By  Kurtis DeShaw, PE

Water distribution managers are tasked with getting the most out of their pump station equipment. One of the things they focus on is preventing impeller deterioration or “chewing” at their pump stations. Chewing can lead to reduced pumping efficiency and increased maintenance, equipment, and operation costs.

While normal wear and tear are common, all pump stations should have an operations and maintenance plan to optimize pumping operations. Traditional operations and maintenance plans contain the following elements:

  • Regular inspection for leaks and abnormal sounds.
  • Bearing lubrication.
  • Seal replacement.
  • Packing replacement.
  • Impeller replacement based on standard usage to optimize hydraulics as the impeller wears over time.

Even the best-laid maintenance plan can go awry, however, and other factors can lead to pump deterioration more quickly than standard wear and tear. Some common pump impeller deterioration problems observed in pump stations include: