Four Sludge Pumping Challenges Discflo Disc Pumps Solve

Pumping sludge comes with a host of challenges. The unique characteristics of sludge, such as a high solids content, makes it a unique challenge for traditional pumps.

Fortunately, the right type of pump take the challenge out of pumping wastewater.

Thanks to our patented Discpac technology that harnesses the combined power of boundary layer and viscous drag, our pumps make fast work of even the most difficult pumping jobs. In this blog, we break down a few of the common sludge pumping challenges and how Discflo disc pumps can help.

Abrasive Sludge with High Solids

Sludge and wastewater often go hand-in-hand. In wastewater’s raw primary sludge, total solids concentration can range between 2% and 7%. This can cause clogs and deadheading in traditional pumps, resulting in frequent pump failures, high maintenance costs, downtime, and general frustration.

Our parallel, rotating Discpacs generate energy that moves the fluid without impingement using viscous drag and the boundary layer to create a laminar flow, even with a high solids content. Because there is no impingement, radial loads, or close tolerances, our pumps can do this job while requiring less maintenance.

For example, we installed an in-line Model 403-2D at the Village Creek Treatment Plant in Fort Worth, Texas, over ten years ago.

We installed the new pump in the return pump station to remove waste from the bottom of the final clarifier. This is an extremely tough fluid to pump, as it is not only viscous and abrasive but contains rags and other solids.

Our single Discflo disc pump replaced two centrifugal pumps which were requiring significant repairs and in constant need of new parts. Our pump also allowed for more control over flow rate. It can pump as low as 100 GPM as well as up to several hundreds GPM. The retired centrifugal pumps experienced cavitation below 300 GPM.

Over the last decade, the plant has benefited from a clog-free, low maintenance Discflo disc pump that has improved the plant’s performance and decreased demands on personnel. Since installation, it has required very little maintenance.

2. High Maintenance Costs

Due to the high levels of solids and abrasive nature of wastewater and sludge, treatment plants often experience high levels of frequent maintenance. By using a pump specifically designed for these applications, you can alleviate that burden.

For example, thanks to our pumps’ radial load being only 15% that of a typical centrifugal pump, they have saved the Tar River Wastewater Treatment Plant in North Carolina thousands of dollars in mechanical seal costs. Where centrifugal pumps are still at work in the plant, the maintenance department spends up to $14,000 on seal replacements because of the radial load.

3. Mixing in Grit Chambers

Grit chambers often need mixers to keep the solids content in suspension which, in turn, reduces the load on the pumps. This requires large amounts of power, resulting in high energy bills and additional maintenance needs and costs.

Discflo pumps create a laminar flow that reduces, or sometimes eliminates, the need for these mixers. Right now, they are in use at the US Filter’s Wastewater Treatment Plant in San Diego County, where they have saved on energy costs without affecting the pumps’ ability to move the sludge. They have installed our pumps to replace centrifugal recessed impeller pumps that move grit from the grit chamber bottoms.

In addition, they have installed horizontal direct-coupled pumps to replace piston pumps for pumping primary sludge to a storage tank.

4. Frequent Pump Failures & Downtime

As demonstrated, sludge pumps at water and wastewater reclamation facilities often fail and cause an unfortunate amount of downtime. Downtime not only creates potential hazards for citizens and bad press, but also costs large amounts of money.

For example, the Claude H. Dyal Water Plant in Cocoa, Florida installed Discflo pumps to move a highly abrasive lime sludge with a solids content up to 80%. The pump was originally installed on a trial basis and, after ten months in operation, was disassembled and inspected by maintenance and engineer personnel. To their astonishment, the Discpac and casing showed no signs of wear.

A single Discflo pump replaced two progressive cavity pumps, which both needed frequent maintenance every 2-3 months. This maintenance reduction has saved them thousands of dollars, and has greatly reduced downtime while improving overall efficiency.

Lime sludge wore out previous positive displacement pumps
The customers’ existing 23+ year old Discflo Pumps were just recently replaced and upgraded.
The new upgrade included Discflo Pumps’ high chrome iron material and mechanical seals.

This pump was originally installed in 1993 and, now, the city of Cocoa uses Discflo pumps at every stage of their lime water softening operations. From the initial lime slurry feed pumps to moving the settled lime sludge to dewatering from the holding tanks. They continued to expand their use of Discflo pumps, and have since installed Discflo pumps in 5 additional abrasive applications. This totals 18 individual Discflo installations, all of which are still in service today. Many Discflo disc pumps have achieved over 20 plus years of continuous maintenance free service for Cocoa.

How Discflo Can Solve Your Sludge Pumping Challenges

Discflo disc pumps are a proven pumping solution for the challenges often faced by industries that pump sludge.

Not only can Discflo disc pumps move viscous liquids with high solids content without deadheading or clogging, but our pumps also create a laminar flow using boundary layer that prevents emulsions.

The US Army Corp of Engineers needed a pump solution for their hydroelectric dam on Snake River that would feed their oil water mixture into their oil water separator without emulsifying the oils.
They ultimately chose Discflo Pumps as their ideal pump system and worked with Discflo distributor, Gerber Pumps to install seven new 4×3 Discflo pumps at their location.
Over the years, the pumps worked so well that they’ve purchased and installed 21 additional Discflo pumps for 3 other dams in the area, Ice Harbor, Lower Monumental, Little Goose, and Lower Granite Dams.

Presently, the US Army Corps of Engineers use Discflo disc pumps for a dam to feed an oil water mixture into a separator without emulsifying the liquid. They have also purchased more than 21 additional pumps for other locations.

Regardless of your pumping challenge, Discflo has the solution. Contact our team below to talk to an expert about your needs.