Wastewater Circulators Solve Noxious Odors at Shell Oil Martinez Refinery

Solar-powered circulators from Pump Systems Inc. provide reliable wastewater odor control to prevent health hazards, public outrage and air quality citations - along with savings.

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Solar-powered circulators from Pump Systems Inc. provide reliable wastewater odor control to prevent health hazards, public outrage and air quality citations - along with savings.

In wastewater treatment, the prevention of odors escaping from storage ponds is so problematic it’s a disaster waiting to happen. Even an occasional lapse in maintaining an effective odor cap can have dire consequences including health hazards, public outrage and even shutdowns.

Such scenarios aren’t limited to sludge storage ponds. Industrial storage basins holding manufacturing effluents, and even rainwater, contain odor-producing sulfurous compounds that can waft over communities unless capped effectively.

“We are very concerned about maintaining an odor cap,” said David Williams, project engineer at Shell Oil for the Martinez, CA, refinery. “Our wastewater treatment pond is about a quarter mile from the residential community. We’ve got a delicate situation where even just a slight amount of odor could arouse complaints from the community.”

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William’s concern about wastewater odor control led him to looking for a new aeration technology to replace two brush aerators that had been attributed to incidents that produced odor complaints from local residents.

The solution was the SolarBee, a solar-powered water “circulator” from Pump Systems Inc. that aerates ponds by circulating the top two feet of water at a rate of up to 10,000 gpm. This circulation occurs with a gentle, “near laminar” long-distance flow pattern that provides an oxygenated odor cap across the entire surface 24 hours a day.

This solution provided cost savings.

“Because the wastewater treatment pond is at a remote location, we had been using rented diesel generators to power the brush aerators,” Williams said.

The total rental costs for testing that system was about $15,000 a month. The alternative of powering the site from the grid would have cost up to $150,000 due to the remote location and electrical classification. As an added bonus, SolarBees reduce energy costs by $10,000/year compared to hard-wired aerators.

Williams reports that since the installation of the circulator systems, the Martinez wastewater treatment pond “has had zero odor complaints due to inadequate aeration.” IWW

Founded in 1978 in Dickinson, N.D., Pump Systems Inc. developed, manufactured and installed its first solar powered circulators in 1998 and, beginning in September 2001, named its technology the “SolarBee” brand. By 2004, PSI had manufactured and installed almost 600 machines nationwide and analyzed thousands of water samples. Contact: 866-437-8076 or www.solarbee.com.

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