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Watertronics Booster Station

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by PurpHaze, Apr 23, 2008.

  1. PurpHaze

    PurpHaze LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,496

    Our first Watertronics Booster Pump Station has been up and running for the past week at one of our schools. I must say... it may be spendy at about $18K but it is doing its job quite well. Since the irrigation is now hooked up to domestic water with ample water but insufficient pressure a booster system was necessary. The pump is "dialed in" at a specific 200 GPM and provides enough additional pressure that our "worse case scenario" sprinkler head gets 60 PSI at it. The pump is a VFD and operates quite well on both low volume and high volume demand. I haven't seen this system EVER work right until now... of course I tried to tell the district that spending $250K on the irrigation system back in 2001 was a waste of money since the old well would neither pump out the water or pressure required for the system to work well. The district is so impressed with the unit and my observations that they're already getting the necessary max GPM and existing dynamic pressure at two other sites in order to have units made for them.

    Here's a link to a picture of the unit. http://www.lawnsite.com/showthread.php?p=2287460#post2287460 Eventually I'll open the thing up when I have a camera ready and take some pics of the inside.
  2. DanaMac

    DanaMac LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,220

    I think it's time for a raise for Purp. So did they spend the $250k back then? And it still didn't work? Of course nobody listens to the irrigation guys.....
  3. PurpHaze

    PurpHaze LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,496

    Actually Dana, they're starting to listen to me a little. They had ME design a new field area system for one of our older school sites instead of sending it out to a "consultant" or "architect". The first thing to be dealt with was GPM/PSI at the POC. Options were either fixing the existing well/pump or hooking up to Cal Water domestic supply. They've decided to go the domestic route and all of it will be put in and checked out before ground is broken for the new main line. The system contractor will then come off the POC and install the system to my design. I think they've finally realized that I WILL take early retirement and leave when our house sells. :dizzy:

    The system will be installed this summer when kids aren't in school and the contractor has only a six week window to install the whole thing. That way the field can be dressed up and overseeded... hopefully at least a little established before school resumes in late August.

    There's a lot of prep work that has to be done including the removal of some trees, moving of a couple of backstops and removal/capping of existing valves and abandonment of existing lateral lines. The old main line will be used strictly to supply water to quick coupler valves on three Bobby Sox fields.

    New system will be two-wire/decoder, 4" looped main line, master valve controlled via the system controller. I'd originally specified a flow sensor but we're working out the details since the new Watertronics booster pump system will be installed and it includes VFD and flow sensor. We're waiting on info at this time as to how to coordinate things there between Watertronics and the Hunter ACC-99D controller.

    It will be interesting... but I'm not worried. The interior and front of the school was installed by us off a design I did back in '92 and gets raves for how nice it looks. Once the field area is completed then I guess it will be the standard that anyone who comes after me will have to meet. :laugh:
  4. DanaMac

    DanaMac LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,220

    That's awesome. Nice to see they are listening to someone with "field" experience. Architects and designers in any industry should have some field experience before they get certified.
  5. Tom Tom

    Tom Tom LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,281

    Great job purp, hope the district appreciates you.

    Seems as thou they finally realized they could save a boat load of cash with their own in house expert.
  6. Mike Leary

    Mike Leary LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 23,157

    Geez Hayes, you get all the fun stuff.
  7. Valveman

    Valveman LawnSite Member
    Messages: 53

    Variable flow pump stations are a great idea. They can handle your high flow zones as well as low flow zones while delivering constant pressure to both. However, variable flow does not have to be variable speed or variable frequency. A simple pump control valve can also deliver variable flow rates at a constant pressure. Power consumption reduces almost exactly the same by restricting a pump with a valve as it does by slowing the RPM with a VFD. A pump station controlled by a simple valve, can have many benefits over the more complicated and expensive VFD systems.

    One of the first benefits is cost. The VFD pump station cost 18K. A comparable system using a Cycle Stop Valve would have only cost about 10K. Since there are very little if any energy savings from using the VFD, there is no way it can ever save enough to justify the difference in cost.

    Another benefit of a CSV controlled system would be life expectancy. I can give you pictures and references for hundreds of CSV systems. Most of these have had absolutely no maintenance or repairs in 15 years. Standard pump systems, running on normal power, should last 20 to 30 years or more. The following is a link that talks about the maximum life of a VFD being 8 years.


    Others say the average life of a VFD system is closer to 5 years. Either way a VFD system only last about 1/3 as long as a pump system should. As there really are no energy saving when using a VFD, the added maintenance and replacement is just additional expense.

    In the last few years we have installed about 20 CSV controlled pump stations for the City of Lubbock Parks Departments. Another 15 or so CSV pump stations went in for the Lubbock Independent School District. They are both experiencing tremendous savings in energy use, water conservation, and above all, reliability. They would be a good reference for you as they also have past experience with VFD systems as well. If they had this many VFD systems now, they would need to keep a VFD technician on staff to maintain them. With the CSV systems, very little maintenance of any kind has been needed. Any maintenance that has been done was easily handled by the irrigation contractor. Lubbock is a little further ahead in this area of technology as that is also where Cycle Stop Valves, Inc. is located.

    Since your school district is thinking of adding a couple more pump stations, it would be a great place to compare a VFD system to a CSV system. In just a few short years, they will be able to see the differences and would commend you further for recommending the CSV system.

    Attached is a picture of a very similar system. This VFD system gave the VA hospital considerable grief for the first couple of years. It was then retrofitted with a CSV and the VFD was removed. This would also be a good reference for you as in the last several years after installing the CSV, there have been absolutely no problems and the staff at the VA hospital could not be happier that they changed out the VFD for a CSV.

    DanaMac is right that they should listen to someone with "field" experience, instead of listening to VFD engineers whose only concern is developing a "fluid product". Which BTW a "fluid product" is a something that cost a lot up front, doesn't last very long, and must be replaced on a regular basis, keeping the cash flow "fluid" for the manufacturer.

    With the economy in such bad shape, saving considerable money up front as well as getting something that will last becomes even more important.

  8. PurpHaze

    PurpHaze LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,496

    Great info Valveman!!!

    Would you happen to have a contact person/email/phone number for the person in charge of irrigation systems at Lubbock Schools?

    The reason that the Watertronics unit is being used is that it is in use in quite a few other applications here in the valley. I can't speak for the overall performance costs/maintenance issues, etc. that you brought up because that part is out of my hands. Our electricians/plumbers are responsible for all booster pumps in our district. Me... I just want my GPM/PSI at the POC and all is well in Irriville. :drinkup:
  9. DanaMac

    DanaMac LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,220

    Thank you, Thank you very much. With a little Elvis accent and swagger kicked in there.
  10. Valveman

    Valveman LawnSite Member
    Messages: 53

    I have lots of references for schools and universities. The ones in Lubbock are probably the most familiar with the CSV. I am sure they would not want me to publish their names and phone numbers on the Internet, so I will PM you this information. If anybody else needs the information, just let me know. Thanks

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