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Pump System Care: How To Keep The Fluids Moving

Regular inspection and preventative maintenance of wastewater pumping systems will ensure continued, reliable operation of the complete wastewater treatment system. Inspections should range in frequency from weekly to annually, depending on the purpose and intensity of the inspection. Refer routinely to the manufacturer’s service manuals, which should be carefully read and filed in a readily accessible location for future reference.

Whenever inspections are conducted, record observations and data in an equipment logbook clearly identified for that specific piece of equipment. Make sure it is kept current, expanded as needed, and again, kept in a clean, safe, and readily accessible location.


On a weekly basis, make a visual inspection of the pumping system, looking for signs of wear, deteriorating seal conditions, oil and grease buildup, etc. Check for vibrations and unusual noises. Correct any problems you observe before they develop into larger, more serious issues. Record observations and data in the appropriate logbook.

Conduct performance checks by recording the running time of each pump in the logbook. Weekly data comparisons will aid in analysis of operating time and the possible need for scheduled maintenance. In multiple pump systems, runtime data will also allow control of the pumps to even out relative run times.

Take amperage readings for each pump motor and record the data in the logbook. Weekly data comparisons will help an operator determine if changes in pump performance are caused by wear or clogging (more load versus less load).


On a monthly basis, run a megohmmeter check on each pump motor and record the data in the logbook. By comparing data from month to month, an operator can determine if moisture is making its way into the pump motor’s interior and, therefore, possibly avert a pump failure.


All major components of pumping systems should be inspected at least once a year, with more frequent inspection for those systems operating under severe conditions (e.g., high temperature and/or pressure, abrasive/corrosive fluids, etc.). Check seals, bearings, power connections, mechanical fittings and connections, etc.

As long as observations, test data, photographs, repair records, etc. are meticulously gathered, recorded, and updated in an equipment logbook, much of the guesswork in troubleshooting and/or repairing pumping systems can be eliminated.

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