The story behind flood control and Grundfos

The story behind flood control and Grundfos
Interview: Jim Rise

Jim Rise and Mick Eriksen of Grundfos are the co-authors of the book “Designing Flood Pumping Stations”, which for the first time covers all aspects of flood pumping stations and their design.

Jim Rise set out to clear away the confusion surrounding the design of pumping stations that he had met during his 15 years working in the area. He sat down and wrote the book 'Designing Flood Pumping Stations' to systematically bring together the most important information on flood pumping stations and how to design them.

PHOTO: Jim Rise, Sales Development Manager, Grundfos

What inspired you to write the book?

Jim Rise: In my experience, 90% of the errors that involve pumps in pumping stations are due to the design of the pumping station. This book is the first time that I know of where all the relevant information has been brought together. It covers design, installation, commissioning and operation and we basically wrote it to help people avoid the worst design errors.

What was important for me was to make this knowledge about flood control and pumping stations available to help people who work in this area, so that their pumping stations can do what they are intended to do – operate reliably for many years and help alleviate the problems caused by flooding. I am happy to say that the feedback I have had from all over the world on the book has been really positive.

Designing pump flood stations handbook

Download the new handbook
about flood pumping stations


What kind of design errors have you seen in pumping stations?

Jim Rise: Pumping stations are often old and were built many years ago, when a city was much smaller than it is now. That means the pumping station has to drain a much larger area than it was designed for, and what often happens is that the existing pumps are simply replaced with larger pumps that can pump more water.

90% of the errors that involve pumps in pumping stations are due to the design of the pumping station.

Jim Rise, Sales Development Manager, Grundfos

One of the problems with just replacing original pumps with larger ones is that you can easily come to create a vortex, because the extra volume of water is pumped faster by bigger pumps, while the rest of the station – such as the exit pipes – has the same dimensions. This can lead air entrancement and cavitation.

This is just one example from my book. What I wanted to do was show how important it is to take all factors into consideration and design a pumping station that meets requirements.

Why is Grundfos involved in flood control?

Jim Rise: Flooding is the fastest growing cause of disaster in the world while at the same time 50% of the planet’s population lives in flood deltas. This means the need for flood control is also growing.

At the same time, one of Grundfos’ most important goals is to pioneer technologies that improve the quality of life of people, and flood control is an area where we have the technology and products to really do this.

I have included a map in my book to show readers they can find help to design a pumping station suited for their climatic conditions. In the tropics there is very heavy rainfall at certain times, while in Northern Europe rainfall is more evenly distributed – notwithstanding climate change, of course. The map shows how Grundfos has been involved in designing pumping stations that meet the challenges no matter the climatic zone.

Can you give a good example?

Small practical details can make a difference. For example, more compact pumps mean the customer can save space in building the pumping station and save on construction costs, even as much as 20%.

Jim Rise, Sales Development Manager, Grundfos

Jim Rise: The project in Mumbai, India is a good example (see more under the tab "Video: Mumbai solution"). Grundfos was involved right from the beginning with the design and equipment. Grundfos even runs the pumping station.

In my view it is important to think in systems and solutions including pumps and also installation, SCADA systems, service, and communication. But at the same time, small practical details can make a difference in the daily operation. For example, more compact pumps mean the customer can save space building the pumping station and save on construction costs, even as much as 20%.

Grundfos pumps also have features like the Grundfos Turbulence Optimiser™, which is a rubber diffuser, mounted on the pump volute. When the pump is running, the Turbulence Optimiser™ expands and reduces turbulence, reducing energy losses and saving 1-2% of energy consumption, which can really add up in a large pumping station. So it was important for me to systematically present and explain the big picture but also point to the small details that make a difference in optimising pumping stations.

Jim Rise
Jim Rise, Sales Development Manager at Grundfos co-wrote ‘Designing Flood Pumping Stations’ and was part of the team that founded the Global Water Competence Centre in Denmark.

For more information and design guides, reference cases and other information on flood control, click here.

Video: Mumbai solution

Large areas of the city of Mumbai are low lying and are impacted by extensive flooding on a regular basis due to annual monsoon rains. Mumbai is home to 13 million inhabitants, with a further 7 million living in the metropolitan area, and also the commercial capital of India.

To combat the problem, Mumbai Municipality proposed a storm water pumping station in central Mumbai. Grundfos provided a complete solution for the pumping station, including not only the pumps but also a SCADA control system and electromechanical systems. Today, the pumping station provides a sustainable solution to the perennial problem of flooding in Mumbai.

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