National swimming complex in Budapest gets emergency pumping solution
The Alfred Hajós Swimming Complex in Budapest, Hungary, hosts major international swimming competitions, but since it sits on an island it needed an emergency floodwater pumping solution. Xylem delivered a pumping solution, including two Lowara submersible pumps, in just three weeks. The solution has 100 percent redundancy to ensure total peace of mind.
The swimming complex is on Margaret Island, located in the middle of the river Danube in central Budapest. It was constructed in 1930 as Hungary’s first indoor swimming pool. Since then the complex has grown considerably, with additional pools being built to cater for various high-profile events, including the European Swimming Chamionships. In 2006, an Olympic-size outdoor pool and state-of-the-art diving facility were added. The range of facilities offered by the complex has led national and international swimming elites to label Margaret Island as the “mecca” of swimming.
In 2017, the prestigious complex was selected as one of the venues for the 17th FINA World Championships – a global aquatics sports competition including swimming, diving, and water polo. A significant renovation project was undertaken in preparation for the event. The extended Alfred Hajós complex would host 7,000 guests each evening during the event.
Smart contingency planning to protect against floodwaters
The installation of an emergency floodwater pumping solution was a crucial aspect of the upgrade works at the Alfred Hajós complex. Margaret Island is vulnerable to flooding during high water levels on the river. Over the years, the island has been built up to mitigate against this risk. However, officials managing the swimming complex project were not willing to take any risks, particularly given the high-profile events hosted by the facility. Contingency planning was key.
A submersible pumping system would be installed to ensure that the basement of the swimming complex would not be overwhelmed in the event of a spike in water levels in the Danube. Global water technology company Xylem has extensive experience in providing reliable, efficient pumping technologies, and the company was called upon for a floodwater management system that could be delivered and installed without delay.
“We were on a tight timeframe to complete the ambitious upgrade project at the Alfred Hajós Complex, so identifying a technology provider who could deliver the right pump for the job, without delay, was crucial,” says Ferenc Nagy, Facility Manager, National Sports Centers. “Our contractor, Hydrotrade Kft., had worked with Xylem on a number of successful projects and recommended them on that basis.”
Reliable submersible pumps with 100 percent redundancy
Xylem supplied its Lowara 1300 submersible pumps. The pumps were installed in a sump six meters deep and one meter in diameter. With a capacity of 202.9 liters per second, they would be used to dewater the basement of the swimming complex in case of emergency flooding – quickly removing floodwaters to mitigate the risk to the rest of the building and ensure that the facility could continue to function. With this pumping solution, nothing was left to chance. The primary pump had a backup pump, designed to kick in if for any reason the performance of the primary pump was undermined.
“For the FINA World Championships, we would host the world’s swimming elites, as well as thousands of spectators for each event,” says Ferenc Nagy. “We needed a reliable, efficient pumping solution and Xylem delivered – within just three weeks. The fact that the pumping system offered 100 percent redundancy gave us the reassurance we needed that we would be able to handle a severe weather event, should it occur.”
A non-clog pump for the toughest pumping challenges
The Lowara 1300 series is based on technology developed and tested in the toughest environments around the world. The impeller design provides efficiency and advanced solids handling to minimize clogging, helping to ensure smooth operation and deliver savings in terms of maintenance costs and energy consumption. All pumps in the series feature a motor specifically designed for reliable operation in submersible applications. The motors have F-class insulation or better, which allows for continuous running without overheating, ensuring optimal cooling and long lifetime. Additionally, the pumps can handle 15 starts per hour.
Fortunately, the emergency floodwater system has not yet been required. Following installation of the Lowara pumps, however, the system was fully tested with impressive results.
“Our hope is that the floodwater pumping system will not be put into use any time soon but at least we know that we are adequately prepared,” says Nagy. “Having a reliable dewatering system in place allows us to sleep soundly at night!”