Choosing the Right Lift Station Alarm: Factors to Consider for Your System

Wastewater systems depend on gravity to do most of their work. This constant force can transport water from different points in the system to the wastewater treatment plant. However, local conditions or design issues may make this process unfeasible, and wastewater will need a boost to continue its journey. A Wastewater lift station solves this problem for municipal systems.

What is a lift station?

The basic design of a lift station is well with a pump. In a dry well model, the pump sits in a separate unit outside the wastewater collection area. Modern systems typically use a submersible pump that sits inside the wet well.

As water enters the unit, the pump lifts it to a higher level where it can continue its path carried by gravity. This design is especially helpful in municipal systems that transport wastewater over long distances, allowing system pipes to remain at a reasonable depth.

The Function of a Lift Station Alarm

Lift stations are critical pieces of wastewater infrastructure. Lift station pump failure can result in hazardous sewage overflows and backups. For this reason, a lift station alarm is an essential part of any station. Lift station alarms typically sound when the wet well volume is higher than normal. This condition indicates that the pump’s output is not keeping up with its intake.

Types of Lift Station Alarms

Lift station alarms can be both visual and auditory. Problems with the pump trigger a light on the control and a bell or buzzer to indicate a problem. When installing lift stations, the alarm should always be on a separate power circuit from the pump. Otherwise, it will not sound if a problem with the circuit breaker shuts off the pump.

Alarms in Single Pump Systems

The simplest type of lift system involves a single pump. When the alarm sounds in this system, it indicates pump failure. Wastewater is not moving forward, and the system may experience sewage backups if they do not address the problem.

Alarms in Duplex Pump Systems

High-volume wastewater systems may benefit from a duplex pump design. In this arrangement, two pumps raise the water level. Designers may set up the system with a primary and secondary pump. In some systems, the pumping task cycles equally between the two pumps. When lift station alarms sound in a duplex system, it means the primary pump has failed and the secondary is doing all the work.

How to Respond to a Lift Station Alarm

Since an alarm means that water levels in the lift station are rising, operators should stop running water when it sounds. The elevated water level may be temporary if the unexpected rise is due to heavy rains. However, if the alarm does not turn off, the operators will need to service the lift station as soon as possible. Water will continue to move back toward the house if the problem is not resolved, and the system will experience sewage backups.

Home Lift Stations Versus Municipal Lift Stations

A failed pump in a home unit only affects a single household. When a municipal lift station fails, it can impact an entire neighborhood. It is also much more difficult to keep several homes from sending wastewater into the system than a single family. A fast response time is essential for municipal water systems to maintain public health and safety.

How SCADA Technology Can Streamline Lift Station Service

In the past, lift station oversight required crews to perform a daily visual inspection of stations. This process tied up personnel that could have been doing more productive work. It also meant that pump breakdowns could go for hours before detection.

System Control and Data Acquisition technology has simplified station monitoring for large systems. Sensors that send real-time status information to a central location are part of installing lift stations. Managers will know the exact moment a lift station alarm is triggered, empowering them to send crews immediately and minimize the impact of the pump failures.

Harnessing the Benefits of Cloud-Based SCADA for Municipal Water Systems

The connectivity that SCADA provides will improve the efficiency and responsiveness of municipal water systems. A cloud-based model brings additional benefits by providing critical system data to any networked device.

At High Tide Technologies, our focus is delivering advanced, cloud-based SCADA technology to municipal water collection, treatment, and distribution systems. Contact us today to learn more about the difference well-designed SCADA can make for your system.