Process and control today | The Valley Center route

At the Valley Center Wastewater Treatment Plant and a growing number of facilities across Kansas, the decision to purchase the most expensive equipment upfront is proving to be the most economical. Long-term maintenance savings are important, but in the shorter term, energy savings are fundamental.

“Total cost of ownership is what interests us at the plant and our city council,” said Valley Center utilities manager Wade Gaylord.

“There is always a cheap short-term solution, but it is our duty to act in the best interest of the city and our residents to spend our budget as wisely as possible, which for me is common sense. “.

After being laid off from the aerospace industry during the pandemic, Wade sought employment in the wastewater industry, where he could put his college degrees in chemistry and geology to good use.

“I grew up here and later I would walk past the South Sheridan factory and wonder what was going on there,” he said. “After aerospace, I was ready to travel wherever a good career opportunity presented itself in the wastewater industry. But it turned out that there was just one vacancy for an operator right here at Valley Center.”

Located about 20 km north of Wichita, the 0.5 MGD (million gallons per day) sewage treatment plant (built in 1979) serves 2,700 homes. It includes an extended aeration treatment plant, as well as ultraviolet disinfection treatment. Solids removal prior to discharge into the Little Arkansas River typically ranges between an impressive 97.5% and 99%.

The recent breakdown of a mixer at Valley Center demonstrated the firm commitment that now prevails when the true cost of ownership is mapped that only top quality, durable equipment represents the best value for money.

“To be honest,” Wade said, “I didn’t quite understand why the existing mixer impeller design was the way it was, but what I did know for sure was that it wasn’t. very reliable – and the cost of having it assessed and repaired was prohibitive. The mixer (7.5 HP) had been in use for 10 years but had a seal system that was just not user friendly”.

Wade spoke with several equipment representatives, including Wichita’s Fluid Equipment, which has been evaluating and repairing sewer systems for more than half a century. After hearing how Valley Center approached their purchase, Jeff Ubben of Fluid Equipment recommended a Landia submersible mixer from their portfolio that was at the top end of their price range, but should last 20-25 years.

“Look for longevity, as well as the best efficiency”

“I immediately liked the Landia design,” added Wade, especially the sealing system, which protects the most important part of the mixer. We have great cohesion in our team here at Valley Center, including our infrastructure manager, Ron Ekstrom, who has worked here for over 20 years. When we carefully weighed the pros and cons, we found Landia to be the most expensive purchase. However, when I presented the total cost of ownership to the city, they could see that it made the most sense by far. Our administration is definitely looking for longevity, as well as the best efficiency, and in 10 years or less, I don’t want an operator to face the same problems as me”.

“A better job, even if it uses a lot less energy”

Jeff Ubben of Fluid Equipment, commented, “For the wastewater industry, it is very encouraging to see a young utility manager and a city pushing hard for better quality equipment that will stand the test of time. With a Landia mixer, Valley Center can see that they won’t have the annoying maintenance issues that less designed mixers will create. And in addition to lasting a lot longer, the blender we recommended will also do a better job, even though it uses a lot less energy.”

With its backward-swept propellers, the Landia mixer’s design ensures that rags cannot snag and damage seals. The protective grease hub in the propeller protects the seals and is difficult to wash off. It acts as an important first line of defense against all types of debris. The proven Landia sealing system eliminates immediate and costly sealing failure conditions.

Jeff Ubben of Fluid Equipment pointed out that Landia can very often reuse an existing mixer manufacturer’s guide rail, so installation can continue without the tank having to be emptied.

Again, although Landia initially appears to be at the higher end of the price list, a refurbishment does not incur the additional costs of other designs.

‘Hand I have never seen the basin mixed like this before!

“Previously,” Wade said, “we knew the old 7.5 HP mixer was running and mixing – to some extent – but when the Landia mixer was installed, we turned it on and we never had seen the basin mixed like this before!The volume the Landia mixer was pushing through, mixing the basin from bottom to top, was pleasantly surprising;changing the dynamics for a much better process across the board.All that too,with just one motor of 4.9 HP!The amperage of the Landia gear mixer is lower than what we have seen with other manufacturers (7 amps compared to 10 and 12 amps of the others).On this mixer alone, running two hours of operation, two hours of rest, we realize an energy saving of $58 per week, or more than $3,000 per year. The return on investment is obvious”.

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