In response to requests from Plumbing Manufacturers Intl. (PMI) and its members, as well as from other supporters of the U.S....
This article summarizes the criteria for selecting pumps for specific wastewater applications
Submersible Pumps in the Dry Well
A "standard" submersible pump cannot operate in a dry well because it must be submerged in order to cool the motor.
The construction costs associated with this alternative are shown in Table 6 and compared with the construction costs for the conventional wet well/dry well design previously described.
Estimated Life Cycle Costs: There does not appear to be any increase in annual O&M costs associated with equipment maintenance with this design compared to those for a conventional dry pit pump design. The motors are less efficient than conventional motors, as was described above. Table 7 summarizes the resulting life cycle costs of pumping stations using submersible pumps in the dry well.
The design typically features a wet well in which the pump is hung, suspended from a supporting slab over the wet well. A separate building is provided to house the electrical and control systems. Most of the installations investigated did not have on-site cranes. Truck-mounted cranes are used to remove the pumps for maintenance and to reinstall them.
The construction costs for the type of pumping station are similar to those (although a little greater) for a submersible type of station. The vertical turbine-type solids handling type of pump generally is more expensive than either a conventional dry well or submersible pump.
Capacities: The minimum capacity of this type of pump is about 1,500-gpm with total dynamic head (TDH) in the range of 15 to 30 feet per stage. Thus, there is only a limited use for such pumps in small pump station applications.
The maximum capacity of this type of pump is about 65,000-gpm with TDH in the range of 80 to 90 feet. Such a TDH is attainable with pumps typically having a capacity of 2,500-gpm or more. Thus, vertical turbine-type solids handling pumps are better suited for large pumping station applications.
Operation and Maintenance Aspects: All the O&M personnel contacted spoke very favorably of the ease of maintenance and low O&M costs of this type of pump. Generally speaking, the level of effort required for maintenance is about the same as that for conventional dry pit pumps except that a crane is necessary to remove the pump in order to work on the impellers, tail bearings and shaft supports. The following specific comments were made.
The agencies all used truck cranes to remove the pumps for maintenance, and this does take slightly more effort than is the case for handling conventional dry well pumps because the pump columns are long. This characteristic increases the time it takes to remove or reinstall the pumps, but the magnitude of this additional time is not thought to be significant.
The pump and motor efficiencies are the same as for conventional dry well pumps.
Estimated Life Cycle Costs: There does not appear to be any significant increase in annual O&M costs with this design compared to those for a conventional dry pit pump design.
A majority of the O&M supervisors in the agencies investigated in the United States prefer the "submersible pumps in a dry well" design for the following reasons.
Unlike the case of pumps in a wet well, it is anticipated that there is no increased O&M costs (other than higher power costs due to the less efficient motors) of using submersible pumps in a dry well compared to using conventional pumps in a dry well.
In the opinion of the O&M staffs at most of the agencies contacted, the degree of effort required to maintain various types of sewage pumping stations (from easiest to most difficult) is as follows:
A careful and realistic life cycle cost analysis should be performed before deciding to use submersible pumps, especially if the contemplated pumping station is fairly large (greater than 10- to 15-mgd capacity).
In light of the concepts presented, it is suggested that the following criteria be used in selecting the type of pump and associated pumping station design for wastewater systems.
These criteria are discussed in more detail in Table 10 for three hypothetical owners or sanitation agencies. In addition, Chapter 25 in Reference  presents a thorough comparison of the advantages and disadvantages of the various typical wastewater pumping stations.
Recommendations to use various types of pumping stations under various design conditions are summarized in Table 11. Actual selection should be done on a project-specific basis and considering the owner's preferences and experiences, but the following recommendations are offered. These recommendations are based on a combination of life-cycle costs in conjunction with the other criteria given in Table 10. It should be emphasized that all these factors need to be considered in selecting the type of wastewater pump for a given project. Where alternatives are shown in Table 11, they are listed in order of best life-cycle costs.