Inspection and maintenance of asset infrastructure is an ongoing, and often mammoth task for local councils. Not only do they have the responsibility to ensure that a wide variety of assets for different applications are running efficiently, they must also source a range of qualified professionals to carry out maintenance and repair works.
Regional councils often find it a challenge to source contractors with the capabilities to inspect and repair a wide range of equipment and ageing infrastructure.
Fitt in regional NSW
Fitt Resources is one of the few pump and seal companies specialising in the maintenance and repair of roto-dynamic equipment that offers this level of support and expertise to both inner city as well as regional councils.
Since 2013, Fitt Resources has been undertaking routine inspection and maintenance of pump stations in regional NSW. These works span a total of 16,800 km2 and involve up to 100 pump stations, including potable water pumps as well as sewage pumps.
Richard Arthur and Jonathon Clark head up the Regional Council Service Division at FITT Resources, which is set up specifically for on-site servicing for the water industry throughout regional Australia.
The team has the ability to provide on-site mechanical and electrical testing of pumping equipment and other water industry equipment at pump stations, sewage treatment works and water treatment works.
According to Mr Arthur, “Our team is unique in that we have our own range of lifting equipment, safety equipment for confined space entry and laser alignment kit.
“Or, if a pump or other piece of equipment cannot be fixed on site, it will be delivered to Fitt’s ‘in-house’ workshop, headed up by Servicing Division manager, Daniel Hechter.
“Our comprehensive approach, from initial site inspection to workshop overhaul and repair, means councils simply engage our services rather than having to source different contractors to get different parts of the job done,” says Mr Arthur.
Orchestrating the Service Inspections
Before each inspection takes place, the Fitt team works closely with each council to create an inspection schedule for each of their assets. The site services team then heads out to the location and carries out each inspection. Once complete, an extensive report tabulating all faults, defects or possible problems is provided to the client.
The inspection reports are both extensive as well as easy to understand, giving council’s the necessary knowledge they need to make decisions about required repair works, general asset maintenance and upgrades which can improve efficiencies and increase asset life and reliability.
The pump inspection process
The team can inspect up to two or three pump stations per day.
“The time it takes to inspect each pump station really varies on the pump type and size. We see a wide range of pumps from those weighing 200kgs up to 3 tonnes,” says Mr Arthur.
An example of the work carried out during a Sewage Pump Station inspection can be seen in the following ‘Work Scope’.
Works carried out
- Inspection of pump station infrastructure, building and security.
- Inspection of wet well and valve chamber access hatches.
- Isolate, disconnect and remove pumps from sump.
- Inspection of lifting chains and shackles.
- Inspection of submersible power and pilot cables and fixings.
- Mechanical inspection of pumps including flush valves, impellers, impeller clearances and associated wear parts wear rings and pump volute casing.
- Inspection and replacement of oils as required.
- Pressure test mechanical seals and cooling jackets.
- Electrical testing of pump stators as per “On Site Service Checklist”.
- Electrical testing of control panel, floats and alarms.
- Mechanical inspection of Inlet Valve, NRV and Gate Valves
- Inspection of concrete wet well, guide rails, guide rail brackets, pump discharge connections, float trays and discharge pipework to the valve chamber.
- General clean of sump with HP water blaster. (Does not include costs of solids removal by tanker if required.)
- Re-installation of pumps and final testing.
- Service check lists and report forwarded to customer for record.
Further maintenance works
Once the client has received the detailed service inspection reports, they can either choose to complete the works themselves, or allow Fitt Resources to quote for the repairs and/or upgrades.
Fitt has the capabilities to offer a comprehensive service from initial inspection to:
- minor repairs
- pump overhauls
- supply / install new wet well access hatches
- supply / install replacement valves
- pump discharge connections
- wet well pipework
- guide rails
- refurbish hydrogen sulfide attacked concrete.
“The advantage of working with Fitt is that councils no longer have to outsource multiple contractors to complete separate works,” says Mr Arthur.
“Basically, we can bring any sized asset from disrepair into efficient working order.”
Below is an example of Fitt’s recommendations offered to the client upon completion of the inspection.
No padlocks are fitted on the wet well hatches.
Sump tidal area has an excessive build up of fat / scum, requires high pressure water blast and vacuum to remove.
Pump running with high current, then tripped out on overload when we were at site. Pump removed from wet well, volute removed, pump was found to be clogged with rags, the rags are also behind the impeller, all visible rags were removed, pump was reinstalled and tested now running at near nameplate current. Impeller clearance is starting to open monitor at next inspection. Also monitor impeller ragging till next inspection if ragging continues remove pump and perform impeller adjustment at workspace.
Multiprobe had heavy fat build up this was cleaned and removed. One Float switch (Flygt EN10) is missing float cable only, requires replacement. Also a number of float switches had a heavy build up of fat which would inhibit correct operation.
Three gate valves are potentially seized and cannot be hand operated. Two of the NRVs are old, one is chattering in operation suggesting that it may be worn. The NRV’s are not passing but if changing the gate valves it may be prudent to O/H the NRVs or replace them. The sluice valve cap is seized shut and will require heat to remove it. We suspect that the sluice valve will also be found to be seized.
Some of valve chamber lids are also seized shut and sit proud of the surface causing a potential trip hazard, these will require some attention and time to remove the lids.
If installing new valves, replacement by dismantling joint rubbers will also be required as well as new concrete plinths.
Lifting chain and shackles have corroded and require replacing with new chain and shackles. 6m required per pump.
Seal chamber was pressurised and oil was contaminated with effluent water. This suggests that the lower mechanical seal is passing / starting to fail. Upon further investigation, after removing the pump from the volute, we discovered ragging behind the impeller. We removed this as much as possible, some ragging may still exist around the mechanical seal springs. New replacement oil has been filled into the oil chamber.
Future pump O/H may be required to change mechanical seals and bearings. Check oil again soon for further contamination.
Impeller neck to stationary wear ring clearance is about 3mm. When overhauling the pump we recommend that a new wear ring is fitted.