When residents of a New York City neighborhood saw a tree disappearing down a hole in the summer of 2012, it was obvious something was amiss. Called to investigate, the Department of Environmental Protection determined the cause to be a collapsed 110 year-old sewer line buried 70 feet below the surface of the street.
Amusing as it may sound, such incidents are not uncommon. Most of our water and wastewater systems were built more than 50 years ago and they are aging. The American Society of Civil Engineers says $4.8 trillion in capital investment is needed over the next 20 years for repairs, and while the EPA estimates a more conservative $600bn and 20 years, there should be no doubt that this is a huge problem.
The wastewater infrastructure comprises more than just sewage pipes. Thousands of motors, pumps and filters are employed to move water through the collection and treatment system and many are part of the problem. This presents a substantial opportunity for those who can engineer innovative and more cost-effective solutions, allowing cities to stretch their dollars further.
Reusing existing equipment stands to be a big part of this effort. Remanufacturing pumps, motors and associated equipment saves money compared to buying and installing new, lowering Total Cost of Ownership and allowing the wastewater industry to do more with less.
The ChemTec Role
ChemTec engineers and manufactures a wide range of flow monitors, meters and excess flow valves at their facility in Deerfield Beach, FL. All have a part to play in the water infrastructure, especially flow monitors. Used to sense abnormal flow conditions, these can be configured to send an alert in case of blockage or low-flow condition, protecting pumps from damage, and indicating when filters need changing.
ChemTec Featured Product
The LCA series of adjustable flow monitors provide low cost monitoring of liquid flows, including corrosive media. Four models are available spanning water flow rates from 0.38 LPM (0.10 GPM) to 56.8 LPM (15.00 GPM) (corrections should be made for other liquids.) Brass, stainless steel, PVC and acrylic are available allowing use with liquids up to 220 degrees Fahrenheit. All are field adjustable and offer repeatability of +/- 2%.
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This EPA body supports the Build America Investment Initiative, a key component of which is to increase investment in improving water systems across the U.S..
“After working around the clock for more than 100 years, [the water and wastewater] infrastructure is aging and failing. … Investment in water infrastructure puts people to work and builds a stronger America.”