Village of Chicago Ridge, IL Adds New Lift Station Controls

New Lift Station Controls

Faced with a flooded below ground pump station, the village of Chicago Ridge, IL looked to Metropolitan Industries for an emergency solution.

Confined space entry presents significant hazards to municipalities working with below ground pump stations.

The flooding of below grade stations can lead to an emergency service call and cause catastrophic damage of system equipment, often costing owners greatly for expedited repair or even replacement.

More importantly, confined spaces present health threats to entrants. Atmospheric conditions such as lack of oxygen, dense gases and additional dangers force operators to follow stringent guidelines when entering confined spaces to ensure adverse health consequences are avoided.

At Metropolitan, we believe upgrading below ground pump stations with above grade solutions most effectively protects both the investment of systems and the lives of equipment operators.

While eliminating confined space entry entirely should be the end goal, our above grade solutions can significantly reduce the frequency workers must enter confined spaces. With a comprehensive submersible pump retrofit, the need to enter confined spaces can be completely eliminated.

An illustration of our ability to retrofit below ground pump stations can be demonstrated by the work done in the village of Chicago Ridge, IL. Faced with severely damaged system equipment, including pumps and controls due to a below ground vault flood, the village turned to Metropolitan to provide a quick solution.

“During a heavy rain event, a sump pump situated in the pump station’s dry pit malfunctioned allowing sewage to flow from the wet well to the dry well, causing the dry well to flood,” said Metropolitan municipal salesperson Keith Girup. “Unfortunately, due to the dry well flooding, the customer’s investment, including pumps, controls and power distribution equipment, was completely submerged underwater and caused irreparable damage. An immediate emergency retrofit solution was required.”

In order to get the pump station up and running in an accelerated fashion, the village elected to bake dry the pump motors, which were eventually placed back into the below ground station. To reduce the occurrence of entering the below ground confined space and protect the investment of system controls, Metropolitan supplied the village with an above grade control traffic box.

Included with the traffic box package was Metropolitan’s new LMS II level management system. Completely off the shelf and designed to provide customers with vital SCADA features at a cost-effective price, the LMS II control package played a key role in supplying the village with a prompt solution.

Developed by Metropolitan’s research and development team, the LMS II is a menu-configurable, constant speed pump down level controller, allowing one to three pumps, single/dual level transducers, 0-20 mA flow meter input, and a completely redundant float backup controller. Seal fails and thermal inputs are available by default.

Lift Station Level Management Controller

Metropolitan’s new LMS II level management system contains a standard program to cover nearly all lift station applications.

The LMS II can be accessed directly at a lift station on its easy-to-use color touch screen interface or controlled remotely via a laptop. With the inclusion of an internet connection or cell modem, and Metropolitan’s MetroMail™ alarm-dialing system, users can receive alarm notification via any SMS text or email compatible device.

“In developing the LMS II, our goal was to create a standard program with options that covered 90 percent of all lift station applications,” said Metropolitan research and development manager Wayne Barkley. “This program gives us a systematic solution to designing lift station controls, eliminating much of the excessive labor associated with the design, engineering and programming of controls. Right out of the box, this system can serve many stormwater and sanitary stations with one program.”

Girup said the LMS II can fit a variety of lift station uses and is especially advantageous for consumers who seek to one day implement a master SCADA or building automation system. The LMS II can also be used in commercial applications.

“Each LMS II unit can be defined as a distributed SCADA system, providing substantial benefits to owners who may have plans to one day build a centralized SCADA system with master computer,” said Girup. “The LMS II has the capability to communicate with owners via email and/or text message, and can also be viewed via the internet for current system information, as well as historical data trends. The LMS II allows for a phased distributed SCADA approach, which can ultimately be tied into a more sophisticated centralized SCADA system at a future date.”

Below Vault Flood Damage to Pumps and Control Equipment

Due to a below ground vault flood, the pump station’s vital equipment, including pumps and controls, sustained significant damage.

In addition to the traffic box package, Metropolitan also included a flood switch for installation into the dry well to notify operators via their SCADA system in the event of another dry well flood. This allows for a rapid response in the effort to prevent further flooding of the pump station’s dry pit.

Girup said this project is likely to serve as phase one of an extensive retrofit of the entire pump station. Phase two would be the installation of submersible pumps into the existing wet well, which would allow for the complete elimination of the confined space.

“Metropolitan is typically able to provide customers with an à la carte solution,” said Girup. “When the resources to fund a complete retrofit upgrade of a pump station are not feasible, we have the ability to work with the customer’s budget to supply the equipment and services that are most practical for the owner and application at a given time.”

This, combined with our 24/7/365 emergency service assistance, led to the successful, expedited upgrade solution for the village of Chicago Ridge.

“This project is a perfect example of why municipalities should start budgeting to upgrade existing dry pit pump stations of this type,” said Girup. “Fortunately, we were able to respond to the customer very quickly. In the coming years, I anticipate that many municipalities will continue to call on Metropolitan for a phased retrofit upgrade solution to eliminate confined space, below ground pump stations in the effort to avoid emergency circumstances.”

Metropolitan tackles confined space dangers

Entering a confined space for system repair is a dangerous procedure, particularly due to accumulated gases that may be hazardous. At Metropolitan, we can provide solutions to decrease the frequency of entering a confined space.

Now more than ever, municipalities are addressing the dangers of below ground pump stations to protect both entrants into confined spaces and the investment of systems themselves. The United States Department of Labor requires a permit for those seeking to enter confined spaces for system repair, accompanied by rigorous guidelines those involved with the entry must follow.

Moreover, flooding of below ground pump systems can lead to catastrophic damage of the systems themselves, often costing municipalities a great deal for repair or even replacement, and can lead to an emergency service call.

Metropolitan Industries recently renovated three below ground pump stations, giving each customer the ability to interface with the controls without entering the confined space. Another advantage of “above grade controls” is the avoidance of control system damage caused by a vault flood. Potential future projects such as submersible pump retro-fit into the existing wet well would be the next appropriate step to completely eliminate confined space entry.

City of Calumet City, Ill.

The City of Calumet City, Ill. recently came to Metropolitan for an emergency rehabilitation project following the flooding of a below ground water pump station.

“Metropolitan suspects the reservoir fill valve stuck open causing an overflow condition, thus filling the below ground pump station with water,” said Metropolitan salesperson Keith Girup. “The existing booster station was constructed many years ago when below ground systems were common. Metropolitan was able to repair and replace equipment quickly, and in the process improve the operation and energy-efficiency of the station by implementing variable frequency drives for constant pressure control.”

Another new piece of equipment included in the upgrade was a low-flow shutdown bladder storage tank.

“The new bladder tank supports the water system leak loads during low flow periods of time,” Girup said.

The system was also integrated into a city-wide SCADA system for enhanced monitoring and alarm notification. A flood switch was added to the pump room to ensure notification is provided in the event of a flood since the pumps remain in the below ground vault and are subjected to the hazards associated with such a location.

The primary advantages of the system upgrades are the reduced frequency of entering a confined space and overall protection of the equipment.

South Palos Sanitary District

Metropolitan recently completed a similar project for the South Palos Sanitary District.

“In this project, the customer decided to keep their drywell pumps below ground, but implemented above grade controls into a new prefabricated concrete building with an exposed aggregate finish,” said Girup. “The prefabricated building contains the controls, generator and a temperature control device, essentially eliminating the need to enter below ground in order to interface with the controls.”

Girup said that because the customer has decided to keep the drywell pumps below ground, it will still be necessary to go below ground to maintain the pumps. However, the frequency of confined space entry has decreased dramatically with the implementation of above ground controls.

“Safety and common sense are the reasons for upgrading to above grade systems,” said Girup. “Going into a confined space requires special procedures with two individuals, safety harnesses and gas monitoring equipment at a minimum to ensure safety. If precautions are not followed, consequences could be fatal.”

Village of Burr Ridge, Ill.

The Village of Burr Ridge, Ill. also called upon Metropolitan for a below ground lift station upgrade.

Metropolitan implemented an above ground traffic box for this particular project, placing all controls and electrical distribution equipment above ground.

“The customer has intentions to replace the existing pumps with submersible pumps, however, this project was phase one, which included the above grade controls to significantly reduce the amount of times they would need to go below ground,” said Girup. “In the previous configuration, the customer was going down into the pit quite often to monitor controls, but with our upgrade, they no longer have to do so.”


With each upgrade, the customer not only gained capital investment protection by implementing above grade control systems to protect controls from potential below ground flooding, they also improved safety conditions by reducing the frequency of confined space entry.

Entering a confined space is a major process with strict guidelines which, if not followed, can produce fatal consequences. Metropolitan can provide both investment protection and overall safety with above ground system retro-fit solutions.

For more information, please contact Keith Girup at 800-323-1665, ext. 264 or

Stay Current with
Metropolitan Industries

Training Seminars Schedule  • Recent Project Highlights • Best Practices • Upcoming Events