efficient option with lowered operating costs.

#2 – Hydronic H Series (Hydraulically-Operated)

The Hydronic H Series Trash Rake is designed to clean horizontal bars. Debris and trash move downstream where it collects, and the hydraulic rake pivots to fit into the bar rack to collect that debris for removal.

  • Operating expenses are lower with this energy-efficient equipment.
  • The horizontal design doesn’t harm the environment and protects aquatic creatures.
  • It’s easy to maintain as all components are above the surface of the water.

#3 – Hydronic K Series (Hydraulically-Operated)

This system uses hydraulics to operate the long rake arm and clean depths of up to 100 feet. It’s capable of cleaning larger objects like trees and root systems.

  • The rake comes with choices of traversing, swiveling, or stationary arms.
  • Enjoy easier maintenance as its components are all above the water.
  • The system’s lower operating costs and energy efficiency save money.

#4 – Hydronic Multifunctional Series (Hydraulically-Operated)

The M series is an energy-efficient solution that comes with your choice of an articulating arm or telescoping rake/articulating arm. It can be used manually, fully automatic, or a mix of the two. You can also have it with a single gripper, an orange peel grapple (claw-like grabber), or, for increased efficiency, the triple jaw gripper.

  • This rake handles depths of up to 150 feet.
  • All of the components are above the water for easy maintenance.
  • Adjustable pressures minimize wear while optimizing cleaning abilities.

#5 – Hydronic T-Series (Hydraulically-Operated)

Its telescoping boom and rake clear both fine and coarse screens without the need for chains, guides, or sprockets. This trash rake can clean at angles of up to 90 degrees and has a greater reach than other models. It’s a good choice when you need a rake that can handle many heavy items without wearing out quickly.

  • It has a more substantial lifting capacity.
  • Stainless steel or galvanized construction are options.
  • Components are above the water for easy maintenance.

#6 – Monorail Series (Cable-Operated)

This grab rake and cable system are clean water intakes through a trolley system that removes the trash once it’s collected. It’s best for plants where there are multiple bar racks. As multiple rakes are not required, it helps keep costs down.

  • Once in a parked position, maintenance is completed away from the bar rack system.
  • The equipment reduces operational expenses thanks to the energy-efficient design.
  • It can be retrofitted to your existing plant structures.

#7 – RO-TEC Drum Screens (Hydraulically-Operated)

These screens are self-cleaning and require less power to operate. They use the river’s current to move the drum screen, which keeps fish from getting drawn into them. That makes them one of the best choices for hydropower plants.

  • The drum cannot clog.
  • The drive components are above the water for easy maintenance.
  • It’s an energy-efficient option.

Which of these options sounds best for your hydropower plant’s needs? Are you stuck on two or three options? Give us a call. Our team of hydropower equipment experts can help you better understand the pros and cons to find the most cost-effective options that also help protect marine life and do exactly what you need the trash rakes to do.

Establishing Wastewater Treatment for Your Plant When Space is Limited

One of the most popular questions we hear is how to establish a wastewater treatment plant to be as small in size as possible. Say you own a poultry processing plant and need a wastewater treatment plant, but you don’t have a lot of room. What are you supposed to do?

Your first step is to consult with an expert in wastewater treatment design. You need engineers, field technicians, and customer support personnel to work with you each step of the way. Be clear regarding your budget, be open to advancements like solar power that may cost more upfront but save more money in the long run, and listen carefully to their input on equipment that takes up less space.

There’s a second step you must follow before establishing your company’s wastewater treatment plant. You need to know the local laws and regulations. This is a second reason to enlist the help of a wastewater treatment plant expert. The last thing you want to do is start building your plant without having the proper permits in place. It would be best if you made sure the system you’ve built meets peak flow rates. A sewer overflow can be costly. You also have to meet the effluent guidelines before releasing the water back to lakes, streams, rivers, or ponds. If you don’t, you face hefty fines. It doesn’t matter how much space you have. You can’t ignore local and federal regulations for wastewater disposal.

How much can those fines be? It depends on the situation. It’s always better for your bottom line and the environment if you address concerns before problems arise.

A New York poultry processing plant was fined $330,000 for discharging wastewater that contained chicken fat and tissue. The plant used up to 450,000 gallons of water a day in its operations, leading to excessive flow rates at the local wastewater treatment plant. That wastewater treatment plant had to release untreated wastewater into the area’s tributaries, violating its discharge permit.

A Maryland paper mill owner was fined $650,000 for toxic waste or “black liquid” that ended up in the Potomac River. Though the plant closed years earlier, the waste has been leaking from the plant. The plant’s owner also has to find where the leaking materials are coming from, take care of them, and clean up the contamination.

So, you’re looking to add a wastewater treatment plant in a small area. What do you need? Here’s a guide to the equipment.

Equipment Needed in a Wastewater Treatment System

What equipment makes up a wastewater treatment system? It depends on what you’re using it for. Some equipment won’t be necessary if you’re just pre-treating water before it goes to the sewer. If you’re removing items, you’ll have additional equipment to consider.

No matter what your company does, you’ll start with a basin where the wastewater collects. Suppose you own a poultry processing plant. The water used to clean areas of bone scraps, blood, tissue, and features goes through drains to a holding tank. That basin may be underground. Grinder pumps or screw pumps will help move the wastewater to the first stage of the treatment process, screening.

Before getting to screening, it helps to understand the benefits of a screw pump. They can’t clog. Not only are they easy to maintain, but they’re also an efficient way to pump wastewater. You’ll have lower electricity bills. Screw pumps are also adaptable when it comes to their angle. If you have a small area to fill with your water treatment plant, shifting a screw pump to sit at an incline of 45 degrees will save a lot of space over a 30-degree angle.

Screening removes larger pieces like a tampon applicator from the wastewater before it causes a clog or jams up a mixer, propeller, or recirculation pump. Screening is another area where you can save some space. A Raptor Rotary Strainer is going to require less room than a Rotating Drum Screen in most designs.

A grit removal system may be needed if there are gritty components like coffee grounds or sand in the wastewater your plant produces. Wastewater is then stirred up so that solids and fats are separated from the liquids. They can be removed to an incinerator or compost pile to break down.

Bacteria feed on tiny particles of waste during advanced tertiary treatments. Eventually, the use of chemicals, such as chlorine, are used to sanitize the remaining wastewater. At that point, all that’s left is to allow the chlorine to dissipate. It’s now safe to release it to bodies of water.

The equipment you need depends a lot on what your goals are and where the wastewater goes next. If you’re treating water to remove some contaminants before it goes to the sewer lines, your needs might be different from a paper mill that’s cleaning the water of chemicals and pulp before releasing it to the river.

As you’re planning your wastewater treatment design, consider using technology to keep costs down. For example, we mentioned solar. Take advantage of grants and incentives that can help you install solar panels that will lower your energy bills. Wind power is another option. It would help if you also looked at turning any methane produced during the wastewater treatment process and using that to heat your plant.

Your Guide to Space Saving Water Treatment Equipment

You could have a lot of equipment and crowd it into an area or use a pre-manufactured system that makes the most of a small space.

Have you considered a complete plant? If space is limited and you want to keep operating costs down, a pre-manufactured water treatment system is a smart idea. Often, you have a little room to customize the pre-manufactured complete plant to match your exact needs. Benefits to packaged plants include:

  • Simple operation that requires minimal staffing
  • Easy to install and maintain, so your installation and maintenance costs are much lower
  • Designed to fit in small areas
  • Able to handle changing flow rates

A Raptor Complete Plant is a good choice when you have a small space and need to pretreat your plant’s wastewater. This system has a stainless steel tank that contains a Raptor Fine Screen, a Rotating Drum Screen, or a Micro Strainer. Once the wastewater is screened, it moves to the grit removal chamber. You can add aeration systems and grease traps, too.

Smaller spaces benefit from the Headworks Packaged System (H-PAC). Again, it’s a compact stainless steel tank that contains a Raptor Screen and a SpiraGrit Vortex Grit Chamber for grit removal.

Pair those with a Package Extended Aeration Plant that is a stainless steel tank that aerates, clarifies, and disinfects wastewater in one unit. As the wastewater is cleaned, sludge is contained in a holding area for easy removal.

You shouldn’t forgo efficiency and effectiveness when it comes to your design. You can have an effective, efficient wastewater treatment plant without having to cut corners. You just need to talk to an expert in wastewater treatment equipment.

Lakeside Equipment has been helping customers with wastewater treatment goals for decades. In fact, our company’s first water purification systems date back to 1928. Our employees own the company and strive to ensure you have a high-quality solution that matches your goals and budget while also helping the environment. Call us at 630-837-5640 or fill out the online form to get started.

Choosing An Industrial Sewage System For Your Business

Residential or domestic sewage is the wastewater that leaves a resident’s home or apartment complex. It’s the wastewater from a flushed toilet, washing machine, sink, or dishwasher. While it does need to be treated, it’s generally easier to treat than industrial sewage.

Industrial sewage also contains the wastewater from bathrooms and sinks, but it is harder to clean because it also includes the wastewater from manufacturing processes. For example, a poultry processing plant will have toilets for the staff to use, but there’s also the wastewater from the solutions used to wash the chickens before butchering. It has the wastewater from the butchering process that contains blood, feces, and feather, bone, and skin particles.

According to OSHA, poultry processing plants may use ammonia, chlorine, dry ice, hydrogen peroxide, and/or peracetic acid. That wastewater puts a strain on local wastewater districts, so connecting to sewers may require your plant to treat the wastewater first. If you don’t, you could cause damage to the environment or face fines. To do this, you have to consider the best industrial sewage treatment system for your needs.

What Industries Need Sewage Systems?

Food processing plants are one example of an industry that needs a wastewater sewage system. There are others. Generally, if a business creates large quantities of wastewater, a water treatment system is required. Agriculture, breweries, paper and pulp mills, steel plants, the oil and gas industry, pharmaceuticals, and textiles are examples of other industries that need wastewater treatment systems. Here’s why it’s essential.

  • Agriculture – Chemicals like herbicides and pesticides, fecal matter, and the fats and sugars in milk.
  • Breweries – Chemicals used for sterilizing processes, the grains and sugars, and water used for rinsing the hops and grains.
  • Food Processing – As mentioned earlier, fecal matter, blood, bones, and skin, plus growth hormones and antibiotics.
  • Iron/Steel Plants – Oil, cyanide, and ammonia are just a few of the contaminants.
  • Paper/Pulp Mills – One ton of paper uses more than 15,000 gallons of water to make, plus there are bleaching agents, acids, hydrocarbons, etc. to consider.
  • Pharmaceuticals – Drug waste is mixed into the water.
  • Textiles – The clothing industry relies on materials of all colors, so bleach and chemical dyes are in the wastewater from textile plants.

The first step within an industrial wastewater treatment plant is to remove any solids through sludge removal. After that, any grease and oils need to be removed. Organic matter is also removed. At this point, any alkalis and acids are neutralized, and heavy metals are also removed. Chlorine and remaining contaminants are removed through membrane filtration.

It all comes down to the wastewater your company generates. You might need a sewage grinder as part of the process if you have a food processing plant. Other plants may not require it. Working with an expert in industrial wastewater treatment plants is important to ensure you have a system that works effectively, within your budgeted operating costs, and is easy to maintain.

What Are Your Options?

Lakeside Equipment has two package treatment plants if you want an affordable wastewater treatment system that’s ready to go. You have two options: E.A. Aerator Plant or Packaged Extended Aeration Plant.

The Pros and Cons of an E.A. Aerator Plant

To better understand the reasons to choose the E.A. Aerator Plant, it helps to look at what it does and when it’s the best choice. This plant includes a concentric (rings within rings) design with a Closed Loop Reactor in the outer loop and a Spiraflo Clarifier in the inner circle. You can add a second channel for seasonal variations, extra capacity, or more efficient biological nutrients removal.

The Closed Loop Reactor (CLR) aerates the wastewater before it goes into the next ring, where the Spiraflo Clarifier allows the sludge to settle. CLR is done using the Magna Rotor Aerator for fuss-free operation with low maintenance costs. It also is an easy system for workers to operate. The Spiraflo Clarifier offers an optimal hydraulic flow that maximizes performance.

The E.A. Aerator Plant is an in-ground concrete design. A mixture of concrete and steel or just steel are other options.


  • It offers greater aeration without driving up energy consumption in low-flow conditions.
  • It has a space-saving design.
  • There’s flexibility in the number of rings in the final design.
  • Replacement and service are easy to manage as standard parts are used.


  • It’s not as effective if flow rates are higher than 0.5 million gallons per day.
  • Screening is not part of the system.
  • It takes up some space, making it less ideal in a smaller plant.

The Pros and Cons of a Packaged Extended Aeration Plant

Your other option is the Packaged Extended Aeration Plant. It is a pre-engineered system fit within a steel tank that contains screening, diffused aeration, clarification, disinfection, and sludge holding. There is the option of installing it within a concrete structure if that’s preferred.

The Packaged Extended Aeration Plant contains everything in one, making it a powerhouse in a smaller plant. The wastewater is screened to remove items that might otherwise cause clogs. From there, it is aerated and clarified before going through disinfection. All of the sludge goes into a steel chamber for easy removal.


  • Screening is an integral part of the system.
  • The compact steel design is ideal for small plants.
  • Easy to install as it’s an all-in-one system.
  • It’s optimized for hassle-free operation with minimal staffing.


  • It’s not practical in larger plants.
  • If a concrete structure is preferred, the components are shipped and installed on-site.

What if those are not suitable options for your needs? Consider a custom design. You might need screening as part of a more extensive wastewater treatment system for your factory. You need to have grit removal as a significant part of the process. These pieces of equipment may not be necessary, but you need careful filtration of heavy metals. A custom industrial sewage treatment plant is often the best bet for your business.

Planning Your Design

Your industrial wastewater treatment plant must meet your needs, but there’s much more to it than that. You have to know your district’s regulations. You may be required to complete a wastewater treatability study before taking the first steps.

If you have a poultry processing plant, you’re going to have to account for the biological hazards, fats, and bone fragments. In comparison, a company that cures hides for leather coats needs to consider all chemicals, hairs, sand, and animal fats going into the wastewater.

You have to look at your plant’s energy consumption, too. Your local power plant may not want you to use excessive amounts of energy, which means looking into ways to cut electricity and gas consumption. A wastewater treatment plant that can retain some of the gases for bio-fuel is optimal for your needs. We get it, and we’re happy to help you understand your options.

Lakeside Equipment has a full line of wastewater treatment products for industrial sewage. Our engineers are happy to work with your team to develop the ideal design that matches your budget and goals. We have screw pumps, screens, trash rakes, clarification and filtration, and biological treatment.

Talk to our engineers about your industrial wastewater needs. We’re with you every step of the way, from planning to installation and repairs that become necessary years or decades down the road. Give us a call.

Best Industrial Sewage Grinders

While sewer systems started centuries ago, sewage grinders are newer. They originated in the 1970s to help wastewater treatment plants handle the increase in sewage trucked in from homes and businesses that used septic systems due to the distance to the city sewers. By grinding the sewage pumped from septic tanks, it eliminated some of the clogs that could happen.

Industrial sewage grinders benefit many businesses and wastewater treatment plants. They’re used in apartment buildings, restaurants, food processing plants, and septage acceptance plants. Suppose you own a brewery with an independent water treatment system to ease the burden on the municipal treatment plant. An industrial sewage grinder can help break up any grains, hop flowers, and flavoring additives like cacao nibs or fruit that slip through screening steps.

Why should you take this step? It can keep your repair costs down by preventing problems before they occur. That’s one reason to look into this system. Or, if you’re plagued by blockages caused by organic and inorganic materials, it’s time to look at the benefits of a sewage grinder. How do you choose the right grinder pump for your needs? Start by understanding how a grinder works.

How Does a Sewage Grinder Work?

Have you ever used a garbage disposal system? If so, you’ll have an idea of what an industrial sewage grinder does. It grinds food particles in a residence before the wastewater continues its way to a sewer system. Some homes have garbage disposals on a septic system, but that’s not advised as the food particles can lead to issues in a septic tank and leach field.

While similar, a sewage grinder is designed for intense use. A sewage grinder pump has a plate at the bottom of the pump that grinds up materials before they’re pumped to a sewer head. The goal is to make sure any solids are small enough particles that they will not clog a line.

The sewage grinder sits in a large fiberglass basin. As wastewater comes in, solids sink to the bottom. When the unit turns on, the grinder’s blades spin and grind the items into small pieces that mix with the fluids to become a slurry. The pump pushes the slurry into the pipe and moves it towards the sewer pipes to continue the journey to the wastewater treatment plant.

An industrial sewage grinder is helpful in food processing plants, restaurants, breweries, and wineries. Before the wastewater heads to a sewer system, organics get ground up. Hop flowers, chicken feathers and skin, small bone fragments, and grape skins and stems are some of the items these grinders are equipped to handle.

You may want to look into one for your hotel or apartment complex. Some things that get flushed by residents can pose a serious issue in sewer lines and wastewater treatment plants. With a line to a sewer suddenly clogged, you have residents dealing with backed-up toilets and sinks. Affording the cleaning costs and damages gets expensive.

Flushable wipes and flushable cat litter aren’t as flushable as people might think. While you don’t want your residents flushing these items, you can’t always stop them. Fecal matter is another issue that can cause clogs in the pipes leaving the building’s basement. By installing a grinder pump, you can help the wastewater district avoid damage to equipment and clogs by grinding these items in a slurry before it travels to the sewers.

Choosing the Best Industrial Grinder Pumps for Your Needs

How do you choose an industrial grinder pump? Much of your decision is based on your industry and distance to a sewer line. The farther you are from the sewer, the stronger a pump you need.

#1 – What’s Your Company’s or District’s Goal?

What is the pump used for? Is it a residential complex or a food processing plant? That also makes a difference. A residential complex may not have loads of food scraps going down the drain all day, while an industrial plant may not have items like flushable wipes.

#2 – What is the Top Flow Rate?

One or more grinder pumps are in that basin where the wastewater collects. What happens next depends on the pump’s design. Some are operated manually, but others have floats that activate the pump. When the float reaches the top, the pump turns on, grinds the organic and inorganic materials, and pumps out all of those grounds and wastewater. Faster flow rates may require the pump to turn on more often. It would be best if you sized the pump to match the speed of the flow.

In some settings, you might find the wastewater flows more at certain hours. If this is the case, a pump that is manually operated may suit your needs. If you can’t predict when the pump will need to run, you need one that runs automatically when the float rises or at timed intervals. You need a pump that handles the max flow rate, not the average flow.

#3 – How Much of an Incline Does the Wastewater Experience?

What is your plant’s or building’s design? You need the pressure to get the wastewater up the slope if you’re downhill from the main sewer line. Do you have gravity helping the flow of sewage? You may need less horsepower if you’re downhill from the sewer as you have gravity helping. The grinder pump’s horsepower is essential if you deal with more lift to get the sewage uphill.

#4 – What Are the Local Codes?

Get to know the local codes to ensure your system is in compliance. This is why it’s often better to talk to an expert in sewer design. It saves you from expensive fines down the road.

#5 – Do You Have a Large Budget for Maintenance?

The lifespan of an industrial sewage grinder varies depending on the usage, whether the right grinder was installed, and flow rates. Maintenance helps extend the life, but there comes a time when you have to replace your grinder due to age or extensive maintenance.

What’s your operating budget? Do you have maintenance around regularly for routine maintenance? Do you use contractors? That can also make a difference. Most pumps are designed to be trouble-free, but things like sealed bearings that never need to be greased are worth looking at.

An industrial sewage grinder system is one of the greatest investments certain businesses and wastewater treatment plants can make. It comprises the grinder pump, a basin, the electricals, piping, and valves, making it something best left to a professional to install. You still should look at the goals of a sewage grinder and understand the options to understand better what type of pump is best for your needs.

Lakeside Equipment is happy to help you choose a suitable replacement for your industrial sewage grinder. Our engineers work with you to come up with the right system for your needs and budget. Give us a call to learn more about grinder pumps for your industrial needs.

Best Industrial Sewage Pumps

Not every city is built on level terrain. When wastewater is at the bottom of a hill, sewage isn’t going to flow up the slope to the wastewater treatment plant magically. Instead, it collects in a basin and must be pumped up the hill through a force main. This pipe carries the pumped wastewater uphill until gravity is able to help the wastewater reach the treatment plant.

That’s one reason why someone would be looking at industrial sewage pumps. You could be a business owner and need a sewage pump for your paper mill. You have chemicals and wood pulp fibers in the wastewater, so you have to consider those factors.

Industrial sewage pumps do this, but how do municipalities and industrial sites choose the correct sewage pumps? How do you find a sewage pump that doesn’t clog, consume too much power, or need excessive hours of maintenance? Our guide to the best industrial sewage pumps helps get you started.

Tips for Choosing a Sewage Pump

It’s time to start narrowing your options. Don’t focus as much on a specific brand at first. It’s better to decide what size pump is needed and the features you need. Then, you’ll need to consider your immediate budget and how much money you plan to spend on energy costs and maintenance for that pump. Ask yourself these questions.

Why Do I Need the Industrial Sewage Pump?

Your primary focus should be your goal for the sewage pump. Why do you need one? Is it for a new system, or are you replacing old equipment?

If you own a food processing plant, you may need a different sewage pump than a hotel would need. A hotel would be moving wastewater from the basement to the sewer main. But, a food processing plant is moving wastewater and materials such as animal blood, fat, or vegetable scraps.

Is It a Replacement?

Are you replacing an old, broken sewage pump? If so, was the one you had adequate for your needs or was it too small? If it was too small, it’s time to upgrade to a bigger pump. If it’s a simple replacement and the current size works for you, you could look at a similar industrial sewage pump when you’re researching.

In a growing municipality, you have to plan for additional growth, too. You might have 10,000 residents right now, but buildings are going up, and soon the population will reach 20,000. Your system must consider this growth. By planning ahead, you may pay more for equipment now, but as the population increases, you avoid having to upgrade equipment sooner than expected.

What Kind of Flow Rate Do I Expect?

How much sewage is being pumped each hour? Divide that number by 60 to get the minimum gallons per minute. You need to have an idea of the number of gallons per minute. You also have to consider the height and distance of the sewage being pumped. Lower horsepower may be cheaper to run, but it may burn out faster and require replacement sooner. If a pump says 1,150 GPM at 134 feet of max head, it could move 1,150 gallons a total of 134 feet each minute.

If it’s a small amount and isn’t traveling hundreds of feet, you may not need a pump with the highest possible HP motor. In a small brewery, the wastewater you’re pumping may only increase on brewing days. In that case, you may want to consider if you want an automatic or non-automatic sewage pump.

An automatic pump will turn itself on and off, while a worker must control the non-automatic. Generally, a non-automatic sewage pump is best when you know precisely when a pump needs to run and for how long.

Along the same lines, there are low-pressure and high-pressure pumps. Moving water from a residence to a sewer line is an example of a situation where a low-pressure pump may be best. High-pressure systems may be better in busier settings.

What Is My Budget?

You do have to consider your budget. If you’re aiming for a low-cost pump to save money, be careful that you’re not going to end up spending more on maintenance each year. The same is true of an expensive pump. A higher price doesn’t guarantee longevity. That’s why it’s best to work with a company that will help you get the best quality for your budget.

If you’re worried about the cost, you should also think about ways to save money. Solar panels are an initial investment, but tax incentives may make them worthwhile. The savings on energy can pay for the cost of the solar panels in just a few years. Wind power is another option if you’re looking to invest in renewable energy.

Could a Screw Pump Be the Best Choice for Industrial Sewage?

Archimedes screw pumps have the power to move sewage at a constant speed without clogging or needing a grinder pump. They can be up to 75% efficient, which lowers electricity bills. They’re suitable for moving wastewater in an industrial setting and come in two types.

  • Enclosed – An enclosed screw pump puts the screw mechanism in a tube. In a Type C Screw Pump, the tube rotates and can handle an incline of up to 45 degrees. A Type S Screw Pump inclines from 22 to 40 degrees and uses a stationary tube that can pivot.
  • Open – There’s also an open screw pump that is exposed to the environment. The screw mechanism sits in an open concrete trough at inclines of 22 to 40 degrees. One of the benefits of this product is the low-maintenance design that uses permanently greased bearings.

How does a screw pump work? Some systems have a pool or trench at the bottom for the sewage or wastewater to pool. The screw turns and propels the water up the blades of the screw. Once the sewage reaches the top, it deposits the liquids out of the top of the trough or chute.

Not every industrial setting is best served by an Archimedes screw pump, but if you could use one to move your sewage, it’s a cost-effective, trouble-free system to consider. If it would help you, the best screw pump design is determined by your available space and the reason for the sewage pump.

Ask an Expert in Wastewater Purification to Help

Choosing the best industrial sewage pumps isn’t a decision to rush. To ensure you get a pump that will last and not consume ridiculous amounts of energy, ask an expert in wastewater technology for advice. You don’t have to have the answers. You can turn to the pros to help you find the best industrial sewage pump. If you need an entire system designed or components upgraded, there’s no better place to start than with Lakeside Equipment.

Lakeside Equipment has a team of engineers ready to help you with your industrial wastewater system design. Our company started back in 1928 and has specialized in water purification ever since. Call us to learn more about our line of Archimedes screw pumps and other water treatment equipment.

How to Build an Industrial Sewage Treatment Plant

To build an industrial sewage treatment plant, you first must address what industrial sewage is. It’s wastewater produced in an industrial setting.

Water treatment plants handle different types of wastewater. You have domestic sewage that contains residential toilet water and gray water (water from showers, baths, washing machines, etc.) from houses and apartments. There’s storm sewage that is the rainwater and snowmelt that goes into drains found on the street. Finally, you have industrial sewage, which is the used water from manufacturing plants and factories.

Industrial sewage often contains higher levels of chemicals and pollutants than domestic sewage or storm runoff. It can be the wastewater created while manufacturing batteries, refining petroleum, and making paper in paper mills. This type of wastewater must be handled appropriately to ensure that it’s clean enough to send back to bodies of water or be reused in the businesses that use the water.

Industrial wastewater often contains heavy metals, food waste, inorganic materials like rubber and metal shavings, microplastics, radionuclides, and many toxins. For this reason, you must treat it appropriately. None of those should be returning to drinking water storage tanks, rivers, lakes, etc. The treatment plant must be designed to treat industrial sewage.

Many sewage treatment plants in residential settings are ill-equipped to handle industrial wastewater. It makes it harder to properly treat the water and damages equipment, leading to expensive repairs and downtime. An industrial business owner has to stop and think of the impact on the local wastewater district. As a result, companies consider building their own onsite treatment plants to pretreat water before it goes to the sewers.

The Steps Involved in Industrial Sewage Treatment

As water leaves your machines and buildings, where it goes depends on your setup. You may need to build an onsite industrial sewage treatment plant. If your city wants you to do the first stages of treatment before releasing your wastewater to the sewers, it’s important to understand what equipment is needed.

You might prefer to put in a small wastewater treatment plant on your grounds and reuse the water. That lowers your water bill and helps the environment. Denmark’s Carlsberg Brewery came up with a plan to use at least 90% of the wastewater the brewery uses and to create biogas to produce energy the plant needs. The goal is to reach zero water waste within the decade. It’s an ambitious, respectful goal that starts with an industrial wastewater system that covers these steps.

#1 – Screening

As wastewater enters a wastewater treatment plant, the solids must be removed. If they’re left in, they can clog lines and damage equipment in downstream processes. Don’t let your plant’s efficiency tank because of damage or clogs.

With the use of open screw pumps, you don’t need pre-screening. Move the wastewater into the open screw pumps for screening and grit removal. Once there, additional screw pumps keep the sewage flowing to primary clarification tanks.

Lakeside Equipment’s Raptor equipment screens and washes solids. From there, they are compacted and dewatered. As they’re made from stainless steel, they’re ideal for use in industrial sewage processes. Choose from rotary strainer screens, rake bar screens, rotating drums, micro strainers, and fine screens. This allows you to choose the best screen for the job.

#2 – Primary Clarification and Grit Removal

Once the wastewater is screened, it goes through the primary clarification process. Some plants also need to install grit removal systems. Clarification moves the wastewater and helps remove any additional solids that have settled in the wastewater.

You might choose a peripheral feed with a surface skimmer that pushes floating solids into a trough where the solids are removed. A Spiraflo clarifier holds solids in a sludge blanket that travels towards a center hopper for removal. Lakeside also has the Spiravac that pushes the solids to the sides where they get trapped between a skirt and wall and end up falling into a settling area.

Not all industrial wastewater treatment plants need grit removal systems, but some do. These systems remove fine grit like coffee grounds, bone fragments, eggshells, etc. You’d want to put in grit collection systems if you run a meat processing plant, a plastic extrusion company where microplastics make their way into the wastewater. Another example is a chicken farm where you’ll have seeds and eggshells getting into the wastewater.

#3 – Aeration

Aeration stirs up the wastewater to add oxygen to the mix. The oxygen feeds the microorganisms that help digest some of the contaminants remaining in wastewater. You don’t want any small particles of waste material to settle at this point. By continually stirring up the water, nothing can settle.

Magna Rotor Aerators have fiberglass rotor covers to eliminate spray. That will keep odors down and protect workers from wastewater droplets. Plus, the covers can trap heat from escaping in the cooler months. The aeration blades are stainless steel, which helps prevent corrosion.

#4 – Secondary Clarification

The water is getting pretty clean at this point, so wastewater goes into secondary clarification. The process is the same as you’d find in the primary clarification process. The remaining particles are negatively charged after the other processes. They’ll bond, which makes it easy for the clarifiers to remove these remaining particles.

#5 – Disinfection

Now it’s time to disinfect the treated water. Industrial wastewater carries a lot of contaminants like lead, chemical cleaning agents, cyanides, etc. Disinfection is required to remove them. UV disinfection is one option. Using UV lighting is an environmentally friendly method for disinfection without relying on chemicals like chlorine.

Chlorine and chlorine products are the first choice in industrial wastewater treatment. In addition to disinfecting the wastewater, chlorine also removes ammonia, kills any remaining organic materials, and oxidizes iron, hydrogen sulfide, manganese, and organic matter. Chlorine is cost-effective, but it has to be removed before the wastewater moves back into a lake, stream, or other body of water.

Other Wastewater Treatment Equipment That Benefits Your Plant

Are there other wastewater equipment and tools you should incorporate in your design? A SharpBNR is a process control system that allows you to fine-tune your equipment along the way. You can monitor readings and adjust aeration as needed. With this system, you maximize efficiency. If you have a SCADA system, you can monitor your wastewater treatment processes from anywhere.

The type of equipment you choose will lower your operating costs and effectively clean the water. Calhoun, Georgia, is home to several manufacturers of flooring, which leads to very corrosive wastewater. Lakeside Equipment helped the city build a sewage treatment plant designed for industrial wastewater by using open screw pumps with stainless steel tubes that withstand the corrosive materials.

Manufacturing plants, food processing companies, and other factories have two goals when it comes to industrial wastewater treatment. They want energy-saving designs that keep costs low, but they also want a water treatment system that properly cleans the water. Meet your budgetary goals and get a system that does exactly what you expect. Give us a call to discuss your industrial sewage treatment plant. Our team of specialists is happy to help design a system to your specifications that’s going to last.

Most Effective Commercial Sewage Lift Station Design

An effective commercial sewage lift station design has to match your industry’s needs. Often, it’s a pump system put in to move sewage to the sewers, but there’s a problem. The sewer line is at a higher elevation than the pipes leaving the business. For example, a hotel may have dozens of bathrooms with wastewater going to the lowest elevation, often a basement wet well, and then out to the nearby sewer.

When you have wastewater at a lower elevation that needs to travel to a higher elevation, the best solution is a sewage lift station. The lift station needs to be designed to meet needs and efficiently move the sewage along its route. You don’t want clogs to create issues. How do you determine what is the most effective commercial sewage lift station design?

Factors to Consider

When choosing your commercial sewage lift station design, what should you consider? These are the key points to consider when designing the lift station.

#1- Flow Capacity

Start with the flow capacity. You’re going to have peaks where more wastewater is leaving than usual. If you own an office building, toilets and sinks will get more use during office hours. At night, the flow decreases. You have to play your sewage lift station to match the peak flow rates. Leaving some extra room for the unexpected is a smart idea.

Flow capacity is calculated by going over all of the fixtures in the commercial building or area. You have to look at the max load for each of those fixtures. If you have 20 toilets and each toilet flush sends five gallons of water to the sewage lift station, there’s the chance that you’ll get 100 gallons of wastewater hitting the lift station at once. Add sinks, dishwashers, washing machines, etc. to that figure. While it’s unlikely they’d all run simultaneously, it’s better to plan accordingly than have a lift station that isn’t prepared for the peak flow rate.

#2 – Force Main

You now have the peak flow rate. You have to take that and consider the velocity of the force main, which is the pressurized pipe that handles the sewer pump’s discharge. You want to keep that velocity to two to five feet per second. This is important as it keeps solids from settling without creating head loss. It also helps you decide the minimum pipe size to prevent clogging of the force main.

Force main pressure may have the velocity change rapidly. If that happens, you end up with a rapid increase in water pressure known as water hammer. Water hammer can damage valves and lead to costly repairs. Making sure the water pressure on valves and other components is within the correct psi range is essential for force main pressure.

#3 – System Head

Head loss occurs when there is friction in pipes or components like the elbows. Friction can make it harder for a pump to cool down, resulting in unnecessary wear and tear. You want to avoid head loss. To do this, you want to plan for the system head curve. If you make the pipe length and elbows too small, it can lead to head loss. If you consider the vertical lift that the wastewater must be able to travel, you keep wear and tear to a minimum and reduce the need for unexpected maintenance.

#4 – Wet Well

All of the commercial wastewater may collect in a covered wet well. That wet well collects the wastewater that needs to be pumped to the sewer lines. Knowing the right size for this wet well is also essential. In the Water Pollution Control Federation’s manual, rules state sewer pumps shouldn’t run less than 5 minutes or more than 30 minutes. Your wet well needs to be large enough so that the pump falls within these discharge rates.

#5 – Area Regulations

Towns, cities, and municipalities all have regulations you must follow. These regulations are in place to prevent wastewater from overloading a wastewater treatment plant, which increases the risk of raw sewage going into bodies of water before there is enough time to treat it. You don’t want to design a lift station that increases flow so much that it impacts the effectiveness of downstream lift stations.

You may be required to design a sewage lift station that accommodates several decades of use. That means planning for growth and expansion, which also benefits you because you have a system that will not need replacing in a few years. You save money on future expansions and improvements.

#6 – The Site

You have to choose a site that considers the impact on the environment. If you’re building a commercial sewage lift station near a wetland, you could cause harm. Any flooding would also impact your lift station. You need to be near a power supply, have a site that drains well, and be located in an area where the odors won’t cause issues with residents. If there may be issues with the smell, you need to consider odor control in your design.

Types of Sewage Lift Stations

A typical sewage lift station has a wet well with a pump and piping. The pump pushes wastewater uphill to the gravity sewer manhole. Wastewater travels into the wet well for the pump to push out when the water level is high enough.

Submersible pumps are one option. The pump sits on the floor of the wet well. The impellers draw the wastewater through the pump and into the piping, heading to the sewer. A screw pump is an alternative that suits many commercial facilities’ needs due to the lift, low maintenance requirements, and efficiency.

Why Choose Screw Pumps?

Screw pumps are the best choice for moving large volumes of sewage from a commercial area, while keeping an eye on maintenance costs, downtime, and efficiency. You have two choices for screw pumps: enclosed or open.

An enclosed screw pump sits within a tube. Lakeside Equipment has two types: Type C or Type S. Type C screw pumps use a rotating tube, while Type S has a stationary tube. Here are the benefits of enclosed screw pumps.

  • Designed for drop-in replacement
  • No grouting or trough is required, shortening the time needed for installation and lowering costs
  • Type C inclines up to 45 degrees and is up to 10% more efficient than an open screw pump
  • Type S inclines range from 22 to 40 degrees and is able to pivot

An open screw pump is the opposite. The exposed screws sit in a concrete or steel trough and can be installed at angles of 22 to 40 degrees. Here are a few facts to know about open screw pumps:

  • Hydraulic lift of up to 50 feet
  • Move as little as 90 gallons per minute to as much as 55,000 gallons per minute
  • Permanently lubricated roller bearings to reduce maintenance
  • Pre-screening is not necessary thanks to the non-clogging design
  • Slow operating speeds with variable pumping capacities
  • Up to 75% efficient
  • Wet well is not required

What’s most important when it comes to a commercial sewage lift station? You want a practical design that gets the job done without requiring a lot of maintenance or wear. A lot goes into a commercial sewage lift station, and it’s not always something you can design on your own. It’s best to call an expert.

Lakeside Equipment’s screw pumps meet and exceed your goals. We’ve been designing screw pumps since the 1960s and have the experience you need for fuss-free operation and extreme efficiency. Call our experts at 630-837-5640.

Most Effective Commercial Sewage Grinder Pump System

A sewage grinder pump grinds the matter in wastewater to help it flow from a low spot to sewer lines. In a commercial setting, such as a restaurant, the grinder pump would work like a garbage disposal to grind up foods and items that go down the drain. The smaller pieces travel through pipes with a lower risk of creating a clog that could damage lines.

A grinder pump system handles things that get flushed down the toilet that shouldn’t be. If you have clients that flush baby wipes even though they do not dissolve, a grinder pump helps prevent clogs. Patrons may not realize that flushing a tampon applicator is terrible news for sewer lines. Your kitchen staff can put food scraps down the sink without causing blockages.

Meanwhile, the pump ensures the wastewater makes it up slopes and from low points. Imagine your restaurant is at the bottom of a hill, but the wastewater district’s pump station is at the top of the incline. If your building has any basement-level kitchens, laundry rooms, or bathrooms, a grinder pump helps process the solid waste with the wastewater. From there, the pump pushes it up and to the sewer lines.

Pumps push the water so that it moves in the right direction and don’t backflow into your sinks, toilets, and drains in the lowest point of your business, costing you hundreds or thousands of dollars to sanitize and clean surfaces.

Tips for Choosing Sewage Grinder Pumps

Choosing the best commercial sewage grinder pumps comes down to your needs. A sewage grinder pump needed in a large building with multiple office spaces will be far different from a pump required in a food processing company. Restaurants, bars, and hotels are other businesses that benefit from commercial sewage grinder pumps. These are the things you need to consider when you start researching your options.

#1 – The Motor’s Horsepower

A commercial sewage grinder pump will be different from a sewage grinder pump you’d use at home. It handles more wastewater, so the pump needs to be equipped to handle the higher capacity. Many residential grinder pumps range from 0.5 HP to 1 HP and have an RPM of around 3,000. A commercial grinder pump has a more powerful motor that’s often 2 HP or higher, and the RPMs usually are in the area of 3,500.

In a building with multiple bathrooms or kitchens, this is important. A pump with less power is more likely to become overwhelmed and need repairs or replacement. You have to make sure you’re installing a pump that can meet your wastewater demands. The right size pump lowers your maintenance and repair costs over time.

#2 – The Grinder’s Revolutions Per Minute (RPM)

Higher RPMs help the pump grind solid materials into a slurry. The faster it does this, the better it is to prevent backups or clogs. If you own a brewery with its own small wastewater treatment plant, you’d need a grinder pump that can handle any grains or hops that make it through filtration.

#3 – The Max Flow Rate

Check the pump’s max flow rate. If your business has upwards of 100 gallons of wastewater each minute, you want a pump that handles that much sewage. You’ll know this by the max flow rate that’s given in terms of gallons per hour. If it can handle 6,340 gallons per hour, it would manage an average of over 100 gallons per minute.

#4 – The Pump’s Construction

How does the pump work? For a commercial sewage grinder pump, you may need a control panel setup. Otherwise, systems use a float to turn the pump on and off when needed.

Check the grinder pump’s discharge design. Most have a vertical pipe that comes out of the top. A vertical design is often ideal. Ensure you have this type over a horizontal discharge requiring a 90-degree pipe section for the wastewater to travel upward.

You also need to look at the type of materials the grinder pump is made from. Many have cast iron bodies with stainless steel cutters to grind the materials into small pieces. You want a clog-free design on the impeller. Look for oil-filled, sealed motors that don’t require a lot of maintenance.

#5 – Head Height

Look at the head height. Head height is the distance (vertically) from the lowest level of the wastewater at the pump to the high point where it exits the building for sewer lines. Sewer lines usually run from the building into the sewers at the lowest level of a building. In some constructions, this means you’re sending water from the top floor to the basement and out of the building to the sewers.

If the head height offers a lift of 20 feet, but your basement or lowest area is 30 feet below the drainpipe, the head height is not sufficient. The pump needs to be powerful enough to push the water up and away from your building. If the head height is lower, the lift will not be as great, so it will struggle to move the wastewater.

Know Your Local and State Codes

A commercial sewage grinder pump system may even be required in your city or district. And it has to follow the rules outlined in city or state legislation. For example, where sewage pumps are necessary for “backwater protection” in a Wisconsin business, the grinder pump has to have opening and discharge piping diameters of no less than 1.25 inches.

It’s up to you to make sure you’re meeting those laws. The best way to ensure you comply is by working with an expert in wastewater equipment and design. Meeting your budget is essential, but it’s not always the best path forward if it means you’ll be fined or shut down for ignoring these codes.

Have You Considered Screw Pumps?

If your company is larger, screw pumps may suit your needs. There are both open and enclosed screw pumps available to help move wastewater up slopes. No matter which you select, they’re designed to avoid the need to grind solids as they do not clog.

Open screw pumps can handle 22 to 40 degrees inclines, and they do not clog, so screens are not needed. A benefit to the open screw pump is that it can handle anywhere from 90 gallons per minute to 55,000 gallons per minute with lifts of up to 50 feet per stage. Maintenance costs are low, too.

You also have enclosed screw pumps where the screw pump is hidden inside a steel tube. Type C enclosed screw pumps move anywhere from 540 to 35,000 gallons per minute at lifts of up to 60 feet. A Type S enclosed screw pump handles up to 10,000 gallons per minute with a lift of up to 30 feet. You can talk to a screw pump expert to learn more about the pros and cons of these systems when compared to your needs.

Lakeside Equipment Corporation has been a leader in water purification equipment and designs for more than 90 years. We’ve been designing screw pump systems since 1969 and have the expertise you need to ensure you meet codes. Call our customer service team at 630-837-5640 to learn more about using screw pumps for your sewage pump needs.

Does Wastewater Go Into the Ocean?

Have you ever wondered how much wastewater ends up in the ocean? Concerns grew when Japan announced they wanted to release 1.25 million tons of wastewater from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant into the Pacific Ocean. The country’s prime minister promised the wastewater would be treated, but there are still concerns about the impact on the aquatic life and fishing industry.

The Nature Conservancy released a shocking report in 2020 that alarmed some people. The environmental organization reported that the percentage of untreated wastewater released into oceans and seas worldwide was as high as 80%. In the Caribbean alone, it’s as high as 85%.

Is it concerning that this amount of untreated wastewater enters the oceans and seas around the world? Yes, but it’s also a good thing as it’s a correctable problem. It’s something that people can work on changing. The U.S. already has many measures in place to keep this from happening, but it’s not a perfect system in the U.S. either.

Cruise ships and other large vessels can dump raw sewage into the ocean or sea as long as the ship is more than three miles away from the coast. Some cruise lines have onboard wastewater treatment systems to help reduce pollution, but not all of them do.

There’s also the issue of microplastics making their way into the waterways from wastewater treatment plants. A British study found that high quantities of microplastics were found downstream of six wastewater treatment plants. Even though the wastewater had been treated, microplastics remained behind. Additives that can remove the microplastics affect fish, but the microplastics are equally harmful as they hold onto chemicals that harm fish. Plastic pollution in wastewater is one topic being focused on during Stockholm’s World Water Week in August.

Could steps be taken to ensure only clean water is released into our oceans, seas, and rivers that feed into saltwater? It’s possible, and the U.S. already takes some steps to make sure wastewater meets a rigid set of standards.

The Role of the Clean Water Act in the U.S.

Part of the Environmental Protection Agency’s job is to issue permits to wastewater districts around the country. Through the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System, municipal wastewater treatment plants apply for permits to operate. Once approved, the plant has strict guidelines to follow regarding the allowable levels of different contaminants found in the water. Failing to meet the guidelines can lead to hefty fines.

Before wastewater treatment plants can release treated wastewater, they must meet the standards outlined in the Clean Water Act and the permit granted to that community’s wastewater district. The EPA keeps a Priority Pollutant List that contains dozens of pollutants that plants must remove from wastewater before it’s released to a river, stream, pond, lake, ocean, or sea. On this list are things like arsenic, asbestos, benzene, copper, lead, etc. Bacteria and viruses also must be removed.

Additional steps must be taken before wastewater goes into saltwater. For example, alpha-Endosulfan must be less than 0.034 or 0.0087 micrograms per liter. Arsenic must be no more than 36 or 69 micrograms per liter. The chlorine used to kill bacteria must be lowered to 7.5 or 13 micrograms per liter of treated wastewater before it’s released. The Recommended Water Quality Criteria contains the rules to freshwater and wastewater that treatment plants must follow.

Leaks and Problems That Threaten Our Oceans

How often do wastewater treatment plants leak into the ocean? It occurs more often than you might think.

In April, experts found a leak at a wastewater reservoir in Tampa, Florida. Around 480 million gallons of wastewater had to be removed due to the threat of flooding after one leak in a containment wall was discovered. The Piney Point waste station had closed down 20 years earlier following a bankruptcy. Had the reservoir’s walls burst, it would have flooded the area and made its way to the ocean.

A Seattle wastewater treatment plant leaked raw sewage at the end of April. Days later, the same thing happened, making two sewage spills happen in Puget Sound. In the first spill, around 1,700 gallons of untreated wastewater went into Elliott Bay. The second spill leaked approximately 880,000 gallons. Both of these spills were caused when a backup power supply failed during routine testing and maintenance. This wasn’t the first time this plant has had issues. Another spill happened in January and involved 11 million gallons of untreated wastewater.

Quincy, Massachusetts, faced a lawsuit filed by the EPA after untreated sewage and wastewater leaked into Boston Harbor in 2019. As part of the settlement, the city agreed to invest over $100 million in upgrades and repairs of its wastewater treatment plant.

Another city slapped with a lawsuit was Sunnyvale, California. Lawyers for the city requested the charges be dismissed, but a federal court judge ruled against them. In the end, the city was fined $187,000 because close to 300,000 gallons of wastewater leaked into San Francisco Bay. The spill occurred due to antiquated piping that is more than 100 years old in some areas.

Back in 2020, Portland, Maine, also dealt with a spill during a power failure. The exact amount of untreated wastewater that went into Casco Bay is unknown as the computer system also went down in the power outage. It’s estimated that around 4 million gallons ended up in the ocean. That was the second leak in two years.

Two dozen New Jersey communities were given four extra months to develop better wastewater treatment plans to stop raw sewage spills during heavy rains. The communities’ wastewater treatment plants often end up spilling wastewater into the ocean during a storm, and the EPA demanded new Long Term Control Plans be filed. The pandemic led to a four-month delay, but those cities and towns had to have plans in place and came up with a plan that would cost around $3.5 billion in infrastructure improvements.

In many of these recent leaks, outdated piping and wastewater treatment plant equipment were to blame. It’s essential to check backup generators regularly and test equipment. If piping or equipment is getting old, it’s time to look into replacing systems. Repairs work for a time, but a complete replacement can help lower energy costs, saving money in the long run.

How Can Your Wastewater District Help Keep Untreated Wastewater Out of the Ocean?

If wastewater treatment plants located near oceans make sure their equipment meets the current demand, it lowers the risk of untreated wastewater reaching the saltwater. Have a qualified company look at your plant’s design and make sure your equipment can meet heavy loads.

Heavy loads include unexpected amounts of runoff during a storm. When families use more water in the morning before getting to work or return from work and have dishes to wash and laundry to run, it increases the amount of wastewater entering the sewer system. This puts a burden on the equipment if the system isn’t designed for a sudden rush of sewage.

Towns and cities continue to grow. If your wastewater treatment plant was designed decades ago, it might not be operating efficiently. A small investment in new pumps, automated screening, automated process controls, and upgraded grit collection makes a big difference.

Lakeside Equipment has experts ready to help you make sure your wastewater treatment plant is doing everything possible to meet and exceed the requirements needed to ensure you’re releasing clean water into the ocean. Give us a call to learn more.

Is It Safe to Live Near a Wastewater Treatment Plant?

The odors that come from a wastewater treatment plant aren’t always pleasant. People who live near the plant may start to wonder just how safe it is to have windows open and be breathing those smells all day. What about the fecal matter that’s found in wastewater? Can any of it fall on the surfaces in their home and lead to health issues? When they’re not sure, they come to your plant managers or the district with concerns.

As the plant manager, you’re not sure how to answer. Do they have valid concerns? You can’t dismiss them, so what do you tell them? Here’s what you need to know about the safety of living near a wastewater treatment plant.

What Studies of Air Quality Find?

So, what are the risks? Is your plant releasing bacteria into the atmosphere that makes your community members sick? It’s not likely.

A study was performed in Greece to find out exactly how much pollution impacted residents who lived near a wastewater treatment plant in Patras. The plant’s basic set-up included screens, grit chambers, outdoor primary and secondary settling tanks, outdoor chlorination, and indoor sludge treatment.

The study looked at a 1,640-foot radius and only focused on people who lived in their homes for at least eight hours per day. Once a week for an entire month, samples of the air were taken in six different neighborhoods. The samples were collected in the morning, afternoon, and evening to account for different flow rates coming into the treatment plant. Researchers also collected notes on the temperature, weather conditions, and humidity levels.

Once samples were collected, they were delivered to the processing lab within two hours. Bacteria were treated and allowed to incubate for the next 24 hours. At that point, an expert analyst looked at each to count any colonies that had formed. In bacterial colonies that did form, around 36% were Strep, 29% were Staph, 21% were not identified, 9% were E. coli, and 5% were Enterococcus. Salmonella was not found. All had less than 800 colony-forming units per cubic meter each day.

While the researchers identified airborne contaminants, there were very low concentrations. The two sampling stations that had the highest concentrations were right near the wastewater treatment plant.

This sounds concerning but consider this. An NSF International Public Health and Safety Organization study of germs in the household found Coliform on 3 out of 4 kitchen sponges or dish rags. Coliform was found on almost half of the kitchen sinks in the study. The bacteria were also found on 3 out of 10 counters and 2 out of 10 cutting boards. There were more Coliform colonies on toothbrush holders than there were on bathroom faucet handles.

Bacteria thrive in warm, moist environments. It’s why more bacteria are found in sponges than on a computer keyboard. If a homeowner isn’t constantly sanitizing their sponges, towels, sinks, and bathmats, Coliform is likely already in their home. Bathrooms and kitchens are the most common areas to find bacteria, but it’s not limited to those areas.

Coliform bacteria are not the only bacteria in the home. Pet toys and pet bowls turned out to be a significant source of Staph. Staph was also commonly found on game controllers and remotes. The five germiest items in a household were the kitchen sponge or dishrag, the kitchen sink, the toothbrush holder, pet bowls, and the coffeemaker’s water reservoir.

Plant Upgrades Help Lower Odors and Airborne Contaminants

Go back to the days of Hippocrates for some of the earliest evidence that airborne pollutants can impact health. As early as 460 B.C., Hippocrates notes that men were becoming sick after being outside and breathing smelly air. The smells were likely from composting materials in swamps and ponds during the warmer summer months. That helped spark changes leading to more sanitary ways to dispose of those killed in wars or human waste in camps and communities.

Fast forward dozens of centuries later. Today’s wastewater treatment plants do everything possible to lower the risk of airborne contaminants. Through the use of tank covers, it can help stop hydrogen sulfide and methane from being released into the air. Covers also help keep debris like leaves, dust, and tree pollen from getting into wastewater basins. Are these covers enough, or do additional steps help reduce the risk of airborne contaminants?

You do need to start by determining where the odors come from. Check everything from the pump station to the settling tanks. It could be one specific area or several of them. Your findings help you determine the best solution. If you use open screw pumps to move wastewater from one location to the next, odors will escape. Switching to closed screw pumps stops the smells from releasing.

Some wastewater plant upgrades can help lower the odors of your plant. One of the first to consider is covers. A gas-tight cover stops hydrogen sulfide from entering the environment. Whether you choose aluminum, steel, or fiberglass, you can get retractable covers, floating covers, or flexible geomembranes. How do you choose the best one? Consider these factors.

  • Is it airtight?
  • Can it stand up to environmental factors like temperature changes and weather conditions?
  • Will it make your employees’ jobs more difficult?
  • Does it impact your plant’s safety?
  • How easy is it to get a custom cover that matches your plant’s needs?

These covers become a money-saving step to take as it also keeps algae from growing, and it adds thermal protection in the winter. When you add a gas collection cover, the methane produced during wastewater treatment is captured and can be used to heat and power your plant. That lowers operating costs.

Deodorizing misting systems throughout the plant help neutralize the smells. Another option is to start adding chemicals that react with the compounds that cause the odors. Adding an air purifying system that captures the air, filters it through biofilters or carbon filters is also helpful. Once the air is filtered, it can go out into the atmosphere without leading to unpleasant odors.

While each of these methods will help, a cover is highly effective. You may find you need multiple plans to combat odors. Don’t get discouraged. Weather extremes are changing average annual temperatures and conditions. Smells may be worse in high humidity. A windy day may make the odors travel farther than usual. If you’re having a hard time figuring it out, don’t forget wastewater equipment specialists have the answers you need.

Keeping the people in your wastewater district is one of the best ways to ensure they’re happy. If water costs are low, they’re less likely to complain. Covers are the most cost-effective solution in a wastewater treatment plant. If you don’t have covers on your tanks, you should consider them. Talk to Lakeside Equipment about equipment upgrades that help reduce odors and lower your operating costs.

Also, keep them informed. If there are more odors in the summer, explain why and assure them it’s temporary. Be honest and reassure them you’re doing everything possible to lower the smells that are emitted. Offer free tours, show why the odors occur, and listen for feedback. If you’re still not sure how to help reduce the odors that bother your neighbors, Lakeside Equipment’s specialists help you find the right solutions to incorporate in your wastewater plant design.