What Is A Water Pumping Station & How Do They Work?
Water pumping stations are machines that can be used to transport water from one site to another, without needing direct human or animal input. These devices can supply water to canals, circulate water in treatment systems and can even drain water from low lying land.
Water Pump Stations Used in Land Alterations
There are many places around the country where a water pumping station can be very helpful. For instance, in The Fens (East Midlands), which was a massive tract of marshland around the River Ouse, water pumping stations were used to clear a lot of the marshy soil and instead create arable farmland. The best thing about this type of land alteration is that it is very beneficial for farming. As the waterlogged land is drained of water, the nutrients and particles in the water remain behind in the soil, making the dirt particularly beneficial for plant growth.
Water pumps are usually only considered in these kinds of applications if drainage by simple gravity is not possible. Water pumping stations are rarely used to remove water from elevated sites, as it is much easier in many cases to simply dig a canal and let the water flow downhill naturally to the desired collection area. On the other hand, it’s very common to have water pumping stations taking water to an elevated site. For instance, for residents that live on hillsides, the water that they use in their homes has to travel uphill and in this case water pumping stations will be essential to make this happen.
How Do Water Pumping Stations Work?
The pumping station must provide enough pressure to overcome the force of gravity on the water. When this pressure level is met, there will be enough pressure to move liquid at the flow rate that is needed. This is a simple maths equation and pumps are designed to be programmable so that the water flow rate can be adjusted easily. An electronic controller that is either directly attached to the pumping station itself, or operated from a remote site, is used to input the required data. The equation is calculated by taking into account all of the pipes (their dimensions), additional fittings, changes in elevation and any other parts that might have an effect on the pressure of the water system.
It’s important to look at the pipe entrance dimensions, any directional changes in the piping (45 and 90-degree bends), different types of valves as well as the dimensions of any outlets along the system must all be taken into account when calculating the pressure needed to overcome the system pressure and get the water moving. In this calculation, it’s also important to look at the various properties of the liquid that is to be pumped. So, for water, it’s crucial to check the roughness factor as well as the friction that the liquid exerts on the piping. Liquids such as water will have very little friction, however, sewage and chemicals might be vicious and as such will need stronger pressure to move them through the piping.
Legal Questions Around Water Pumping Stations
Many people in England and Wales might have older water pumping stations on their land or on land near them. In the past, these devices were built by local councils or private owners. However, in 2016, legislation was passed in England and Wales that transferred ownership of private pumping stations to local water companies. Many of the pumps are old and need significant maintenance. A lot of them were built in the Victorian era and some of them have even become historical landmarks and protected sites.
In any case, it’s a difficult task to locate and track all of the pumping stations across England and Wales and surveying efforts are still ongoing today. If you have a pumping station on your land, then it might be worth checking if your local water company is responsible for its maintenance.
Mitigating Risks With Water Pumping
Water pumps can be used to mitigate many risks to residential, industrial and commercial areas. In sewerage systems without sufficient pumping, stagnant water builds up and can be responsible for carrying bacteria and diseases. In a situation like this, toxic gasses such as hydrogen sulphide can build up, which presents a major risk to the population if it is inhaled. Sufficient pumping makes sure the raw sewerage is moving at a constant flow, so there is no chance of gasses building up due to stagnation.
Inadequate pumping in populated areas can also result in water welling up from the system to flood basements and ground-level floors of buildings.
Water pumping stations are used in the United Kingdom to move water along canals, to move groundwater, for hydraulic power stations as well as providing public water supply and sewerage services.
Water Pumps Require A Power Source
All water pumps require some sort of power. The first ones in Britain were powered using coal directly or through the steam created by burning coal. Even today, water pumps tend to use power, so a reliable power source is needed for their operation. You might need to contact your local council and possibly even obtain a permit to use a water pump as they may need to have their own separate electricity supply such as a diesel generator.
Industrial water pumping stations are usually plugged into the power grid but may have their own power solutions as well so that they can keep operating in case of an emergency. Some water pumping stations are powered by natural gas that is extracted from a nearby site. While it has been impractical to power a pumping station with solar energy or wind turbines, with ever-increasing battery capacities this might be a possibility for future generations.
Hopefully, this article has been useful in helping you to understand what a water pumping station is. For any queries regarding your industrial water pumping station please get in touch with the team at Pumping Solutions. We have decades of experience designing, installing and maintaining all manner of pump systems.
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