December 14, 2022

Transition of Lake Michigan Water Supply Complete with Addition of 52 Foot Long Prefabricated Booster Pump Station

Jobsite Installation of Prefabricated Booster Pump Station in Homewood, Ill.

What began as an upgrade to the hot water generation equipment at Northwestern Medicine Delnor Hospital eventually became a complete hot water system upgrade.

Residents and businesses relying on municipal water know who’s in charge of supplying that water. Some may even know where that water comes from within their community. But few people pay any attention to the processes involved in actually bringing that water from the source itself to the tap. An important part of that process is obviously water treatment, but before treatment can begin, that water must physically come from somewhere. Whether sourced from a well or a nearby body of water, it must make its way to the municipality. Sometimes, delivery is straightforward. Other times, such as when the village of Homewood, Illinois decided to change its water supplier, this process requires a bit more ingenuity — and engineering — to keep the water flowing.

Although the water source itself, Lake Michigan, remained the same for Homewood, the village wanted to switch suppliers to better serve their customers, and this change required added infrastructure. Homewood hired the team at Burns & McDonnell to make the transition as seamless as possible, and Burns & McDonnell reached out to Metropolitan. Along with our expertise surrounding the mechanics of water movement, Metropolitan’s one-stop-shop approach made us the ideal partner for designing and building a complete solution for Homewood’s evolving water needs.

Supplying Chicagoland’s “Greatest” Natural Resource

Many municipalities in and around Chicago, including Homewood, rely on Lake Michigan for their water. Homewood was not looking for a different source but needed to find a way to better serve their water needs while remaining cost-effective. To satisfy those objectives, Homewood decided to shift over to Chicago Heights, its neighbor five miles to the south, as its new Lake Michigan water supplier. This move meant the water would need to travel a bit further, and because of the demands already placed on Chicago Heights, a new booster pump station would be necessary to help complete the journey.

Lake Michigan Water Supply Route to Homewood, Illinois

A Record-Breaking Pump Station

To say the least, Metropolitan is familiar with water movement. In fact, our designers and engineers have built pump systems to move water in every possible direction for municipal, commercial, and industrial needs. However, Homewood didn’t just need a way to move water. They needed a brand-new structure to house the necessary equipment and support smooth operations going forward. So, we combined our pumping and mechanical equipment knowledge with our in-house fabrication capabilities and built the largest pump station we’ve ever created.

Measuring 16 feet wide, 13 feet tall, and a mammoth 52 feet long, the Homewood pump station is the result of months of design work and collaboration with Burns & McDonnell and a year of careful construction. Of course, that timeline includes more than the building itself. Along with constructing the two-room, fully custom, climate-controlled pump station entirely inside our Romeoville, Illinois headquarters — our teams were busy ensuring every aspect of the facility would meet Homewood’s needs for years to come. Most of that effort went toward three separate areas:

1 – The Pipe Gallery

Metropolitan’s in-house fabrication team can customize just about any component in any size. For Homewood, this meant fabricating and powder coating the entire pipe gallery. Though the pipe gallery isn’t always in the scope when we provide a prefabricated housed booster pump system, it’s always been in our wheelhouse. Our fabricators carry all necessary certifications, and our welders are certified to ASME section 9.

Prefabricated Booster Station's Below-Ground Pipe Gallery

Below-ground pipe gallery.

2 – Custom Fittings for Unconventional Pumps

Each of the 3 pumps in Homewood is capable of pumping approximately 5.5 MGD. Horizontal split case pumps offer both high capacity and high efficiency, making them ideal for this application, but they’re also larger than other options.

Typically, this would mean a larger footprint for the pump house, but we looked at all options.

While the piping requirements were significant, we looked at utilizing an upper-level pumphouse with the piping gallery in a basement below the pumphouse. The 24″ piping and valves of the water main connections were below, while the pumps’ suction and discharge valves and piping connected the three pumps inside the pump house to the water mains below.

In part, constructing everything in our facility helped us reduce the size compared to in-field construction, but careful design and custom fabrication within the pump house itself were also essential. Placing the horizontal split case pumps at a 45-degree angle allowed them to fit in the 16-foot width of the space while remaining easily serviceable (which is always an essential consideration at Metropolitan), and producing our own fittings allowed us to reduce overall dimensions and exercise some creativity without requiring additional space. With design, engineering, and fabrication all coming from Metropolitan and completed to Hydraulic Institute (HI) Standards, this achievement was possible with minimal subcontracting, helping keep everything on schedule.

Horizontal Split Case Booster Pumps in Prefabricated Booster Station

Upper-level booster pump house interior.

3 – Cloud-Hosted SCADA Enhances Booster System Control & Visibility

Homewood’s Supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system was aging and antiquated, and it wouldn’t deliver the control Homewood needed to support successful, long-term use of the new system. Our in-house U.L. Panel Shop gives us the capability to make custom control solutions tailored to end-users needs.

We modernized the SCADA and eliminated the need for additional onsite hardware by incorporating the MetroCloud platform. This dedicated cloud SCADA system provides Homewood with intuitive pump control capabilities and unmatched visibility into system operations including report generation and alarm notification. The cloud SCADA upgrade utilizes the latest in network security and private communication lines to ensure the safety of Homewood’s vital data.

Thanks to the addition of a diesel generator, also supplied by Metropolitan, the entire system can remain online even when utility power becomes unavailable. When power failure is detected, the generator automatically supplies clean power to enable all functionality within the housed system quickly resumes.

Custom MetroCloud SCADA Control Panel for Lake Michigan Water Supply Booster Pump Station in Homewood, Illinois

Custom control panel provides MetroCloud SCADA.

Plug-and-Play Efficiency for a Fast-Tracked Startup

The result of these efforts is a housed booster pump system that’s so large it required all hands on deck when moving it out of our facility, a 100-foot trailer with hydraulics for transportation, and careful route planning for seamless arrival to its new home near the Thornton Quarry. With the help of onsite installing contractors, the eight pipe connections on the building joined as planned with the piping in the field (also built by Metropolitan), allowing for a true plug-and-play experience. The culmination of a year’s worth of work was connected and ready for use, allowing for an expedited path towards startup.

Today, a 24-inch suction header, a 24” discharge header, a 24-inch flow meter, and 16-inch branch pipes leading to each of the pumps (including a third pump for redundancy) allow this pump station to meet the water demand needs for the village of Homewood and the customers they supply water to. When combined with ultra-low harmonic variable speed drives, an automated caustic dosing system, and round-the-clock system connectivity, this new system provides an updated and reliable water supply to the Village of Homewood and helps the municipality feel confident in their decision to switch water suppliers.

Project Presentation Summary

  1. Enjoyed the article and review of the water project. I am passing on to our Village of Winnetka Water Department, Brian Keys. Say hi to the Brickey’s from Bratschi Plumbing and Phil Hoza

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