Felton: New Sunbury Mills pump operating just fine
By LENNY C. LEPOLA
News Assistant Managing Editor
Sunbury’s wastewater treatment plant supervisor Rich Felton is one happy camper. For months Felton has had to have his crew pull and clean the Sunbury Mills lift station pump, including on evenings and weekends, racking up costly overtime.
The culprit has been disposable wipes made of a non-tear paper product that residents are flushing down toilets.
Non-tear paper products like the ones used for cleaning a baby’s behind or wiping down counter tops, are disposable. That means you can use them once and dispose of them — throw them away. But non-tear handi-wipes are not biodegradable; they are not designed to be flushed down toilets and into public sanitary sewer systems.
When non-tear paper products reach pumps that are designed to keep waste moving towards a sewer plant, they clogged the pump’s impellers and the pump typically fails. The system moves to a backup pump, an alarm goes off at the wastewater treatment plant, and that alarm dispatches a crew to pull and unclog the pump. If the pump failed at night, on weekends or holidays, a crew is called in on overtime.
Felton had crews pulling and cleaning the Sunbury Mills pump each day – weekends included – until Sunbury Village Council members approved the purchase of a Flygt Variable Phase Pump and control panel retrofit for about $15,000.
Felton said the Flygt pump has a clog free operations guarantee, Flygt will reimburse the village if a crew has to pull and unclog the pump; and as an added bonus, the Flygt pump will saves electrical energy.
“The Flygt pump has been in for two weeks now, and we haven’t had one problem,” Felton said. “We were servicing the other pump every day. My employees got their weekends back, and we’re not charging overtime to the village.”
Felton did caution residents not to flush non-tear paper wipes down toilets.
“A pump is just a machine, it can still fail,” Felton said. “If it does we will go out and pull the pump and clear it. What residents don’t understand is that these disposable wipes can hang up in their lateral. If that happens, and waste backs up into a basement, it’s not our responsibility. They will either have to file an insurance claim, or pay to have the lateral unclogged and basement cleaned out of their own pockets.”
Felton also reported that the long awaited belt press water recycling system that was scheduled to be installed at the end of June has finally been installed and employees trained in its use.
The wastewater treatment plant uses $1,500 worth of DelCo potable water every month; the belt press that de-waters sludge to 16 percent solids is the biggest user of that water. Add in electricity, and the plant’s utility tab exceeds $7,000 each month.
By recycling water at the belt press the plant should show a utility savings during the first quarter of 2013, Felton said.
Felton also noted that Duke Root Control would be in the village foaming some sanitary sewer lines and re-foaming lines that Duke previously treated.
Felton said the process helps control root penetration in older sanitary sewer lines, and re-foaming extends the process warranty to three years.
The Sunbury Wastewater Treatment Plant is a modest operation. It has an Ohio EPA certified 1.125 million gallons per day design flow. The plant was designed to be expandable, but that’s in the distant future. The plant typically processes only 500,000 gallons of wastewater each day.
The Sunbury plant’s effluent is discharged into Prairie Run Creek, and Prairie Run discharges into Hoover Reservoir that supplies drinking water to the City of Columbus.