The Importance of Trash Rakes and Screening Water During Heavy Rainfal

Heavy rainfall events have been increasing steadily in recent years, and with this comes new challenges for our local water management systems. Heavy rainfall can bring significant amounts of debris, creating vulnerabilities for wastewater systems and potentially impacting water quality. 

As we’re seeing shifts in climate, particularly related to rainfall, it has become more important than ever to consider the importance of trash rakes and water screens for effectively managing intake water. 

How do Trash Rakes and Water Screens Work?

Torrential rains can bring all types of debris, sludge, septage, and scum into your system. Wastewater screening equipment is the very first line of defense against contamination from heavy rainwater runoff. 

Screens are made of heavy gauge stainless steel, with the newest models being capable of capturing, compacting, and washing the collected debris, reducing its overall volume by as much as 50%. This reduction in volume helps reduce the costs associated with waste disposal.

In addition to screening equipment, trash rakes are also designed to remove large debris from the water that comes with heavy rainfall. Debris like leaves, roots, branches, grass, and other types of non-biomass debris can cause blockages and obstruct the infrastructure of wastewater systems. 

Trash rakes do the heavy duty of removing these types of debris from bar screens, allowing smooth water flow through the treatment system. 

Trash rake and water screen systems suppliers design equipment for the specific needs of facilities such as:

  • Hydropower Plants
  • Wastewater Treatment Facilities
  • Petrochemical Plants 
  • Potable Water Treatment Facilities
  • Steel Mills
  • Fish Diversions 

4 Key Reasons Why Trash Rakes and Screening Water Matters

Flood Prevention

Heavy rain presents a scenario where significant debris can clog the basins of water collection facilities. This level of debris can disrupt the functionality of drainage systems, and increase the threat of devastating flood conditions. 

In urban areas, flash flooding puts human health at risk, along with causing costly property damage. For wastewater collection facilities, flooding due to backed-up debris can pose a threat to property and daily operations. 

Preservation of Sewage Systems and Infrastructure 

Trash rakes and water screens are essential for protecting the infrastructure of wastewater collection facilities and sewage systems. By collecting and removing debris before it has the opportunity to travel into the treatment flow, trash rakes protect infrastructure and significantly reduce the need for repairs and downtime. 

We already touched on flood prevention in general as a benefit of trash rakes, but it’s important to acknowledge the potential damage caused by even minimal flooding to water intake facilities. Without a trash rake and water screen system, solid material, debris, and other unwanted objects can make their way through, disrupting water flow and clogging equipment. 

Reduction in Maintenance Costs 

Having a water filtration system that includes both a water screen and trash rake is one of the most effective ways of reducing the overall maintenance costs associated with water intake facilities. 

A water screen is essential in protecting equipment from clogs and damage due to debris from heavy rainfall. Without a properly functioning water screen in place, each piece of equipment along the water flow path is at an increased risk of damage. 

Still, the large amounts of debris that accumulate against the screen need to be removed so that water can flow through the screen more efficiently. Without regularly removing debris, the effectiveness and durability of the water screen are compromised. This can translate to significant costs in upkeep, repairs, and replacements. 

Trash rakes remove the massive amounts of debris associated with heavy rainfall from the screens, allowing them to return to maximum efficiency. Each part of the trash rake/water screen system is a critical component in reducing maintenance and repair costs throughout the entire water collection facility. 

Environmental Protection

Water screens and trash rake systems work to protect the environment in a number of ways. As a first line of defense, thrash rakes sweep across the surface of rainwater, collecting refuse and debris to protect both the local ecosystem and the broader water management system from contamination. 

As waste is collected, it is either automatically or manually placed into a holding container, preventing it, and its byproducts, from being discharged back into the water system. This also helps to protect native wildlife by maintaining a proper ecosystem balance. As heavy rainfall lifts debris, and pollutants from the ground, the water screens and trash rakes work to permanently remove them, leading to a cleaner, healthier natural environment. 

What To Look for With a Trash Rake System

Efficiency: Efficiency matters when choosing a wastewater trash rake system. It should be well-engineered to perform seamlessly, even in harsh conditions, including the types of conditions seen with heavy rainfall. Hydraulic-driven equipment is the most efficient and will lower overall operating costs. 

Durability: Trash rakes and water screens are an investment and one that needs to stand up against the demands of harsh weather conditions without compromising structural integrity. Features like adjustable pressure and having all workable components above water for easy maintenance help to ensure the long life of the equipment. 

Strength: Debris and biomass associated with heavy rainfall can place significant stress on trash rake systems. For heavy rainfall areas, trash rakes must be capable of removing significant debris, including heavy branches, tree roots, large pieces of biomass, and non-biomass debris from areas that are prone to flooding. 

A focus on durable construction also means that trash rakes can continuously run, withstanding the constant torque and strain, of removing heavy debris mass during times of consistent rainfall. 

Design Flexibility: The trash rake system you choose should have the flexibility to fit within your current system, being easily retrofitted to existing structures. Whether building a new system or replacing one of its core components, this type of flexibility and ability to accommodate multiple configurations should be central to your purchasing decision. 

Choosing the Right Trash Rakes and Wastewater Screens 

Heavy rainfall conditions can happen anywhere, making it important to understand how your trash rake and water screen system stands up to the challenges. Areas that are prone to excessive rain are even more at risk of flooding, machine damage, and compromised environmental quality if the trash rake systems aren’t performing up to standards. 

Whether you’re building or upgrading a facility, choosing the right equipment with flexible design and construction is critical. A highly efficient, low-maintenance trash rake system improves overall production and reduces overhead maintenance costs for the long term. Reach out to our Lakeside Equipment Sales Team to learn more about our premium wastewater management systems today.