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Pumping station cuts energy use by 27 percent

A municipal sewage pumping station on the shores of Lake Como, Italy, has successfully reduced energy consumption by 27 percent thanks to Xylem’s Flygt Experior. The sustainable wastewater pumping solution also eliminates clogging.

Lake Como in northern Italy is world renowned as a prime holiday location as well as being home to high profile celebrities. The region’s heavy dependency on tourism puts a strong focus on maintaining the quality of the local environment and means that smart wastewater management is a particularly crucial business in the region.

An added challenge is the dramatic mountainous terrain – not the most ideal landscape for housing wastewater treatment stations. The rugged nature of the landscape means that the main sewage treatment plant for the area is located just a few hundred meters from the historic city center.

A complex pump station management system oversees a total of 14 pumping stations, which push 55,000 cubic meters of effluent per day to the treatment plant. Comodepur, the organization responsible for managing the wastewater system in the region, must ensure that the treated, purified water that is discharged directly back into Lake Como complies with stringent environmental standards. The team at Comodepur was very aware that a pump malfunction could result in reflux from the sewage system ending up directly in Lake Como.

Fibers were clogging pumps

The Tavernola sewage pumping station located on the western shore of the lake was one of the most energy-intensive stations of the entire system. Here, wastewater from neighboring municipalities converges, including wastewater from some textile companies, resulting in fabric filaments entering the system. Aided by the low speed of the pumps, these textile remnants frequently became wrapped around the pump impellers, resulting in persistent clogging of the system.

Concerns about system inefficiencies, rising energy consumption and maintenance costs led the operators to decide to upgrade the system. In an attempt to improve the efficiency of the operation, the team had installed an inverter to regulate the speed of rotation of the pumps according to the real-time needs of the system. Unfortunately, this yielded little in terms of positive results.

“It got to a stage where the system required intervention up to three times every week,” says Alberto Turconi, Technical Manager, Comodepur. “The considerable size and weight (over 300 kg each) of the pumps in the system meant that two men were required each time it had to be unclogged. In addition to the deployment of personnel, the complex cleaning operation involved a costly suction lorry for draining and cleaning the sump as well as the expense of disposing of filamentous and biological material.”

The Try and Buy offer

Luigi Cece, Director of the Comodepur plant and sewage system says, “We were very conscious that we needed a sustainable, cost-effective system, particularly as any cost increases would ultimately impact on rates paid by local inhabitants.”

Comodepur agreed to install Xylem’s recommended solution under the company’s “Try and Buy” offer, which allows customers to install and experiment, for an agreed period, after which they may purchase the solution or return the pumps without incurring any costs.

Smart solution quickly pays for itself

Xylem’s solution included a Flygt Experior wastewater pumping system and Flygt SmartRun. Flygt Experior’s hydraulic design, with its self-cleaning principle, ensures reliable, trouble- free pumping and sustained high efficiency over time. The chopper ring version cuts long fibers and solids and handles any type of sewage without clogging problems.

Xylem’s Flygt SmartRun is an intelligent pump controller specifically designed for the efficient transport of sewage. This control system automatically adjusts the speed of rotation of the pump impellers to the needs of the system, while simultaneously minimizing energy usage.

After three months in operation the Flygt Experior solution delivered energy savings of 27 percent with no clogging or blockage issues. Comodepur agreed to purchase the solution, which paid for itself within just eight months. One year later, Flygt Experior continues to operate efficiently without clogging.

by Simon