Wipes and Rags No Match for Monsters at Colorado Amphitheatre

Growing numbers of park visitors brought an increase of waste and costly maintenance issues

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Wipes and Rags No Match for Monsters at Colorado Amphitheatre

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Before Red Rocks Amphitheatre became famous among concertgoers, visitors affectionately referred to the area as the “Garden of the Titans” — a nod to the awe-inspiring, monolithic sandstone formations and its perfectly nestled location at the base of the Rocky Mountains. The Amphitheatre itself is part of the much larger Red Rocks Park District, located 15 miles west of Denver, Colorado. The park is filled with winding trails, unique wildlife and breathtaking vistas. Between the stunning nature attractions and the Amphitheatre’s world-class musical acts, it’s no wonder thousands flock to visit Red Rocks each day. But starting in 2012, the volume of visitors began giving the maintenance crew a compounding and costly headache at their wastewater collection facility.

Jeff Brewer is a facility maintenance technician at Red Rocks Park, and is responsible for ensuring that the drum grinders in the wastewater vaults properly shred the debris that gets into the sewer system. However, as the number of visitors to the park started to grow year after year, the grinder drums couldn’t keep up with both the amount and type of debris. On top of that, the nature of sewage continues to evolve, especially where wipes are concerned. The material doesn’t naturally break down, and without a reliable way to shred them, clogs and backups are almost inevitable.

“We were getting huge amounts of clothing, rocks, wipes and rags blocking up our drum grinders on a daily basis,” Brewer says. Along with being labor intensive, the process is both miserable and unsafe. “The vaults are very compact and the odor is terrible. I would have to unwrap the rags that got tangled up in the aerators and the impellers, and the cleaning process took about three hours from start to finish.”

Brewer explains that along with the hassle and safety concerns that came with daily maintenance and labor, an even bigger issue was surfacing. “We were spending upwards of $5,000 a summer to replace the equipment within our water tanks that kept breaking down because of all this debris the grinders couldn’t shred thoroughly.”

Brewer quickly realized this situation couldn’t be sustained for much longer, so he worked with Joe Davis, the facilities superintendent at Red Rocks, to find a better solution to deal with the huge amounts of debris getting caught in the tanks. “After Joe did a lot of initial product research, we contacted Scott Marshall, our rep at MISCOwater, to get his recommendations. Without hesitation he told us to go with a Muffin Monster from JWC Environmental,” says Brewer.

“We are very active out in the field, checking in with customers about how their process is working,” Marshall says. “But in this case Red Rocks came to me and asked for my opinion about the struggles they were dealing with, and I told them the Muffin Monster was their best choice — hands down.”

After talking with Marshall and doing their own product research, Brewer and Davis were both impressed with the ruggedness and durability of the Muffin Monster, as well as the strong reputation JWC Environmental has in the industry. The Monster line is particularly adept at dealing with wipes and other nondispersibles, which was causing the bulk of the debris problems at Red Rocks.

The Muffin Monster was installed in the first wastewater vault at the facility, where the sewage runs from east to west, in order to capture and cut the debris before it got to the aerators. Since being installed in April 2014, Brewer hasn’t had any problems with waste clogs. “The unit has worked flawlessly,” he says. “It’s made my life much less stressful, and I haven’t had to go into the vault once.”

As Red Rocks Park continues to draw more visitors year after year, Brewer acknowledges that upgrades and facilities improvements will be an ongoing process. “We now put on 120 shows a year, from April through September,” says Brewer. “And each show can seat over 9,500 people, so volume is always going to be a concern for us.”

Thanks to the Muffin Monster, Brewer and Davis can focus on future plans and improvements to the facilities at Red Rocks, instead of the daily waste issues they were facing before. “That grinder has been my best friend,” Brewer says. “It takes care of everything.”

For more information on the Muffin Monster and other equipment solutions from JWC Environmental, visit www.jwce.com.


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