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Submersible Sewage pumps recycling possibilities during the refurbishing or upgrade of wastewater management facilities

T.E.I. Piraeus, Dep. of Electrical Engineering, P. Rali Ave & 250 Thivon str, GR-12244, Egaleo, Greece *Corresponding author: E-mail: cpsomop@teipir.gr Tel: +30 2105381182, Fax: +30 2105381321

C.S. Psomopoulos*, G.C. Ioannidis, S. Apostolakos and A. Madias

Abstract Sewage pumps are among the main electromechanical equipment of the sewage and wastewater management facilities around Europe for over 30 years. Their operational life is around 15-20 years and a significant number of these equipments are non-operating. The need for the replacement of these pumps leads to an increased number of them which should be disposed off in the forthcoming years. Although, the WEEE Directive (2002/96/EC) for Waste of electrical and electronic equipment is the main related legislation, the sewage pumps are not included. This work investigates the possibilities for recycling of sewage pumps used in wastewater management facilities after its renovation or upgrade. Evaluation results indicate that there is high potential for materials recovery; thus, this could contribute to the effort for the minimization of their impact to the environment, through the materials recovery and safe handling of non-operating industrial and possibly hazardous waste electrical equipment. Keywords: Sewage pumps recycling; WEEE Directive; materials recovery; industrial wastes reduction. 1. INTRODUCTION Sewage or wastewater is defined as the spent water of a community. Although, it is mainly consisted of pure water (more than 99.9%), it contains wastes of almost every form and description. About 25% of the waste material of normal domestic sewage is in suspension; the remainder is in solution. Sewage contains many complex organic and mineral compounds. The organic portion of sewage is biochemically degradable and, as such, is responsible for the offensive characteristics usually associated with sewage. Sewage contains large numbers of microorganisms, most of which are bacteria. Fungi, viruses, and protozoa are also found in sewage, but to a lesser extent. Although, most of the micro-organisms are harmless and can be used to advantage in treating the sewage, the viruses and some of the bacteria are pathogenic and can cause disease [1-3]. In wastewater management facilities different types of pumps are in use depending on the processes to be executed (collection of wastewater, transport of wastewater during different treatment stages, sludge handling, etc). The classification of these pumps can be based on the general nature of the liquid to be handled (wastewater or sludge) or on the way these pumps operate (centrifugal or positive displacement pumps), including the installation type: wet or dry pit [2, 3]. In the wet-pit installations, the pumps are submerged in a wet well, involving the use of submersible pumps (centrifugal). The submersible pumps (nonclog, vortex or torque flow, and grinder depending on the impeller type) handle wastewater very well and they allow for convenient maintenance in wet-pit stations because of easy pump removal. Dry pit installations consist of two separate wells: the wet well and the dry well. Wastewater is stored in the wet well, which is connected to the dry well by horizontal suction piping. At dry-pit stations, centrifugal pumps (nonclog, vortex or torque flow, cutter or grinder depending on the impeller type) are usually used. The main advantage of the dry-pit station is the availability of a dry area for personnel to perform
Proceedings of the 2nd International CEMEPE & SECOTOX Conference, Mykonos, June 21-26, 2009 ISBN 978-960-6865-09-1 Editors: A. Kungolos, K. Aravossis A. Karagiannidis, P. Samaras page 877

routine and emergency pump and pipe maintenance. The centrifugal wastewater pumps (dry or wetwell) can handle sewage or primary sludge with up to 2% (5% the newest types of open impellers) solids, while positive displacement pumps, mainly progressive cavity and Archimedess screw, can handle sludge with more than 2% solids and sludge and sewage respectively [2-7]. Sewage pumps play an important role in wastewater collection and treatment because they are among the main electromechanical equipment of these facilities around Europe for over 30 years [13]. Their operational life is around 15-20 years and thus, a significant number is non-operating up to this time [2, 4-7]. The need for the replacement of these pumps has increased the number of pumps which should be disposed off in the forthcoming years [8]. The WEEE Directive (2002/96/EC) for Waste of electrical and electronic equipment is the main related legislation but the sewage pumps seem not to be included [9]. This work investigates the possibilities for recycling of sewage pumps used in waste water management facilities after its renovation or upgrade. Evaluation results, which will be presented in this paper, show that there is high potential for materials recovery; thus, this could contribute to the effort for the minimization of their impacts to the environment, through the materials recovery, safe handling end of life industrial and possibly hazardous waste electrical equipment and reduction of the volume of wastes disposed of in landfills. 2. WASTEWATER MANAGEMENT AND SEWAGE PUMPS In most cases, sewage / wastewater management systems are divided into two parts: collection systems and treatment systems. Collection systems consist of a network of sewers which collect and convey sewage from individual residences, commercial establishments, and industrial plants to one or more points of disposal. Pumping stations are often needed at various points in the system to pump from one drainage area to another or to the treatment plant. The judicious location of pumping stations enhances the economy of the overall design by eliminating the need for extremely deep sewers. Often, gravitational collecting systems exists where the landscape of the area permit it and reduce further the operational costs [1-3]. A treatment plant uses a series of treatment stages to clean up the water so that it may be safely released into the environment (eg. lake, river or stream, sea, land, etc) or reuse (eg. agricultural and landscape irrigation, industrial procedures, non-potable urban uses, etc). Treatment usually consists of two major steps: primary and secondary, along with a process to dispose of solids (sludge) which are removed during the two previous steps. During Primary Treatment, sand, grit, and larger solids in the wastewater are separated from the liquid. Screens, settling tanks, and skimmering devices are most commonly used for the separation. Primary treatment removes a significant portion of the suspended solids and organic matter from the wastewater and typically is accomplished by chemicals for disinfection processes. During Secondary Treatment, wastewater still contains solid materials either floating on the surface, dissolved in the water, or both. Under natural conditions, these substances would be food for organisms like fungi, algae, and bacteria which live in a stream or lake. Secondary treatment is basically a biological process. Air is supplied to stimulate the growth of bacteria and other organisms to consume most of the waste materials. In this way the biodegradable organic matter (in solution or suspension), suspended solids and nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus, or both nitrogen and phosphorus) are removed from the wastewater. Then, disinfection processes kill any remaining harmful bacteria and microorganisms, and the wastewater is being released to the environment or reused. Today, most public wastewater treatment plants provide this second stage of treatment. [1-3, 8]. Sewage pumps play an important role in all these processes as they are used both in collection and treatment. Submersible wastewater pumps are vertical, direct-coupled, extra-heavy duty units, which operate under water and have a solids-handling, non-clog capability. While single pumps are

often installed, most applications require two pumps (called "duplex") - to insure continued operation if one pump fails - to minimize deterioration of one pump and equalize it between two and to provide extra capacity in times of extraordinary loads. Typical sewage pumps can be seen in Figure 1, while Figure 2 shows the typical installation of a pump in a sewage pit [2-7, 10]. The most common sewage pump is the submersible one. A submersible pumping system consists of the motor-pump unit together with automatic electrical controls. Controls can be simple or complex, depending on the application. The latter may consist of an entire factory-packaged station enclosed in a steel or fibreglass tank, ready for installation and pipe-electrical hook-up. Submersible sewage pumps are more and more used in applications where self-priming, dry pit, straight centrifugal, vertical extended-shaft, and pneumatic ejector pumps were once the dominant types [2-7, 10]. Like any pumps, submersibles can also be adapted to the capacity requirements of the particular installation. Typically, dynamic heads range from 5 to 100m. Flow rates range from 2 to 600m3/h and larger pumps produce 600m3/h or more. The pump-motor unit can be adapted to installation needs. Many large pumps can be used in conjunction with a variable speed drive (VSD) to further fit the performance to the application [2-7].

a b Figure 1. Sewage pumps (a) and a typical section (b).

Figure 2. Submersible sewage pumps installation through rail guiding system. 3. WEEE DIRECTIVE AND SEWAGE PUMPS RECYCLING IN EU During the decade of 70s, the EEC and later the EU, began to take actions for the management of particular categories of wastes. On 27 January 2003, the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union, in order to preserve, protect and improve the quality of the environment, protect human health and utilize natural resources prudently and rationally, adopted the 2002/96/EC Directive on Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE). The 2002/96/EC Directive focuses on Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment which falls into the category of voltage supply range up to 1000 Volts AC and 1500 Volts DC. The purpose of this Directive is firstly, to prevent waste of electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE), secondly, the reuse, recycling and other forms of recovery of such wastes to reduce the waste disposal and thirdly, to improve the


environmental performance of all operators involved in the life cycle of this equipment [8, 9]. According to manufactures datasheets, the effective or satisfactory operational life time of sewage pumps in wastewater management facilities is estimated to be approximately fifteen years. When their operation is no longer satisfactory, they are replaced [4-7]. Table 1 presents typical composition of common used sewage pumps. In their end of life phase, these pumps can be recycled and some of their parts can be reused [3-7, 11]. The WEEE Directive (2002/96/EC) for Waste of electrical and electronic equipment is the main related legislation even though it concerns electrical and electronic equipment which do not clearly include pumps or sewage pumps (Category 6 : Electrical and electronic tools, Equipment for spraying, spreading, dispersing or other treatment of liquid or gaseous substances by other means) [8, 9]. According to the Study preparing the first working plan of the Eco Design Directive (2005/32/EC), motor driven equipment for waste water process is a category of high importance. Although the LOT 11 regards motor driven equipment as one of the highest priorities of the EuP Directive, sewage treatment equipment which covers sewage pumps, was not included there [12]. Table 1. Declaration of contents, with the quantity of every material specified as a proportion of the total pump weight in kg, and kg per functional unit for typical small scale and medium scale submersible sewage pumps [3-7, 11].
Typical small scale submersible pump 1.3 kW Material kg kg/kW Cast iron 52.8 40.9 Steel 8.72 6.76 Aluminum 2.35 1.82 Copper 3.18 2.46 Chloroprene rubber 2.97 2.30 Stainless steel 1.09 0.845 Oil 0.853 0.661 Zinc 0.240 0.186 Bronze 0.150 0.116 Brass 0.120 0.093 Parts not included** 1.98 1.54 Total 74.4 57.7 Typical medium scale submersible pump 7.9 kW Material Kg Kg/kW Cast iron 148 18.6 Steel 35.1 4.42 Aluminum 10.6 1.33 Copper 7.16 0.902 Chloroprene Rubber 4.69 0.591 Stainless steel 6.82 0.86 Oil 3.15 0.397 Nitrile rubber 0.24 0.03 WCCR* 0.22 0.028 PA 6 0.03 0.004 Parts not included** 1.69 0.213 Total 217 27.4

*: WCCR abbreviation of Wolfram Carbide Corrosion-Resistant ** Weight of materials that is not included in assessment

Although, pumps consists of metals like copper, aluminum and steel, only small scale actions for their recycling have been implemented around Europe, all of them included in general programs following the implementation of WEEE Directive in EU Member States [8, 9, 13]. The facilities, in which this type of equipment is installed, like wastewater or sewage tanks etc, result to the existence of heavy polluted environment [1, 3]. Moreover, severe health hazardous conditions exist and the collection and end of life treatment are similar to the one for hazardous industrial wastes [13-14]. Another important parameter is that the life expectancy of sewage pumps is around 15 years, while if their maintenance and repair procedures and their operation during these years follow the manufacturer directives, precautions and limitations, this life expectancy could be extended further, resulting in relatively small number of pumps to reach end of life. Many of these facilities are in operation for more than 15 years in Greece and around EU, resulting in an increased number of sewage pumps to become nonoperating and in the renovation of a significant number of wastewater treatment plants where a number of pumps will be replaced. The number of these pumps is expected to increase further [3-8, 10].


4. SEWAGE PUMPS RECYCLING POTENTIAL AND BENEFITS Sewage pumps play an important role in wastewater management procedure and in many facilities, are the main electromechanical equipment. They are in use from early 50s around Europe, middle of the same decade in USA, and around 40 years in Greece [1, 3, 8]. After the end of their operational life (around 15-20 years based on datasheets, existing literature and experience), these pumps should be disposed of as industrial hazardous wastes and must not send to landfills even in controlled ones. The pumps, as it can be seen in the Table 1 contain materials such as machine oil, zinc, Wolfram Carbide Corrosion-Resistant (WCCR), etc, which are considered to be hazardous and toxic [4-7, 11, 14]. Therefore, the end of life treatment should be done in appropriate facilities with significant care. Also, considering that these pumps are in use for sewages and wastewater, it is rather easy to realize that they are exposed to a significant number of pathogenic microorganisms and bacteria, facts which support the previous assumptions [1-3, 8, 10, 14]. Typically, small to medium scale wastewater management facilities (collection and treatment), using sewage pumps, are rated from a few kW (typical 10-40kW installed per small scale facility, 25kW per domestic one) to several kW in medium scale (typical 80-300kW in medium scale for 10000 20000 persons) and large scale facilities (up to MW scale, for facilities over 250000 persons) [1, 4-8]. Based on the above figures, a significant percentage of the installed sewage pumps is removed and replaced by new equipment during the renovation or upgrade of a wastewater management facility. Thus, several pumps must be disposed of in an environmental friendly way. Unfortunately, in many cases, a significant number of them finally go to landfills with obvious environmental impacts based on the aforementioned analysis. At this point, it must be noticed that only in EU Member States several hundred thousand facilities like the ones above are in operation; thus, the number of non-operating sewage pumps should be considered notable high [4-8, 13-15].
18,60 16,40 16,80 15,00

kg/kW 20,00 16,00 12,00 8,00 4,00 0,00

Pump 7,9kW

Pump 12,5kW

Pump 20,7kW

Pump 31,7kW

Stainless steel

Figure 3. Declaration of contents, with the quantity of main recyclable materials specified as a proportion of the total pump weight in kg and kg per functional unit for typical medium scale and medium to large scale submersible sewage pumps [3-7, 11]. Figure 3 presents the declaration of contents, with the quantity of the main recyclable materials specified as a proportion of the total pump weight in kg/kW per functional unit for a typical medium scale and medium to large scale submersible sewage pumps. Based on the fact that sewage pumps are metallic electrical equipment and considering the installed power per sewage pump as it is shown in Figure 3, the recyclable materials per pump are quite high, and could result to high values of resources saved per sewage pump [3-7]. At the same time, the hazardous contaminates

Chloroprene Rubber


Cast Iron




0,90 1,45 0,80 1,22 1,33 0,75 0,66 1,19 0,86 0,73 1,08 1,22 0,40 0,40 0,43 0,44 0,59 0,61 0,30 0,33

4,42 4,58 4,76 5,03

and components should be separated and treated properly [13, 14]. All the above assumptions easily lead to the conclusion that the recycling of sewage pumps could reduce the non treated industrial and hazardous wastes and reduce the amount of wastes disposed of in landfills [13-15]. Thus, valuable raw materials (like Cu, Al, Steel) could be recovered with high purity (for example the Cu used in pumps has a purity of 99.9%) minimizing energy intensive industrial processes and reducing further the environmental impact, by reducing the energy needs and GHG emissions [8, 12]. Less but not least is the increment of the recycling rates (it is clearly stated in EU Landfill Directive) and the preservation of the environment due to the proper treatment of the hazardous components of sewage pumps [8, 14, 15]. 5. CONCLUSIONS In this paper the recycling possibilities for sewage pumps used in wastewater management facilities has been presented. These pumps contain materials such as machine oil, zinc, WCCR, etc, which are considered to be hazardous and toxic. These materials must not dispose of in landfills but they should be treated separately, applying the appropriate procedures. Although, the WEEE Directive is the applicable one for their treatment it does not include them, even thought their main composition includes valuable metals. The results of the evaluation presented in this work indicate the high recycling potential of sewage pumps during the refurbishing or upgrade of wastewater treatment facilities, resulting significant environmental benefits. Furthermore these benefits are even higher if the hazardous materials included in these pumps, will be treated properly during the materials recovery procedure. References 1. Metcalf & Eddy, 2003. Wastewater engineering: Treatment and reuse. 4th ed., McGraw-Hill, New York. 2. Sanks, Tchobanoglous, Bosserman and Jones, 1998. Pumping Station Design, 2nd ed.,Butterworth-Heinmann, Boston. 3. Karassik, Messina, Cooper and Heald, 2001. Pump Handbook, 3rd Ed, McGraw-Hill, New York. 4. http://net.grundfos.com/doc/webnet/waterutility/downloads/ (accessed December 19, 2008) 5. http://www.abs.com (accessed December 11, 2008) 6. http://www.flygtus.com (accessed December 15, 2008) 7. http://www.wiloemu.de/ (accessed December 27, 2008) 8. European Environmental Agency 2007. Europes Environment, The 4th Assessment, Copenhagen. 9. EU Directive 2002/96/EC on Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE). Official Journal of the European Union, L37, Brussels 13.2.2003. 10. http://www.swpa.org/ (accessed December 28, 2008) 11. http://www.environdec.com/ (accessed December 28, 2008) 12. http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/eco_design/index_en.htm (accessed December 18, 2008) 13. Aravossis K., Bagavou E., Kungolos A., 2002. Planning, management and assessment of projects concerning hazardous waste in Greece, Fresenius Environmental Bulletin, 11 (11), www.arvis.gr 14. LeGrega, Buckingham, Evans and Environmental Resources Management, 2001. Hazardous Waste Management, 2nd Ed. McGraw-Hill, New York. 15. EU Directive 1999/31/EC on the landfill of waste. Official Journal of the European Union, L182, Brussels 16.7.1999.