June 19, 2015
More than 1 million people in the city of Louisville, Kentucky, rely on constant top performance from pumping stations to keep the Ohio River away from their homes.
The mighty Ohio River winds 1,579 kilometres from Pennsylvania in the east to Illinois in the west. Along its banks, people have built up their existence for centuries. It is a source of life, which also has the power to wreak havoc on its neighbours. This is particularly true in Louisville, Kentucky.
Its 1.2 million inhabitants live at the widest and deepest point of the flood prone river, which has several times shown its teeth. In one of the fiercest incidents, flooding claimed nine lives and submerged 70 percent of the community. This was back in 1937, but it is remembered vividly today. To combat the problem, the US Army Corps of Engineers decided to build a series of flood control stations along the river.
One of which was completed in 1952 and equipped with seven, massive vertical turbine Peerless Pumps. For more than 60 years these pumps have played an important part in sheltering the citizens of Louisville from the water masses 24-7, and this meant a refurbishment was due. And with spotless service, of course, new pumps from Peerless, a Grundfos brand, were in order.
Powerful pump performance
The new pumps for the important station come with plenty of muscle. Four of the seven have 1,250 horsepower motors and a combined pumping capacity of 3.8 million litres of water per minute. Working in such an important area, the new pumps were subject to stringent demands. The customdesigned pumps had to meet specs set by the Corps, which owns the station, and the local Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD), which operates it.
“This project required a lot of design work,” says Tony Shade, VP of Construction with Hall Contracting.
“Grundfos took the lead in the design meetings and made sure the requirements of the Corps and the MSD were addressed,” Shade continues.
This ensured a smooth process, which was particularly important, since the refurbishment of the station had to be done without a single minute of downtime. That meant bringing in two new electrical feeds, one of which was for redundancy, then replacing the enormous pumps one at a time.
Keeping a winning team together
In order to best accommodate the customer’s wishes, Grundfos had to pull all strings available, which fortunately for the global pump manufacturer was many.
“We have cross-functional teams from the construction industry, engineering, plant production, supply chain, procurement and industrial design, who are used to tight timelines. This lets us solve customer problems in creative ways,” says Mike Cates, Vice President at Grundfos, about the large team which ensured that the process ran smoothly.
This was also noticed at Hall Contracting:
“The Grundfos team created great working relationships with everyone. On future projects we hope to keep this winning team together,” says Tony Shade.