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Why Should You Monitor Your Wastewater Lift Stations?

Sensaphone_Inbound_Blogging_790x435Systems for collecting wastewater and stormwater are complex. They use a series of downstream pipes, pumps, and controls to prevent wastewater from entering our fresh water ponds, lakes, rivers and streams.

Lift stations are a critical part of these wastewater systems. They help move the wastewater from lower to higher elevations through pipes. This is especially critical in areas that have elevations that make gravity flow impossible. For example, a sewage pump station may be used to lift sewage over a ridge and let it flow by gravity to a treatment plant. Lift stations are also used when gravity conveyance is cost-prohibitive due to high excavation and construction costs.

Key elements of lift stations

  • Wastewater receiving well (wet well)
  • Pumps, piping and valves
  • Motors
  • Power supply
  • Odor control system
  • Ventilation system

Depending on the size of the communities they serve, municipal wastewater utilities might need to maintain hundreds of lift stations in remote locations. Small stations that handle less than 700 gallons per minute generally have two pumps, while larger lift stations with greater inflows use many more pumps. Municipalities need assurance that all of these remote pumps are working even though they have limited resources. 

Supplementing weekly inspections

Lift station operation is usually automated, so facilities don't require on-site operators. It is very common for operators to conduct weekly inspections to identify potential problems. During these inspections, they check pumps, motors and drives for unusual noise, vibration, heat, and leaks. They might also look for leaking discharge lines and check control panel switches, pump speed, suction, discharge rates and pressure.

Between these weekly inspections, anything can go wrong, so it is advisable to have a reliable remote monitoring system in place. Without one, a problem could go undetected until the next inspection. With one, you are alerted instantly to potential problems, which provides both cost savings and peace of mind.

Monitor pumps at your lift station site for power outages, pump cycles, sump level, on/off and input/output pressure. Not only can you reduce maintenance costs, but you can drastically reduce response times for overflows, flooding and wastewater incidents. The idea is to solve problems before they become catastrophes.

Legacy landlines, auto-dialers and radio-based telemetry systems should be upgraded to cloud-based monitoring systems that are more reliable and provide better access to data. Today’s systems are also much less costly to install and maintain. They don’t require copper wiring or traveling to remote stations to manually monitor equipment and sensors. These systems also make it easier to avoid fines and comply with the guidelines and requirements of the Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) Act.

Pump monitoring systems help avoid:

  • Public outcry from service disruptions
  • Contaminated water
  • Sewer overflows
  • High energy costs
  • High costs of pump maintenance
  • Environmental impact caused by overflows
  • Fines

Receive immediate notifications of threats

Remote monitoring systems are a low-cost way to monitor critical conditions at unattended pump stations. Receive immediate notification of any readings outside of your preset parameters. The systems integrate seamlessly into floats, pump alarm outputs, level transducers and other equipment. Sensors are available to monitor:

Callout only devices

Many stations that are equipped with a PLC use a Sensaphone unit as a simple callout device. The device is wired into the alarm contacts of the PLC, and when the PLC identifies an alarm, the unit alerts the appropriate personnel. Each alarm contact can be uniquely identified (e.g., wet well pump #1) so that personnel know exactly what the problem is before they arrive on site. However, relying on the controller to send an alarm can introduce several points of failure. Alternatively, if the PLC uses Modbus, the Sentinel Pro can pull sensor data directly from the PLC and remotely provide that data in real time for status updates, alarming, notification, reporting and data logging.

Independent verification

Other users prefer to use their Sensaphone system to independently verify conditions in their remote or unattended location. By using sensors to monitor for wet well levels, temperature, flow, equipment malfunction and power failure, they can check the status of their station at any time by logging into a website or calling the device. Many devices also record data, which can be used to show compliance and analyze trends.

Automatic data logging

Our newest systems, like the Sentinel, offer data logging capabilities and unlimited storage. These products gather data and push it to the cloud for alarming and reporting. You can store years of wastewater system data. This data helps you identify trends that can improve pump performance and optimize operations. You can monitor the status of multiple water and wastewater treatment locations through Sensaphone’s website or iPhone/Android app. Manage multiple devices from one login to get:

  • Pump run-time reports
  • Flow history
  • Specific equipment status
  • Alarm history

To get more information or help selecting the right system for your application, call our remote monitoring experts today. 



Integrating Remote Monitoring Systems into Modern, Wastewater Processing Facilities