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What follows below is a success story—one that can be implemented at wastewater facilities around the country. At Southwest Licking County’s lift station in Pataskala, Ohio, elastic solids were clogging the county’s station frequently. Pataskala installed the Sithe chopper pump and solved the problem. The Sithe chopper is so reliable that the county’s maintenance crew hardly worries about the pump station anymore.


Matt Pennington, Southwest Licking County’s collection system supervisor, and his crew were getting ready for another long day of work. One of their pump stations had clogged again. The pump had been creating problems for quite some time and was costing the county thousands of dollars in clog removal.

“We need to get a permanent fix to this problem. This is the fourth time this station has clogged this last month,” Matt says to his team as they finished deragging the clogged pump.

“Matt, do you know anyone who can solve this for us,” echoes one of the crew members.

“I think I know just the right person. I will call Derek the first thing tomorrow morning,” replies Matt.

Barnes Sithe chopper pump’s open center cutting mechanism and heat treated stainless steel blades


Southwest Licking Community Water and Sewer District is a rural water and wastewater district in Central Ohio committed to providing economical water and wastewater services to over 6,000 customers in three townships.

The district’s wastewater system includes one WWTP with a capacity of 2.65 million gallons per day, over 160 miles of sanitary sewers, and forty-three wastewater pump stations. The district’s wastewater infrastructure is maintained by its maintenance crew, a team of three people led by supervisor Matt Pennington.


Derek Wooten of Excel Fluid Group carefully studied the duty point of Southwest Licking County’s problematic pump station. Derek is Excel Fluid Group’s pump systems consultant, whom Matt contacted to solve the frequent pump clogging issues at the station. Derek knew that Barnes pumps would have a solution to this problem.

Excel Fluid Group has been a municipal distributor for Crane Pumps and Systems, the manufacturer of Barnes pumps, for more than twenty years. Crane and Excel have worked together on numerous occasions and are passionate about solving customer problems and providing world-class customer service.

Derek consulted Tom Marshall, Crane’s regional sales manager, to select a pump for the application. Derek had shared with Tom that the station pumps were frequently clogging due to elastic underwear, T-shirts, rags, mop heads, ropes, and diapers. Sources for the station include a trailer park, residential houses, and light commercial facilities.


Problem solvers Tom and Derek worked out the details and selected the Barnes Sithe chopper pump for Southwest Licking County’s application. Sithe chopper pumps are the newest Barnes solution to challenging municipal wastewater applications. Crane engineered the Sithe chopper pump for superior non-clogging, and solid size reduction capabilities, highest reliability, ease of serviceability and low life cycle costs. Tom and Derek believed that a 4-inch, 10 horsepower mono vane Sithe chopper pump would solve Matt’s clogging problems at the station.

Matt was intrigued when Derek proposed the Sithe chopper pump solution: “A chopper pump instead of a regular non-clog? Why do you think it will solve our clogging problem?” Derek affirmed that Sithe chopper pumps are one of the best chopping and pumping solutions available in the market.

“Sithe chopper pumps have a patent pending unique chopping mechanism that slices even the most troublesome solids in the waste stream,” adds Derek. “The chopping mechanism consists of an open center cutter design with large cutting edges, and is made of heat treated 440C stainless steel with a hardness of 60HRC.”

“So, how does this help solve clogging?” asks Matt.

“The heat treated blades and open center design have two purposes. Heat treated blades enable Sithe choppers to chop hard solids like wood dowels, nylon rods, plastic bottles and metal cans. The open center cutter design helps in directing solids towards the blade cutting edges. As a result, solids like rags, elastic materials, mop heads and other stringy solids, that would otherwise clog typical solids handling pumps, are easily chopped and pumped,” replies Derek.

Matt looked convinced listening to Derek’s explanation. Derek continues, “Not only do Sithe chopper pumps provide superior non-clogging and solid size reduction capabilities, they also save money. Sithe chopper pumps’ heat-treated blades retain hardness for longer periods of time, and do not need replacement for years. Sithe choppers have high quality, non-proprietary Silicon Carbide seals, heavy duty bearings, corrosion resistant, stainless steel hardware, and moisture and temperature sensors. These features greatly increase the Sithe chopper pumps’ reliability and reduce costs.”

“We currently have a 10HP solids handling pump in the station today. What changes will be required to the panel and rail assembly if we change over to the Sithe chopper?” asks Matt.

“Absolutely nothing,” Derek replies. “The Sithe pump that Crane and I have selected is also a 10HP pump. There will be no need to reinvest in panels. Sithe chopper’s broad array of accessories include adapters that can slide into most common guide rails systems available in the market.”

“What other features do Sithe chopper pumps have that are different?” asks Matt.

“Sithe chopper pumps are available with dual and tri-voltage motors with a plug-n-play quick connect cord. The quick connect cord facilitates pump installation and removal, saving time and money. And did I forget to mention that explosion proof Sithe chopper pumps are also available as an option,” says Derek.


It’s been nine months since the Sithe chopper pump was installed in Southwest Licking County’s problematic pump station. Sithe is chopping and pumping hard solids with zero downtime. The district’s maintenance crew no longer receives service calls for deragging the pump station.


There are several factors that contributed to the success of this Sithe chopper installation. They include (1) Sithe chopper pump’s highly innovative design that makes it the preferred pump of choice for pumping heavily solids-laden wastewater, (2) Excel Fluid Group’s excellent relationship with the county, (3) Ideal pump selection with all necessary information, and (4) Crane Pumps and Systems’ outstanding customer service.

All Sithe chopper pumps are available in industry best lead time of just three weeks. In Southwest Licking County’s case, per Matt, “Sithe has definitely led to cost savings in man hours, equipment cost and fuel cost from not having to come out and pull the pump to remove clogs.” The Sithe chopper pump has exceeded all expectations.

About the author:

Sai Venkat is product manager for Crane Pumps and Systems. Crane Pumps and Systems is a diverse manufacturer of pumps, accessories, and services. Crane Pumps and Systems provides solutions for water, wastewater, military, and engineered pump market segments. For more information, visit

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