Quick pump replacement saves massive costs and time

- Sean Smith, Asset Service Manager, Wessex Water

The situation and challenge

Speedy service after a breakdown at sewage treatment plant in Dorset, UK, meant two large pumps arrived on-site faster than other suppliers often deliver a quotation, says Wessex Water’s asset service manager.


In November 2015, Wessex Water’s Sherborne Sewage Treatment Works in southern Dorset, UK, experienced multiple pump breakdowns. Repairing them quickly was critical. 

“This is a completely pumped system,” says Sean Smith, Asset Service Manager of Wessex Water. The site treats a daily average of 15,000 cubic meters (175 l/s) of incoming wastewater for a population equivalent (PE) of 11,000. “We need all pumps available at all times – or risk not being able to pass forward full flow to treatment and have to release wastewater into the environment.”

It was also a significant breakdown because the pumps in question were two-pole, super-head pumps. 

“Because they’re not a standard pump, we don’t keep them on the shelf, and they’re not generally in stock with our normal manufacturer,” says Sean Smith. 

One of the options was to install temporary overpumping until new pumps arrived, he says. “We would have to go out to one of our suppliers, hire in a generator set and an overpumping set, so we’d get that backup contingency and not risk going down the route of not passing forward the flow. It’s quite expensive, and takes quite a lot of logistics to manage that,” he says.


The solution

After trying its normal framework pump supplier, Wessex Water went to Grundfos. 

Grundfos Pumps UK Area Sales Engineer James Boulton put in a rush order for two SLV wastewater pumps on a Friday in late November. Wessex Water received them the following Wednesday – three working days later.

“Grundfos actually flew some pumps over to us in a really short time scale to offset the need to go down the over-pumping route,” says Sean Smith. “That was really good service.”

Boulton says the quick delivery was possible due to a European-based stock of dedicated Grundfos products and components at two locations in Europe. Subsequently, Wessex Water has built up a consignment stock of Grundfos pumps up to 17 kW for coming emergencies or quick replacements.


The outcome

Sean Smith says the quick replacement basically paid for the pumps themselves.

“By getting the pumps here as quickly as we did, we saved the cost of the whole over-pumping exercise,” he says. “If we were to over-pump the inlet here, the cost equivalent would have been the replacement cost of the two super-head pumps. So, there’s substantial savings with being able to get pumps to site really quickly when we need it.

“When we’ve got an enquiry for a new pump – replacement pump, service exchange – we get a really speedy response,” says Sean Smith. 

He adds that Grundfos is new to Wessex Water on the waste side. “Grundfos has come in with an almost refreshing approach. We’re building a relationship now, and we’re getting more and more reliant on the service provided.”

two SLV 15 kW wastewater pumps to Wessex Water within four working

Read more about the Grundfos Quick Replacement offer