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Protecting Stormwater Pump Stations from Overwhelming Flows

Natural Gas Pipeline Metering Station in Flood Plain

Romtec Utilities designs and supplies pump stations for all types of water pumping applications, including stormwater management systems. Stormwater systems provide a vital service to water infrastructure as urban development continues to grow and new construction takes place in low elevation areas. These systems are expensive and can be quickly overwhelmed by large volumes of rainwater and flooding causing damage to pumps. When these risks are present, Romtec Utilities will include the necessary protections in our stormwater systems to prevent pump motors from continuously running and overheating.

Romtec Utilities has designed thousands of stormwater pump stations for all types of applications and flow rates. The higher the flow rates, the more expensive pumps become. These pieces of equipment are essentially investments in the stormwater infrastructure of the area and should be protected whenever possible. When the amount of stormwater entering the system exceeds the discharge rate, pumps will be overwhelmed and forced into a state of constant operation. Most submersible pumps utilize a passive cooling system that require breaks in operation to keep motor temperatures down. Without the proper protections in place, pumps can easily overheat and require maintenance personnel to travel to the site to either repair the pumps or replace them. This damage can easily be prevented if the pump station automatically shuts itself off when these pumping conditions are present, this is typically achieved using a high level shutoff.

High level shutoffs are an effective option for preventing damage to flooded pump stations. Like their name suggests, once a predetermined volume of water inside the wet well is detected pumps will automatically shut off to prevent damage. The pump station will typically be restarted automatically once flooding has stopped or can be configured for manual reactivation. More sophisticated pump station controls can even interface with exterior input sensors to detect water conditions outside the wet well for a more reliable protection system. When these protections are necessary will likely be determined by the nature of the application and the location of the pump station.

Although some stormwater pump stations will encounter higher volumes of stormwater than expected during heavy rain events, only a few are at risk of being completely overwhelmed. The nature of the pumping application and location of the system are the most important considerations when designing a new pump station. Pump stations that are installed in a flood plain or tideland where they will be completely submerged underwater are at the highest risk. Other equipment, like flood proof top hatches, can be included to help reduce the amount of water that is let into the wet well, but will provide not help when the system is discharging to an inundated location.

Stormwater pump stations are powerful tools in today’s water infrastructure.  When these systems are installed in flood plains or other low elevation areas they pose a significant risk of being overwhelmed from excessive flows caused by flooding. After designing and supplying thousands of pump stations, Romtec Utilities always includes high level shutoffs and any other preventative measures for protecting stormwater pump stations when these risks are present. Contact Romtec Utilities today for more information about our stormwater pump stations!

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