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Massive Pumps at West Point Treatment Plant Get a Tune Up

By August 23, 2023No Comments

The Intermediate Pump Station pumps that push wastewater through West Point Treatment Plant are massive and old. This three-pump trio is from the era of crimped hair and flannel shirts and Pearl Jam on a cassette tape. In constant service since 1993, they are now among the last of their kind on the West Coast. 

Even as pump designs (and hairstyles) have moved on, King County Wastewater Treatment Division (WTD) is making these reliable ones last another 20 years. Last summer, the first pump came out of its underground housing at West Point for a tune up for the first time since installation. This summer, the two remaining pumps were removed, lifted by crane, and transported to local refurbishment vendors Beckwith & Kuffle (B&K) and Delta Electric Motors in Seattle. The work was supported by some of the original suppliers and installers from 30 years ago.  

“We sought out these specialized shops that have retained knowledge of these systems and could quickly replace and repair parts,” said Wade Phillips, a plant engineer at WTD. “The expertise of our operations and maintenance staff, coupled with knowledge from local industry, are allowing us to keep these pumps running for another 20 years or more.”   

The pump project is part of WTD’s efforts to replace and upgrade assets across the vast infrastructure of pumps, pipes, and treatment plants that make up our King County wastewater system. A well-executed contracting process that involved close, sometimes daily collaboration with multiple contractors, landed this project a year ahead of schedule and saved more than $5 million.  

The last of the behemoths will be back in place by the start of this year’s wet season when stormwater adds massive flows to the system. These tuned up pumps, operating in concert like a Pearl Jam drumbeat, will move up to 300 million gallons of wastewater a day.