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18 Application

WORLD PUMPS July/August 2016

Water & wastewater

Sludge conveying
with screw press
hen a US water agency wanted to improve its sludge
W solids dewatering as part of a major sludge handling
upgrade, it opted for screw press technology, selecting
sludge cake progressing cavity pumps by Netzsch
designed to convey dewatered sludge easily.

When California’s Sonoma County Water screw press technology, selecting sludge collection and treatment and recycled
Agency (SCWA) wanted to improve its cake progressing cavity pumps by water distribution and disposal services
sludge solids dewatering as part of a Netzsch specifically designed to convey for approximately 30,000 residences and
major sludge handling upgrade, they dewatered sludge easily. businesses in Sonoma County, California.
were seeking an alternative to outdated SCWA operates and manages eight sani-
sludge belt press/conveyor technology. California’s Sonoma County Water tation districts and zones. The SCWA is
After reviewing options, SCWA opted for Agency (SCWA) provides wastewater also responsible for provision of naturally
filtered drinking water, as well as, flood
protection services.

Old and outdated

The sludge dewatering equipment at the
SCWA’s Sonoma Valley County Sanitation
District (District) wastewater treatment
facility included a belt filter press that
was old and outdated. According to John
Albrecht, SCWA’s Maintenance Supervisor,
it was increasingly difficult to obtain
parts for the antiquated technology, and
costly replacement parts made it expen-
sive to maintain.

In addition, the technology was not

providing the performance they were
looking for in terms of the cake solids
percentage. “We pay tipping scale fees to
haul dewatered sludge for disposal in a
landfill. The more water we haul, the
Figure 1. After considering several bids, the District ultimately selected the NEMO® – BF/SF Sludge more we have to pay,” said Albrecht.
Cake Progressing Cavity Pumps . “Rather than paying to haul water, we

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Application 19
WORLD PUMPS July/August 2016

Figure 2. The aBP module consists of two flat spoked wheels, one on each long side of the chute.

want to haul solids. Our ultimate goal NEMO® BY progressing cavity pumps to conveyor is used to move the dewatered
was to get a better and more consistent feed the existing dewatering belt filter sludge. It was then loaded into trailers
cake solids percentage, in the range of press. After dewatering the sludge load, a and trucked to a land application site.
18-22%, and our older belt press tech-
nology just could not get us there.”

The District decided it wanted to move

in a different direction for sludge dewa-
tering. After reviewing available options,
including a centrifuge and other
biosolids technologies, they settled on a
screw press, a simple and proven tech-
nology in which a slow moving device
accomplishes dewatering by continuous
gravitational drainage. Before making the
decision, they toured several plants and
conducted extensive talks with project
engineers and maintenance personnel.
All agreed the option offers lower main-
tenance costs and operating costs and
higher reliability, with an extremely
consistent end product.

The quest for improved sludge cake

handling was part of a larger sludge
solids handling upgrade and improve-
ment project being developed by the
District and its consulting engineers. The
complete project involved the new screw
press, a new sludge handling building,
and a truck loading and trailer facility.

In the initial phase of their facility

upgrade, the District purchased three

20 Application
WORLD PUMPS July/August 2016

sludge cake pumping expertise with

progressing cavity pumps. Albrecht notes
that they he had originally viewed a
range of sludge cake handling pumps
from Netzsch at a WEFTEC conference
whose advisers later toured the Sonoma
Valley plant and suggested that these
pumps would indeed be an excellent fit
for the new screw press system.

Netzsch and Flo-Line then worked with

the District and its consulting engineers
to provide technical and budgetary infor-
mation for the sludge cake pumping
Figure 3. The FLR system consists of a small progressing cavity pump that injects a layer of polymer system. They went through several itera-
along the outer diameter of the pipe. tions to refine the needs.

The District then conducted a competi-

tive bidding process as part of the
general contract for the solids handling
project. The specifications were written to
provide ideal performance in terms of
cake sludge solids percentage, pumping
pressure, and a variety of other design

After considering several bids, the District

ultimately selected the NEMO® – BF/SF
Sludge Cake Progressing Cavity Pumps
(Figure 1).

Figure 4. The pressure is now in line with the original design considerations shows the loading bay in The pump’s enlarged housing has a fully
operation. customizable rectangular hopper and
force feed chamber for easier entry of the
Several issues A third factor is maintenance. All conveyor product into the rotor and stator. The
After installing the Netzsch progressing devices have relatively high maintenance coupling rod incorporates a patented
cavity pumps in 2010, the District costs for routine replacement of belts and positioned feed screw that extends over
continued with its plans to transition to screws, as well as bearings and drives. The the joints and is always positioned oppo-
a screw press for the sludge dewatering. costs increase when long distances must site the open cavity of the stator. This
SCWA’s goal was to use a pump, rather be covered and when the conveyor has to pushes the sludge cake directly into the
than a conveyor, to transfer the dewa- turn a corner or change direction; for open cavity in the shortest possible
tering press sludge from the screw press example, each change in direction requires route. It improves the chamber filling by
to the truck loading station. a new motor. up to 50 percent as compared to other
pumps with random positioning of the
The District had several issues with the By contrast, with a cake sludge pump, screw.
existing conveyor system. The first issue only one drive is required, and the pump
is the difficultly to move the sludge cake does all the work. There are no more belt Also included was an asynchronous
to more than one location. Trailers are 30 or conveyor component replacements, bridge prevention (aBP) module to
or 40 ft long and the sludge must be fewer bearings, and fewer motors, so prevent sludge “bridging” in the chute
evenly loaded in each trailer. The maintenance costs tend to be lower. Typi- below the screw press, which could then
conveyor moves the sludge to only one cally, if the distance is longer than 50 ft, block the inlet to the pump. Bridging
point in the trailer, and employees had or if there is a need to turn corners or go occurs when thick and dry dewatered
to then manually distribute the sludge to to multiple points, using the pump is sludge cakes together. If sticky enough, it
fill it up evenly. With a pump, sludge more cost effective. Progressing cavity can build up on the walls of the chute
could be piped to multiple locations and pump solution and then actually ‘bridge’ over the top of
a system of valves used to fill the trailer the auger in the pump, stick to itself, and
evenly. not drop down with gravity into the
Taking advantage pump.
A second concern is that a conveyor is After considering these issues, the District
open and moves the sludge on a belt, selected the progressing cavity pump as The aBP module (Figure 2) consists of
resulting in spillage and odor, whereas a the preferred option. Working with local two flat spoked wheels, one on each
pump would be totally enclosed in a pump distributor Flo-Line Technology, the long side of the chute. It has its own
pipe, eliminating both issues. District sought to take advantage of small (¼ HP) motor, which turns very

Application 21
WORLD PUMPS July/August 2016

slowly. The module essentially makes a per square inch (psi). While technically costs and improving system lifetime.
moving wall in the chute, preventing the feasible, such a pressure was higher than
material from building up on the walls, the pump’s intended design, and might As a result of these changes, the pressure
because the flat large diameter wheels have resulted in very high wear and rela- experienced at the valve farthest away
turn very slowly at slightly different tively short life. from the pump is now 220 psi, a roughly
speeds from one another. Installation of one third drop in pressure loss. The pres-
the aPB allowed the sludge cake pump The District requested recommendations sure is now in line with the original
to handle even the stickiest, most bridge- for fixing the situation. The initial sugges- design considerations (Figure 4) shows the
prone sludge. tion of replacing the facility’s 6 in glass- loading bay in operation.
lined pipes (used because it is smooth on
The project was initially planned for the inside to reduce friction) with 8 in Since implementing the system, SCWA
construction in 2012 but was delayed for pipes would have been extremely costly. has greatly increased its cake sludge solids
budgetary reasons. The equipment was The ultimate solution included changing content, significantly reducing its sludge
delivered and the installation was the elbows used for changing direction hauling costs, while also making sludge
completed, with facility startup in the from a tight bend to very long radius loading simpler and more convenient.
January of 2014. Netzsch provided the elbows, thus reducing significant pressure Maintenance costs have also been
pump to the contractor, FKC provided losses in the elbows. reduced.
the screw press, and the contractor
installed all the equipment, all the piping The District also added Netsch’s friction According to the District’s John Albrecht,
work, and the building construction. Flo- loss reduction (FLR) system, which essen- the pumps have been performing very
Line Technology assisted with the devel- tially produces a slippery layer on the well for more than a year of operations,
opment, design, commissioning, and walls of the pipe to reduce friction. The with very low maintenance and easy avail-
system optimization, offering a turnkey FLR system (Figure 3) consists of a small ability of parts. “My job is to make things
solution to the client. progressing cavity pump that injects a run and stay running, and the quality of
layer of polymer along the outer diam- these pumps is high. They are reliable,
eter of the pipe. easy to run, and very accurate. You dial up
Working out the kinks the percentage and know exactly what it
After operations began, the District expe- Using a ring nozzle, the FLR system will be, with no variation in the gallon per
rienced a significantly high pressure drop, provides a continuous 360° even layer minute discharge.
which resulted in some difficulty around the entire pipe surface that
pumping the muddy dirt-like material reduces friction loss within the pipeline "They also have run-dry protection, with a
through the very long spans to the and allows for pressure reductions of up thermocouple on the stator that shuts it
trailers sitting side by side in the new to 50%. down if it is too hot. We got the kinks
sludge loading building. There were three worked out well and it is a very robust
spots they could dump sludge in each system that does what it is supposed to
trailer. The system included six valves –
three for each truck. The spot farthest
Pressure reductions
District achieved considerable reductions
away required a pressure of 360 pounds in pressure, cutting back on operating www.netzsch.com