How much does the trash people are flushing down the toilet cost local sewer agencies? Few people know the answer and few records have been kept in the wastewater industry. Until now. Starting in 2013 many of the wastewater associations have started gathering detailed research on the cost of pumps clogged with flushable wipes – equipment damage, labor costs, overtime, sewer spills, wasted electricity and the expense of retrofitting pumps with better impellers or installing a sewer grinder, such as the Muffin Monster.
What the data gathering efforts are finding is sewer pump ragging is costing the industry hundreds of millions of dollars in wasted effort and needless repair every year. The research has found the average cost of clogged sewer pumps is $30,000 per year, per pump station. These pump stations average about 1-10 million gallons per day (150-1500 m3/h) of raw sewage.
Here are some recent studies…
- Orange County, CA – $30,000 per year/station – Analyzing 10 pump stations for 1 year this agency found they had over $300,000 in additional labor and parts for deragging pumps. At some stations, they are deragging pumps on a weekly basis.
- New England – $29,000 per year/city – According to a survey conducted by a regional wastewater association
- Southwest Washington State – $32,000 per year/station – This agency added wasted electrical usage to their cost calculations, while also looking at wasted parts and labor costs. As rags build up on the pump’s impeller it causes drag and pumping inefficiency. Variable frequency drives will speed up to move the same amount of wastewater, thus wasting electricity. As the build-up of rags worsens an additional pump may be needed to make up for the pump that is becoming clogged.
- Chicago Suburbs, IL – $19,000 per year/station – When this town’s main lift station would rag up, the sewer agency hired a vacuum truck company to go and clean out the lift station and get it working again. This occurred on a weekly basis.
There is a cost even more important to consider when looking at the problem of pump ragging – the safety of America’s wastewater professionals. Deragging a pump by hand is not only labor-intensive, messy and costly – it’s also dangerous. No one should have to derag a pump.
When called upon to derag a sewer pump wastewater professionals are exposed to:
- Confined space danger
- Hydrogen sulfide gas
- Hypodermic needles flushed down toilets
- Raw sewage
- Diseases and viruses
In the last 5 years alone, JWC Environmental has installed over 4,000 pump station grinders. If each station was costing a local sewage agency roughly $30,000 to deal with, then with the Muffin Monster grinder, which makes pump ragging go away, it’s saving America’s sewer agencies roughly $120,000,000 per year. That’s $120 million every year. But more importantly, at least in our opinion, we’re saving America’s wastewater professionals from the dangerous task of deragging sewer pumps by hand.
Monsters are here to lend a hand. Can we help you wipe out pump ragging? Request a quote or call us at (877) 930-8431.