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Yorkshire Water prevent a potential pollution incident and save ~€200K in costs

The problem

Both sewage pipes and sewage pumps can become clogged by improperly disposed items like wet wipes, diapers and cooking oil. A clogged pump is unable to work at full speed, and in the worst case may stop working altogether. And if it unexpectedly breaks down during a period of high flow, fluid that should be transported away starts to build up and flood the surrounding area. 

For this reason, Yorkshire Water has installed SAM4 Health and its automated clogging detection feature across its sewage network to provide early warning of developing pump blockages. In one particular case, Samotics’ system has been installed on two co-located sewage pumps at one of the sewage pumping stations. There are also telemetry systems in place that provide extra visibility into the health of the pumping station.

The solution

On one specific day in September, the telemetry systems indicated that one of the pumps had tripped and the other was still operating normally. Since the other pump at the station could deal with associated demand for now, no immediate intervention was scheduled.

At the same time, SAM4 Health’s automated clogging detection feature signaled that actually both pumps had become completely blocked, which could cause them to fail and lead to a potential pollution event. This prompted Samotics to send an urgent alert to Yorkshire Water. Their maintenance team immediately visited the site and confirmed that both pumps were in fact clogged and a false signal had been generated by the additional telemetry systems. Once the blockages were cleared, both pumps came back into operation. This was confirmed by the SAM4 dashboard where the data indicated a return to a healthy pump behavior.

Boots, tyres and other foreign objects found in blocked pumps by SAM4 Health
After the Yorkshire Water team got to the sewage pumping site, they lifted the pumps to remove blockages and found boots, tyres and other foreign objects, which were causing problems. Once they resolved these issues, both pumps went back online and returned to normal operation.

The result

With Samotics’ early alerts of pump blockages, the Yorkshire Water team were able to get to the sewage pumping site in time to remove blockages and ultimately prevent a potential spill into the local environment. These detections avoided €40k in maintenance costs and an estimated €150k pollution fine.

“Temporary issues with the site telemetry meant the only visibility we had was via the Samotics unit. Thanks to the alert system we were able to urgently attend the site, investigate and remove blockages that would have led to pollution of the local environment.” 

– Simon Rhodes, Business Transformation Manager, Yorkshire Water

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