How One Municipality Canned Their Vacuum Prime Can Lift Station

Author: Sara Peters | August 18, 2016 | Category: Wastewater Treatment

can-lift-station-removed.pngInthe 1970s and 1980s, vacuum primed can lift stations were all the rage. The vacuum prime allowed pumps to stay above the water for maintenance, and the ability to bury most of the “can” meant minimal visibility, lending very well to the aesthetics of a community. But since then, priorities have changed.

As vacuum prime lift stations age, they’re being phased out across the state. Chronic priming issues, the excessive amount of equipment needed to operate it, and the fact that they’re defined as confined spaces, has caused municipalities across the state to make the switch from vacuum prime stations to submersible lift stations.

Worker safety has become an issue of high importance (rightfully so) in the municipal world. So when the floor of a vacuum prime can lift station began to show signs of failure, a central Wisconsin public works department knew it had gone from just an outdated piece of equipment, to a serious safety issue.

The lift station had been in service since the mid 1980s. Age and environment contributed greatly to deterioration of the lift station’s floor. But the floor wasn’t the only problem the lift station had.

The lift station employed vacuum prime technology to help draw water up into the lift station pump. The vacuum prime worked most of the time, but when it didn’t, the operators had big problems, resulting in emergency calls and long hours at the most inconvenient times.

Though the inner workings of the lift station were just below grade, it is still technically deemed a confined space. It costs the city additional funds in training and man hours to maintain these types of systems. Daily checks were inefficient because they were time consuming and required multiple employees to safely complete necessary tasks.

The Director of Public Works knew it was time for the lift station to be addressed with a safer, more reliable solution.

gorman-rupp-asvp.pngThrough his research, and discussions with his Crane Engineering Account Manager, the Director of Public Works determined that a lift station with submersible pumps would solve the priming issues, and an above grade valve package would eliminate the confined space issues they had with their current lift station.

It was decided that the ASVP package from Gorman Rupp would satisfy all the objectives for the project.

In one day, the old lift station was removed, and the new submersible lift station was installed.

Because of the decisions made the city’s Director of Public Works, Wastewater operators can now expect a boost in reliability, cost savings, and a safer work environment.

Have a lift station that needs some TLC? Ask us about it! We gladly provide technical assistance to businesses and municipalities in Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

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Sara Peters

Sara Peters

Sara leads Crane Engineering's blogging team, coming up with fresh stories and insights for our readers to apply to their every day work.

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