Grit Washer Helps Tarpon Springs Perfect Its Cleaning and Separation Process

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Grit Washer Helps Tarpon Springs Perfect Its Cleaning and Separation Process

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City staff was looking for an idea to remedy the logistical issues in the Tarpon Springs Wastewater Treatment Plant. Tarpon Springs is a small Greek community on Florida’s Gulf Coast.

The original facility design lifted up all the sewage and grit to the second level, depositing grit throughout headworks' channels for partial removal at the very end of process. After installation, the majority of grit is removed prior to being pumped to the second level and the old grit process is only used for fugitive grit removal.

The RoSF4 Grit Washer from Huber Technology was installed to wash the grit so that the resulting sewage is grit-free before being lifted to the upper level by way of two above-ground pumps and two submersible pumps. Less grit accumulation in channels results in less scheduled debris removal and helps maintain full hydraulic capacity. 

“Why deal with the extra weight and mess of moving dirty, wet grit up one floor level for cleaning and separation when there is excellent technology available to complete the task before the lifting process?” says Rob Marcincuk, chief operator at the plant.

Perfecting separation and cleaning

Redesigning the project logistics and installing the grit washer has had positive impacts to the Tarpon Springs’ plant operations. Grit is only pumped by two dedicated pumps that were repurposed with ceramic coated impellers to minimize wear and maintenance costs in this abrasive application.

Taming odor

The improvements in separation and cleaning affect everyone in Tarpon Springs: plant employees, DOT officials and citizens. It’s a far-reaching improvement to the processes that are very noticeable.

Tarpon Springs uses an enclosed dumpster for collecting debris and is hauled away. Before bringing the grit washer online, the simple formula transpired into results no one could ignore: Wet, dirty debris + trapped air + Florida heat = vile odor.

The wet and extremely odiferous debris from the dumpster is hauled by a truck to the landfill. During the trip, odor from the truck’s contents may waft across lanes of traffic. 

“One of our truck driver’s en route pastimes is people watching. As folks pull up behind his truck full of wet treatment plant debris, he watched the changes in their facial expressions. With the improvements the grit washer has made in our separation and cleaning process, he doesn’t see the same reactions. His trips won’t be quite as entertaining. However, the DOT will be happy that we’ve significantly reduced our vector attraction factor,” Marcincuk says.

The debris is now collected in an open dumpster and hauled off to the landfill. The difference is that there is less organic debris and it is dryer, lighter, cleaner — and kinder to noses. 

Over and above the vector attraction factor, the debris Tarpon Springs now hauls off can be properly disposed of at the landfill without contributing to any odor problems. 

“It’s important to us that the debris we produce is properly treated and our environment is protected,” Marcincuk says.

Mastering operations

The Tarpon Springs staff was able to install all equipment and infrastructure in-house and had a smooth device startup. Minimal technical startup help from Huber was needed. Only minor adjustments at the HMI have been needed since the RoSF4 Grit Washer went online. The grit washer operates at maximum performance with minimal attention.

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