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Saving Money with Stormwater Lift Station Design

A stormwater pump station for a retention pond in California.

Stormwater pump stations have become an important aspect for maintaining and improving the national condition of water resources. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) created several guidelines and permitting practices that have become standard practices for many states, municipalities, and jurisdictions. According to the EPA, its stormwater program regulates stormwater discharges from three potential sources: municipal systems, construction activities, and industrial activities.
In typical stormwater pump station design, initial construction costs are of paramount importance. That is, the upfront cost to construct a stormwater pump station should be a priority of the pump station design. There are several reasons as to why this is the case.

Unlike a wastewater lift station, which must run frequently and without stoppages, a stormwater pump station often operates infrequently to manage high-water events. With this premise in mind, stormwater pump station design must assure performance during high-water events but is often not concerned with long term operational costs. Also, stormwater pump stations often don’t need to maintain operation during lift station repairs. These pump stations are designed strictly to manage stormwater events as they occur, leaving ample downtime for maintenance.

Pump selection for stormwater pump stations is a key aspect to reducing costs in the pump station design. For a stormwater pump station, there will be prescribed inflow rates that the lift station pumps must equal. It is not severely important to plan for extreme circumstances in the stormwater pump station design. Overflowing stormwater is infrequent and by no means a catastrophic event.

Because stormwater is fairly benign in small amounts, including redundant systems is often not a priority during the lift station design for stormwater systems. This is another way to cut construction costs. Everyone understands the danger of overflowing sewage pumping systems, but a stormwater pump station faces less wear issues and, thus, concern for failure.

A good stormwater pump station design will use the appropriate combined horsepower between the total lift station pumps to equal the stipulated inflow rate. The lift station pumps will also be of the same size, pump type, and manufacturer to facilitate simple lift station repairs and maintenance. Utilizing these premises will ultimately save a lot of money on the initial costs of a suitable stormwater pump station.

For more information on stormwater guidelines, permits, and regulations, visit the EPA website. For more information on packaged pump stations for stormwater, click here.

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