How to Increase the Efficiency of Your Lift Station

Water naturally flows downward, moved by the force of gravity. As much as possible, municipal water systems send water down sloped pipes to take advantage of this fact. However, these pipes can only go so deep before they become impractical. Water utilities use lifting stations to raise wastewater to a higher level to continue its journey to a treatment plant.

What’s a Lift Station?

A lift station is a small facility that collects wastewater in a well and pumps it to a higher elevation. It is typically located at a central point in the water system where it can receive the flow from several pipes. After rising, the water moves toward the water treatment plant flowing with the force of gravity.

The Importance of Lift Station Maintenance

Because lift stations have a single task, it can be easy to forget them until there is a problem. However, regular lift station maintenance is essential for consistent and efficient operation. These units deal with untreated wastewater, so impurities are not unusual to have adverse effects on the system’s health. A regular maintenance schedule can catch problems before they lead to system failure.

Scheduled maintenance also has the benefit of happening during standard operating hours. Regular care allows the utility to do better logistical planning of personnel and resources and, ultimately, improves lift station efficiency.

Extending Lift Life Through Retrofitting

Homeowners may not consider the impact of the things they flush down the toilet. However, fats, oils, and flushable wipes can create clogs that slow or block lift station pumps. Such blockages will require a repair call and may cause service interruptions.

If the water utility finds a station is prone to recurring blockages, it may consider retrofitting it with screens or grinders. Adding new equipment comes with an upfront cost, but the reduction in emergency service calls will likely bring long-term savings. Pumps operating efficiently do not have to work as hard, extending their lifespan.

Lift Station Pump Replacement and Increased Efficiency

Pumps are essential to lifting station operations. They frequently run as they push water through the system. Most pumps have an expected usable lifespan of around 15 years. With regular maintenance, they may last a few years more. However, technology can change drastically in a decade, and water companies may want to consider updating pumps before the end of their lifespan.

Pumping water requires work, and water-moving pumps have some of the highest operating costs in a water system. Replacing pumps with newer models with energy-efficient technology is an important consideration. The utility must determine if the annual financial savings outweigh the cost of the upgrade.

Adding SCADA Technology to Lifting Stations

Pump upgrades are not the only way to improve the efficiency of a lifting station. Making the facility part of a system control and data acquisition system can also bring significant benefits. SCADA technology allows managers to receive real-time information about operating status. Sensors in the well or attached to the pump can send alerts when there is a sudden change in operation. This information might warn of the formation of a clog before there is a complete blockage.

Another benefit to incorporating SCADA is observing system performance over time. As pumps age, they tend to lose efficiency. Data about gradual changes will help determine an optimal lift station maintenance or pump replacement schedule.

High Tide Technologies and Cloud-Based SCADA

High Tide Technologies is an experienced partner for SCADA technology in the water industry. We help municipal water collection, treatment, and distribution systems gather the real-time information they need to streamline operations.

Our cloud-based model allows employees to access sensor data from any location on a phone or tablet, leading to faster response times. Contact us today to learn more about the benefits of SCADA for your system.