Clogging Solution is Crystal Clear in Crystal Lake

City turns to a tried and true supplier for the latest technology when dogged with pump station clogging problems.

Content Dam Ww Print Articles 2017 02 1701wwcas P01 New Flygt Concertor Pump Ready For Installation In Lift Station 13

By Steve London

Crystal Lake, Ill., is located in McHenry County about 45 miles northwest of Chicago. With a population of approximately 40,000, the city is named after Crystal Lake, which is 1.6 miles west-southwest of downtown. The southeast portion of the Crystal Lake shore was first made available for general recreational use to the public in 1856.

Content Dam Ww Print Articles 2017 02 1701wwcas P01 New Flygt Concertor Pump Ready For Installation In Lift Station 13
New Flygt Concertor pump ready for installation in Lift Station 13.

The Crystal Lake Wastewater Treatment Division is responsible for the operation and maintenance of two wastewater treatment facilities. Combined, the facilities process an average of 4.3 million gallons of water per day or 1.6 billion gallons annually. This produces an effluent that not only meets but also often outperforms the National Pollution Discharge Elimination Systems (NPDES) permit requirements. Other functions of the division include laboratory analysis of samples required for NPDES reporting, plant process control, industrial monitoring, and potable water analysis.

Crystal Lake has 27 sanitary stations and three stormwater stations. This includes over 65 pumps, some of which were installed in the late 1980s. Each of these stations is subject to routine inspections to ensure their proper operation and maintenance. A comprehensive review of each operating system is conducted to assure uninterrupted operation. As part of the minor capital improvement process, lift stations are renovated and updated prior to the equipment reaching the end of its service life. Updated technology is installed to maximize efficiency and prevent system failures.

Ensuring Reliable and Clog-Free Operation

Sanitary Lift Station 13 experienced occasional clogging problems for a few years. The station had high visibility within Crystal Lake because of its occasional operating issues. As a current highly-satisfied owner of over 40 submersible pumps using both PLCs and SCADA, Crystal Lake turned to Xylem for a solution.

Crystal Lake had great faith in the manufacturer. In the past, the city had previously experienced issues with aftermarket parts. For example, when lesser quality parts had been used, the pumps experienced operational issues sooner than expected, which led to additional rebuilds and increased the likelihood of service disruptions.

1702wwcas P02 Non Obtrusive Lift Station Blends In With Surroundings
Non-obtrusive lift station blends in with surroundings.

The city sought to resolve these issues by using only factory authorized O&M pumps and repair parts. Purchasing factory-authorized parts saves staff time and ensures that pumps will be repaired quickly. It also locks in prices, enhancing budget planning and reducing price hikes from year to year.

In 2015, the City of Crystal Lake passed a resolution based on staff recommendations to use only Flygt pumps and repair parts for five years. The resolution passed by a simple majority.

Faced with the occasional blockage problems at Lift 13 due to flows containing flushable wipes and miscellaneous debris, the manufacturer recommended its new Xylem Concertor, a fully-integrated system with high operational flexibility. Concertor combines a fully integrated control system with IE4 motor efficiency, state-of-the-art Adaptive N-hydraulics, and intelligent functionalities.

System Benefits

By integrating a control system that can automatically adapt to the changing wastewater environment, an optimal level of performance is delivered while significantly reducing total cost of ownership. The built-in intelligence makes it quicker and easier to set-up and operate functions that would otherwise require a very sophisticated monitoring and control system, all achieved with a significantly smaller footprint.

The Concertor system was installed and began operation in July 2015. During installation, the city would not allow modification to the existing control panel. The existing motor starter and pump protection had to remain in place in the event the old pump had to be reinstalled. Concertor does not require these items to operate, so slight modifications were required to make it work with the existing station controls. Regardless, installation was smooth and it took only a few hours to install the pump and control. No consulting engineering firm was used. The Flygt Engineering Group sized the new system based on information provided by Crystal Lake.

1702wwcas P03 Wetwell Hatch Grating Open With Pump Guide Rails Visible
Wet well hatch grating open, with pump guide rails visible.

Since installation, inspections have revealed very little sediment and grit build-up. Also, varying start levels have prevented grease ring build-up in the station, a great benefit. Crystal Lake staff previously performed the onerous task of station clean-out every three to four months, but the new system did not require clean-out for eight months. The city estimates total savings to be about $800 to $1,000. Finally, all clogging issues have been eliminated.

In the past, Crystal Lake was required to carry a couple of spare pumps in its inventory. However, standardizing on Concertor with its ability to handle different capacities with one single pump can reduce what the utility needs to carry as it can rely on the local Flygt branch.

Crystal Lake was able to parlay a long-term, solid relationship with a major pump manufacturer into a clogging solution for one pump station, cost-saving standardization and reduced inventory across its remaining pump stations, and significant energy savings.

About the Author: Steve London is president of Steven London Associates (Apollo Beach, Fla.). He has extensive background as a writer and editor specific to municipal water treatment technologies. For the past 19 years, his company has developed application articles that highlight various solutions for water management professionals. London can be contacted at or (813) 645-0209.

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