Types of Pumps Used in the Wastewater Treatment Industry

If you work in the wastewater treatment industry, you know there is a need for high-quality pumps to transfer materials, such as treated effluent and sewage, from one point to another. The specific type of pump you choose will depend on a variety of factors. Here are some of the challenges with pumps in this industry and the different types of pumps used for wastewater treatment. 

Challenges with Pumps in the Wastewater Treatment Industry

centrifugal-pumpSeveral possible issues can exist with pumps in a wastewater treatment facility, which can impact the reliability and efficiency of the treatment process. Some of the most significant problems that can arise with pumps in this business include the following:

1. Clogging

It’s not uncommon for pumps in the wastewater treatment industry to become clogged with debris and solid materials, which can reduce the flow rate or lead the pump to malfunction. Preventing this is usually a matter of regular pump maintenance and using the right type of pump. 

2. Cavitation

When bubbles form due to a vacuum created by a pump’s impeller vaporizing the pumped liquid, this is called cavitation. These bubbles will collapse, creating high-pressure shock waves inside a pump, which can reduce efficiency and damage a pump. You can prevent cavitation by using the proper pump for the desired application and keeping it well maintained. 

3. Corrosion

Corrosive chemicals are often used in wastewater treatment plants. These might include bases or acids, which can cause pump and equipment deterioration. The use of corrosion-resistant materials and regular maintenance can help avoid decay. 

4. Electrical Issues

Wastewater treatment plant pumps can experience electrical issues, such as motor failures and power surges, which can lead to pump malfunctions. Proper electrical protection and regular maintenance can help prevent these problems. 

5. Wear and Tear

Pumps in the wastewater treatment industry are likely to experience high levels of wear and tear due to the corrosive and abrasive nature of the fluids being handled. Regular maintenance and the replacement of damaged or worn parts can help extend a pump’s useful life. 

Types of Pumps Used in the Wastewater Treatment Industry

When it comes to wastewater treatment, there are three different treatment processes — primary, secondary, and tertiary. The quality of the treated water produced depends on the type of treatment process employed. Different municipalities and businesses will use different types of treatment processes based on the contaminants present, the quantity of water to be treated, the purity levels desired, and other factors. 

But all processes require the use of industrial pumps. These pumps are used to remove waste from the collection areas, treat it in the wastewater treatment plan, and move it to the next desired location, such as a storage tank. Here are some of the most common types of pumps used in the wastewater treatment industry, how they work, and their particular advantages. 

Centrifugal Pumps

Centrifugal pumps are commonly used in wastewater treatment applications. These pumps use centrifugal force to produce enough velocity to move fluid through the system.

One advantage of centrifugal pumps is that they are simple to install and don’t require a lot of space. Their maintenance is also reasonably straightforward. These pumps are excellent for wastewater treatment because they don’t clog unless there is an issue with the impeller. The moving parts inside one of these pumps are also quite durable, which ensures your pump will last a long time. 

Positive Displacement Pumps

Positive displacement pumps use impellers, gears, and rollers to displace and move fluid throughout the system. These pumps operate by having two or three spindles rotating in opposite directions. This pumps, traps, and displaces the materials, such as wastewater. Several different types of positive displacement pumps include rotary, reciprocating, and linear positive displacement pumps. 

This type of pump is also suitable for wastewater treatment because it can handle various viscosities of fluid under different levels of pressure without impacting capacity. These pumps can also produce a consistent speed and flow. 

Submersible Pumps

When you’re dealing with large quantities of wastewater that require treatment, you probably need a pump that is water-tight. Submersible pumps are another type of pump that is commonly used in this industry. In essence, these are centrifugal pumps that are water-tight and operate in a vertical position. The pump’s impeller can be either an open- or close-cycle type. 

Different types of submersible pumps include sump pumps, sewage/effluent pumps, water pumps, and dewatering pumps. These pumps work well in the wastewater treatment industry because they are self-priming, quiet, and available in many shapes and sizes, and not prone to cavitation. 

Other Pumps

The three pumps listed above are the primary ones you’ll find in the wastewater treatment industry, but there are several others, including the following.

  • Progressive Cavity Pumps — This type of pump uses pipelines or storage tanks to transfer slurry or liquids from the inlet area to the area. 
  • Air Pressure Pumps — Also known as pneumatic ejectors, these pumps use gravity to force wastewater into a designated tank whenever the levels get high enough to activate the float. 
  • Circulation Pumps — This type of pump can be used to keep slurry moving through a wastewater treatment plant. 
  • Water Pressure Booster Pumps — Some wastewater treatment facilities use these pumps to boost and control water pressure. 
  • Agitator Pumps — This type of pump can supply kinetic energy along the pump intake. 

Get Assistance Choosing the Right Type of Wastewater Treatment Pump

C&B Equipment services and sells a wide range of pumps used in the wastewater treatment industry. We are one of the largest industrial equipment distributors in the Kansas City area, serving clients throughout Kansas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, and the Texas Panhandle. If your wastewater treatment business needs an industrial pump or has a pump that requires service, contact us today to learn more about our high-quality products and services!

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