City of Orlando Lift Station crews have their work cut out for them on a daily basis. The crews routinely conduct preventative maintenance and inspections of the public sewer lift stations located throughout the city to ensure proper operation. These lift stations, also called pump stations, are large wells which collect the flow of one or more gravity sewer lines. The lift stations use pumps to lift the sewer water from the well into a larger gravity sewer pipe where it starts gravity flow once again toward the sewer treatment facility. The Lift Station crews have one large issue to worry about when it comes to the stations, and it’s the ragging and blockage of pump impellers.
Ragging is caused by solid debris such as soiled clothing, diapers, towels, pieces of sheets, sanitary napkins, wipes, hair, and plastics being flushed down the toilet, traveling through the gravity sewer line, and becoming entangled on the pumps and equipment.
Ragging is a significant issue that causes damage to the pumps and it can be costly to repair or replace these pumps. Another large issue is that if a lift station does not operate properly or stops working altogether, it can potentially overflow causing sewer to overflow from the device and out into the environment. Sanitary Sewer Overflows have many human health and environmental consequences such as a significant number of gastrointestinal illnesses each year, beach closures, swimming restrictions, prohibition of the consumption of certain aquatic animals, fish kills, and damage to aquatic ecosystems due to turbidity increase and dissolved oxygen decrease in receiving waters.
The City of Orlando is responsible for maintaining 227 Lift stations and on a typical day 6 or 8 Lift stations get clogged and require labor intensive maintenance and repairs or replacement. The process to clean out these Lift Stations take anywhere from 1 to 2 hours, but that is also dependent on the size of the Lift Station and the severity of its blockage. The cleanout of the Lift Station poses dangerous risks to the maintenance crews. There are confined space dangers, potential contact with hydrogen sulfide and methane gas, and raw sewage, allowing crews to be susceptible to diseases and viruses.
The sanitary sewer should not be treated as a trash can. Let’s not create more work or health risks for our maintenance crews and our environment. It takes no time at all to manage our waste and dispose of the trash properly in the trash can.