Articles & Case Studies


Posted: Monday 16th June 2008

Sykes Pumps, one of the UK’s largest pump hire specialist, has enabled Severn Trent Water to improve the efficiency of its sludge management processes at the water company’s Rock Farm Dewatering Facility in Warwickshire.

For eight months of the year, Severn Trent is able to recycle digested sludge to agricultural land in either a liquid or dewatered form. For the remaining four months of the year(known as the closed season), the sludge needs to be de-watered and stored either on purpose built Cake Pads or on Third Party Storage areas. On Finham’s de-watering facility at Rock Farm there is a sludge lagoon which can be utilised during the closed season to provide additional strategic storage. With a distance of 500m between the lagoon and the de-watering plant’s post-digestion tanks, the water company has historically used a road tanker to transfer the sludge from the lagoon to the digestion tanks. This year however, an overland pumping system designed and installed by Sykes Pumps, has enabled Severn Trent to manage the sludge without the need to transport it.

“The sludge ranges between 3 & 8% dry solids,” explained Mark Vine, Sewage Treatment Works Manager at Finham. “That makes pumping it the required distance at a flow rate fast enough to reduce the level of sludge in the lagoon extremely difficult. When we first looked into using a pump as an alternative to road tankers, it seemed we would need two pumps, one to remove the sludge and another to pump it into the tanks. However, the Sweepex pump that Sykes has provided performs both tasks and has enabled us to manage our sludge storage and de-watering operations much more efficiently.”

Sykes Pumps works with Severn Trent Water under a preferred supplier framework and had already installed the overland pumping system that allows the team at Finham to pump the centrate from a storage lagoon back to the main plant; and it was by tapping into this pipework that the above system could be utilised, acting as a dual purpose main. The company is the only UK supplier of Sweepex pumps, 4” hydraulic submersible pumps, which are capable of handling sludges with up to 50% dry solids content. With the Sweepex pump in place, Severn Trent was able to pump the sludge into the post-digestion tanks for de-watering during the day and utilise the same system to pump the centrate back to the main plant over night.

“We were able to draw on the expertise at Sykes Pumps to help us put in place a solution that has offered us both operational efficiencies and cost savings,” Mark Vine added. The Sweepex pump has performed very well throughout the ‘closed season’ and I am sure we will continue to implement this process in future years.”

Editor’s note: * The water released from the de-watering process

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