Minnesota floodwaters reach Dubuque
October 1, 2010

As we noted earlier this week, floodwaters from the torrential rainfall in Minnesota and Wisconsin from September 23rd have reached Dubuque, where high water levels are expected to persist for about a week. This kind of flooding is unusual for the fall, being more characteristic of springtime storms and flooding. But due to the amount of warning and the slow onset of the flooding, locals have had plenty of time to prepare, and it's not expected to be particularly damaging.

People far from the flooding ought to take this opportunity to assess whether they're prepared for heavy rainfall during any time of the year. Do you have a battery-backup sump pump in case storms knock out power while drenching the soil? Do you have a generator for use if the power fails due to ice storms in the coming months? Do you or your community have portable pumps for fighting floodwaters behind a sandbag levee or a portable dam?

A submersible wastewater pump to handle 3" diameter spherical solids
October 4, 2010

Gorman-Rupp is rightly known throughout Iowa and Nebraska (and all over the world) for self-priming pumps -- as rightly they should be, having not only invented the breed in the 20th Century, but also having developed it into a true powerhouse modern design in the 21st. But for as much as we'd like all pumping applications to be appropriate for a suction-lift pump (making it possible to handle all pump maintenance and operation safely above-ground in the fresh air), there are plenty of applications where a self-priming pump unfortunately can't be made to fit.

Infinity series submersible pumps from Gorman-Rupp Recognizing that need -- and seeing a gap in the market for a submersible wastewater pump to safely handle a 3" spherical solid -- Gorman-Rupp is today introducing the Infinity SF series of submersible solids-handling pumps. This is the production the company has been promoting under the "Blue Octo" campaign -- and for good reason: The motor portion of the pump assembly is in fact shaped like an octagon. This unique design not only looks different, it performs differently as well. One advantage is that the Infinity series can be operated as a dry-pit submersible pump without a cooling jacket. The cooling jackets used on many other dry-pit submersibles circulate the liquid being pumped around the motor in order to provide a cooling effect. That cooling effect, however, both reduces the pump's efficiency and introduces lots of dirty liquid to the region surrounding the motor. The Infinity series submersible pump, by entirely doing away with the cooling jacket, similarly does away entirely with those problems.

And as they say in the television commercials: Wait! There's more! Like Gorman-Rupp's self-priming pumps, the Infinity series submersible pumps are designed and manufactured in Mansfield, Ohio. These are "Made in the USA" pumps, qualified for projects requiring American-made products -- and proof positive that high-technology manufacturing is still alive and well in the United States of America.

These new pumps are on display at Gorman-Rupp's booth at WEFTEC 2010 in New Orleans, today through Wednesday, and they will be available for application design immediately. Please feel free to contact us with your questions.

Nebraska dams inspected for quake damage
October 5, 2010

The Central Platte Natural Resources District is inspecting some of its dams after the recent small earthquake in central Nebraska. There weren't any indications of trouble, but the highly unusual event obviously merits careful follow-up. The Central Platte NRD installed water-control gates by Golden Harvest on a flood-control project about half a decade ago.

How vortexing affects pump performance
October 6, 2010

Vortexing problems can affect all kinds of centrifugal pumps -- including self-priming pumps and submersible pumps. Vortexing occurs when water being drawn into a suction line (or into the suction fitting in a submersible pump) results in a depression in the surface of the water, often forming a visible whirling vortex -- just like what one would ordinarily see in a draining sink or bathtub. However, a vortex leading into a pump can cause the pump to entrain air, since air is easier to pump than water, and thus cause the pump to operate inefficiently and at a reduced performance condition.

Vortexing is well-illustrated here:

Vortexing can be solved by increasing the minimum submergence between the suction point into the pump and the water surface elevation, or by changing the velocity of the water entering the pump, as through the application of a flared suction line or by changing the operating speed of the pump. Please feel free to contact us with your questions.

The Soviet era still influences the health of European rivers
October 15, 2010

The Danube remains under threat of damage from many locations beyond just the recent sludge spill in Hungary, largely due to decades of neglect at the hands of Soviet mismanagement. The same Communist system that was supposed to create a "worker's paradise" instead just made polluters invulnerable to punishment. Moreover, the Communist system prevented much of Eastern Europe from taking advantage of environmental-remediation technologies in widespread use throughout the West, leaving behind what some people are calling environmental "time bombs" which are still being addressed today.

We can help you with industrial wastewater-treatment technology. Please feel free to contact us with your questions.

EPA asks: What happened to containers swept away in floods?
October 18, 2010

The flooding in parts of Iowa and surrounding states this summer was epic, and the EPA now wants to know what happened to containers, drums, and other items swept away by the floods. Some of those containers could hold hazardous chemicals like fuels and industrial solvents, and they could be dangerous to untrained individuals trying to handle them, as well as an environmental threat -- particularly to groundwater supplies.

Sale on gas chlorinators
October 19, 2010

We currently have a sale on gas chlorinators in our online store. From time to time, we're able to offer special deals and they're featured in our sale section at PumpStoreUSA.com.

Why utilities need to talk clearly about rate increases
October 20, 2010

The board at the Des Moines Water Works just approved an increase in rates of about 10% for many city customers. While there has been no news release issued yet by the utility, the story has already found its way to the local media, with a story about the rate increase appearing on the 10 o'clock news on KCCI-TV. The Des Moines Water Works, like virtually every other utility, has to raise its rates occasionally to keep up with inflation and to fund the maintenance and improvements required to keep up with changing regulations and customer expectations of quality. Unfortunately, the KCCI story is formulaic of most rate-increase stories, in that it features a single angry customer, defensive-sounding board members, and a couple of "person on the street" interviews with people who say they don't want their rates to rise. Of course they don't want their rates to rise -- nobody wants to pay more for anything -- but the average bill will only rise by about $2 a month. Most public utilities are woefully unprepared to explain why rates rise, how much value people receive for the price they pay, and the necessity of maintaining a reliable water infrastructure. It's an ongoing story that has to be repeated frequently -- particularly when rates aren't changing -- so that when increases are necessary, ratepayers already place a high value on what they're receiving.

This issue has been the subject of several presentations we have given at AWWA and WEA conferences.

Water resources conferences in Nebraska this November
October 21, 2010

A conference on water and environmental sustainability will be held in Omaha on November 2nd at Creighton University. At the very same time, many of Nebraska's water professionals will be headed to Kearney for the annual combined conference for the American Public Works Association, Water Environment Association, and American Water Works Association. That conference will last from the pre-conference workshops on November 2nd through the closing sessions on November 5th.

We will be offering two presentations at the conference: One on lift station design and maintenance, and one on community relations for water utilities.

Nobody knows how rough this winter might be
October 22, 2010

Last winter was one of the most difficult faced by the Upper Midwest in quite some time -- temperatures dropped to shockingly low levels (as low as -30°F) and we were buried under record-challenging volumes of snow. Thus far, the fall has been quite remarkably mild, but that's no useful indication of the upcoming winter. Even the professionals paid to predict such matters are in no agreement whatsoever about the long-term forecast for the winter, with DTN expecting a mild one, AccuWeather calling for lots of snow, and the National Weather Service expecting things to fall right about in the middle of a normal range.

Whatever the weather, we recommend that pump station operators check their systems now for any seasonal maintenance that will keep things running smoothly through the winter. Make sure that engine backup systems and generators are working properly, so that they'll be reliable backups in case of ice storms and blizzards in the months ahead. Please feel free to contact us with your questions.

Never take clean drinking water for granted
October 25, 2010

Americans are easily lulled into a false sense of security about the quality of our drinking water. A century of safe and reliable service across much of the country has caused us to think of clean drinking water as a birthright, rather than as a responsibility. Occasionally, we get glimpses of what could happen if we fail to maintain and invest in our infrastructure, and the tragic spread of cholera in Haiti is an example we cannot responsibly overlook. Hundreds of people have already died of the disease, and there are serious fears that the 1.3 million people living in tents around the capital -- without a serious drinking-water infrastructure -- could be victimized by the spread of the disease, which is easily transmitted via contaminated water.

Sometimes we seem to recognize that we're not doing enough to maintain the infrastructure that keeps most of us safe from waterborne diseases like cholera, but recognizing the problem is a far cry from taking action -- and when utilities do, they're often loudly criticized by customers for daring to charge just a little more for the safe water infrastructure that we need. Last week's story about a water-rate hike by the Des Moines Water Works included a classic case of that kind of angry criticism. Challenging those critics with the facts is a necessary part of the job of delivering clean water to customers today.

Selecting a flowmeter
October 26, 2010

A customer contacted us the other day with these questions about our open-channel flowmeters:
What size pipes does this fit - or is it able to fit everything and you just modify the electronics for the size? Could it be used on corrugated pipe - with less accuracy perhaps?
While we of course responded directly, we wanted to share our responses more generally, in order to help others:
First of all, we need to clarify a few things. Your original inquiry was for a flowmeter to mount over a flume. In that case, we'd be talking about an open-channel flowmeter. The flowmeter is literally suspended over the flume itself in order to measure the water level; no pipes are involved.

Now, if you want to mount the flowmeter onto a pipe instead of mounting it over a flume, then you're talking about one of the closed-pipe flowmeters. These require a few things: First, the pipe needs to run full in order for a closed-pipe flowmeter to work. An open-channel flowmeter can work with zero flow through the flume, but a closed-pipe flowmeter needs to have a full pipe.

Second, the closed-pipe flowmeter needs smooth pipe to work, not corrugated. The closed-pipe flowmeter works by firing off a Doppler ping and measuring how much and how quickly the signals come back; for pretty obvious reasons, that doesn't work with a corrugated pipe.

I hope this clarifies your questions a bit. If you have any others, please let me know and I'll be happy to help.
Any time you have questions about any of the products we sell, please feel free to contact us with your questions.

Water quality is Iowans' most serious concern about agriculture
October 28, 2010

The Des Moines Register has published the results of an Iowa Poll surveying Iowans on agricultural issues, and the area where the most people responded that things are getting worse is in air and water quality. Iowa's water quality is tied very closely to agriculture, since fertilizer (including manure) is the main source of the nitrates found in Iowa waters.

We can help you with products for improving and protecting water quality on farmlands. Please feel free to contact us with your questions.

Past water and wastewater news updates

last revised October 2010