By SWPA Executive Director Adam Stolberg and Chris Greco, Environment One Corporation (E/One)

For nearly fifty years, the Submersible Wastewater Pump Association has been at the forefront of advocating the systems approach to pump maintenance, sizing, monitoring, and operation. Rather than assessing discrete components of a pumping system for individual performance and efficiency standards, this philosophy encourages operators to evaluate the system as a whole, ensuring that all design elements work in conjunction to achieve maximal efficiency and service life. Below, SWPA Executive Director Adam Stolberg and Chris Greco of Environment One Corporation (E/One) discuss the advantages of the systems approach.

When SWPA began its advocacy of the systems approach, what role did its organizational standards play? How were member contributions included as well?

Advocating for the design, construction, installation, and operation of a pumping system of carefully integrated components (also known as the systems approach) for decades, SWPA has steadfastly promoted proper design in an effort to optimize performance of the pumping system.

Fundamental to this approach was the creation of organizational standards, which were contributed by and collaboratively shaped at various SWPA member committee levels, all with the goal of creating balanced technical publications, standards, system component guidelines, and training and educational programs to further the industry. 

What are some of the key benefits of the systems approach in pumping systems?

The systems approach encourages careful analysis of the end-use requirements to determine if the pump and each of the system components is efficiently sized and configured to meet the user requirements; analyzing the system to help optimize improvement opportunities; calculating life-cycle costing for maximum energy efficiency; and finding symptoms that could lead to inefficiencies.

How do the benefits of the systems approach change depending on a person’s connection to the pumping system? For example, what concerns are different for a design engineer, a manufacturer, or an end user?

To this day, these organizational standards are vital in helping consulting engineers, specifiers, users, and others gain a better understanding of the pump, valves, control panels, drives, basins, mechanical seals, and other components and how they interact for optimum performance, minimum maintenance, and long life.

Overall, adopting the systems approach brings about an ongoing focus on efficiency and top-level performance and helps maintain a pump operator’s outlook on their responsibilities.  

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