There are plenty of things that get better with age. Unfortunately, municipal wastewater systems, including lift stations, don’t tend to be one of them. Mechanical equipment in lift stations do wear over time, but also can be a contributing factor to population growth, city development, improvements in technology and safety often mean that, over time, lift stations just can’t keep up forever and sometimes changes and updates are in order. For example, when the Parkwoods lift station was installed in our hometown of Romeoville, Illinois in the early 1960s, a small dry pit, packaged lift station was exactly what the municipality needed.
In the mid 1970s, to update the older technology, the existing system was retrofitted with submersible pumps and controls to provide once again, everything the community needed. Finally, in the 1980s, a second retrofit took place as pumps, controls, and piping were replaced to handle the village’s needs for growth. However, there eventually comes a point when retrofits no longer make sense and replacement is the best option. For Romeoville, that point was reached in 2018 and, once again, Metropolitan was ready for the job.
A Newer, Safer Option
Starting from scratch meant we were able to take a step back, address the current limitations as well as consider Romeoville’s needs today and in the future, and design a lift station that would be poised to grow with the community for at least another 50 years. First and foremost, that meant moving the location of the station a few hundred feet away to allow for a larger wet well and the development of a totally new system.
In an effort to provide significant improvements, the new location allowed for significant added features. For one, we installed safety grates on all hatches to eliminate fall risks, but safety was only part of the goal. We also knew that building a new system in a new location would offer the opportunity to take advantage of better technology and, to prepare the new equipment to withstand the round-the-clock demands of a busy industrial park, we used an advanced coating, polyurea, to protect the wet well and valve vault. We also increased the number of pumps from two to three and installed pumps with greater capacity than the original lift station to allow the new location to accommodate future growth and help the municipality better handle the infiltration issues they’d been facing until a more permanent remedy is put in place. While the old system was significantly surcharged, risking backflow to users, the new setup is equipped to help alleviate old shortcomings.
Naturally, we didn’t just stop at the pump. If we’re going to do something, we’re going to take it to the next level whenever possible. At the Parkwoods lift station, that meant the full Metropolitan treatment, adding flow measurement, stand by generator set and prefabricated building and prefabricated steel wet well and valve vault with steel MetroGuard impressed current cathodic protection.
Standing Out by a Blending In
To provide the new lift station with all the controls necessary to keep it up and running, we also constructed a prefabricated building. The exterior features the stone finish that is now the standard exterior for Romeoville’s municipal utility buildings (a second structure of this design—and others may be forthcoming) and the interior keeps operators out of the elements when maintenance work is needed.
We also tried to keep both emergency and routine work in mind by including features such as flow meters on each pump in the valve vault to help operators monitor the efficiency of each pump. As an added benefit, a backup generator is now part of the station, eliminating the need for trailering a generator to the site in anticipation of potential lost power. All of this new equipment is also connected via cellular data through Metropolitan’s MetroCloud SCADA, so the municipality can remotely monitor just about every aspect of operation, including temperature, humidity, generator use, and people entering the building.
Now that all is said and done, the Village of Romeoville is benefiting from not only the peace of mind that results in working with, and sourcing all components from, a single, trusted supplier, they’re also prepared for future growth with a service partner they can rely on. In fact, Metropolitan’s 24/7 service and parts inventory makes the entire servicing process as seamless as possible.
To wrap everything up into one seamless project, Robinson Engineering and Steve Spiess Construction helped ensure that installation of the entire system would address all of the village’s needs—at this site—for years to come. Having partners in the field who know what it takes to deliver next level service always helps a well-designed system become something great right from the start. None of this means the new lift station will be up and operational forever because that’s simply not possible. But we know we’ve set Romeoville on a path toward future growth and, when it comes time to update or upgrade, we’ll be ready.