The Advantages of Automated Lift Stations

Wastewater requires an unobstructed path as it travels from residential homes to treatment plants. While gravity can do much of the work, geography and distance can disrupt the flow. Lift stations are a common solution to this problem, pumping water to a higher level where gravity can continue to guide its path.

What is a lift station?

A lift station is a small facility that consists of a well and a pump. Wastewater enters the well through an inlet pipe. At a predetermined volume, the pump turns on and forces the water into a discharge pipe that releases it at a higher level. The water can then continue its journey on a downward slope.

There are two types of lifting stations, differentiated by the placement of the pump: dry-well and submersible. A submersible station has a smaller footprint because it only has one well, and the pump sits inside the wastewater chamber. In a dry-well design, pump maintenance is easier because it sits in a separate well. All stations may also include grinders to prevent blockages and scrubbers to alleviate odors.

Benefits of Automated Sewage Lift Stations

Pumping stations are frequent features of wastewater systems that cover large areas. Creating a clear path for sewage is critical for local health and sanitation.

Lower Infrastructure Costs

The distance between residences and the treatment plant can make it unfeasible to move sewage by gravity alone. The cost of trenching increases as pipes go deeper underground. Raising the water level with a lift station pump is often a more affordable option.

Wastewater System Scalability

Wastewater infrastructure must adapt to growing needs. Pump stations can make it possible to attach new subdivisions to the current wastewater management system.

Challenges of Lifting Stations

There is no perfect solution to wastewater management. Sewage pump stations have disadvantages that designers must consider.

Energy Efficiency

Pumping water uphill is an energy-intensive process. Running lift station pumps will increase operating costs and the environmental impact of a wastewater management system. The loss of power can also mean unsanitary sewage backflows.

Lift Station Monitoring

Even automated sewage lift stations require routine attention. Pump failures and blockages could cause sewage pooling and backups without periodic inspection.

Improving Efficiency with Advanced Automated Systems

Most stations do not have a full-time staff person onsite. Instead, they work automatically, and the pump kicks on when the wet well reaches a preset volume.

However, advanced automation can improve the station’s functionality beyond its basic operation. A fully automated site can monitor itself, sending performance data and alerts when something goes wrong. It can also work in conjunction with other pump sites, improving the efficiency of the whole wastewater system.

SCADA Technology and Automated Wastewater Management

System control and data acquisition (SCADA) technology uses sensor-driven data to optimize the performance of industrial systems. In the wastewater industry, sensors throughout the system provide information about such factors as flow rates and water pressure. These advanced automated systems offer several benefits.

Responsive Troubleshooting

While SCADA sensors will send alerts when there is a breakdown, they can also provide information about minor changes in performance. This ability allows repair crews to address problems before they become critical. The maintenance team can make repairs with minimal disruption for customers.

Remote Monitoring

Cloud-based SCADA models provide flexibility for system monitoring. If dangerous weather conditions require the evacuation of the wastewater plant, managers can still observe and control the infrastructure from a remote location. For example, managers can shut down lift station pumps to prevent burnout during flooding.

Historical Performance Analysis

Understanding how an asset performs over time provides insight into its service needs. SCADA information combined with AI analytic tools can comprehensively picture pump station performance.

Experts in Cloud-Based SCADA Technology

Cloud-based SCADA increases the power of automation for lift stations and other wastewater management system assets. At High Tide Technologies, we specialize in designing and implementing the latest SCADA technology for water collection, treatment, and distribution systems. Managing your assets from the cloud will improve your system’s overall performance and efficiency.