Handling the Wipes

Grinder pump makes quick work of “flushable” wipes and other system-clogging solids.
Handling the Wipes
Close-up of the pump material after grinding. Rags and non-flushables are ground into material that can pass through most septic and sewer systems.

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Flushable wipes are one of those products you love to hate. Sure, they’ve made cleaning easier and taken the hassle out of so many daily household chores, but they cause a myriad of problems in both private and public wastewater systems.

Several manufacturers showed up at the 2016 Water & Wastewater Equipment, Treatment & Transport Show with products designed specifically to combat the flushable wipes problem. At the Liberty Pumps booth, the ProVore grinder pump took center stage, showing off its ability to completely shred even the most difficult solids.

“I don’t think anyone had the intention that (flushable wipes) were going to cause this problem,” says Adam Flint, Liberty Pumps corporate trainer, as he stood over the demonstration unit. Flint grabbed a dowel and stuffed a large maroon rag into the bucket. He turned on the pump, and in seconds, the fabric spit out the other end in a fine pulp, now capable of moving through any pipeline without creating obstructions.

Although flushable wipes dominate the discussion about bad consumer habits, they aren’t the only problem the ProVore can handle. The grinder pump is also designed to shred feminine products, rags, towels and anything else that can jam a solids-handling pump. It’s a useful addition to homes connected to a municipal system as well as those with septic systems.

With its V-Slice cutter technology, the ProVore is engineered for use in residential applications where the addition of a bathroom or other fixtures below the grade of existing sewer lines requires pumping. The cutter technology means that a greater surface space is used with each rotation, allowing for a sharper cut and more efficient shredding.

“It’s slicing with small V-shapes,” Flint says, as he runs the pulp through his fingers. “This pump is typically installed in areas where they’ve had trouble with flushable wipes or rags. But now, (contractors) are being proactive.”

Flint explains that contractors have installed the grinder pumps in new construction as a preemptive strike against flushable wipes. It is, after all, a massive problem that’s costing municipalities millions of dollars each year.

Homeowners with private wastewater treatment systems aren’t immune to the wipes problem, either. Flushable wipes and other materials can clog pipes and filters, and cause septic backups in bathrooms, showers and basements. It’s a problem costing many people a lot of money.

“Depending on what you have on the other end, (flushables) cause problems,” Flint says.

With higher flow rates, the unit allows use with 2-inch discharge lines. Its 1 hp motor operates on a standard 115- or 230-volt circuit requiring a 20-amp breaker. The residential pump can be used as a replacement pump in any 2-inch discharge system using LE40 and LE50 Series solids-handling pumps. The grinder’s heavy cast iron construction and powder-coated exterior are designed for corrosive environments.

During the show, a steady stream of attendees mingled around the demonstration, watching as Liberty Pumps representatives shoved rag after rag into the watery bucket.

“The first day was really super steady, and we had great coverage,” Flint says.

Liberty Pumps is a regular at the WWETT Show, and Flint says it’s one of the company’s most anticipated trade shows of the year.

“This is one of our biggest and best shows,” he says. “That’s why we bring so many guys here. Our engineering team is here so they get to listen and take notes. Plus, we all get to walk around and see what’s new.” 800/543-2550; www.libertypumps.com.  


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