Hand Pumps Help Reduce Danger at Wastewater Treatment Plant

Controlling weeds isn’t a high priority for a plant manager at a California water and wastewater management facility. But it became a nuisance when the handling of weed pesticides caused some concerns with new California state regulations. The San Joaquin facility serves 1.5 million people, with a processing rate of 1.5 gallons per-day- per person. The 100-acre treatment facility includes 20 acres devoted to the treatment plant and another 10-acre facility to service an adjacent prison.

To keep the abundant weed growth around the perimeter of the site at bay, the staff performed frequent applications of a popular weed killer.


Purchasing the chemical in large drums, the manager found that the regular hand pumps used to transfer the liquid into dispensing sprayers were not only difficult and messy for the employees, but much of the chemical was wasted in the transfer process due to spillage from a lack of control over the amount of fluid being dispensed. In addition, the chemicals in the weed killer corroded the existing transfer pumps which then had to be discarded into the landfill and replaced with new ones several times a year. With state budgets being tight, finding money for these ongoing purchases became a problem.

Early in 2006, with frustration growing about the chemical mess, the danger to employees and the environmentally unsustainable practices, the plant manager knew he had to find a better solution. His research led him to a new type of pressurized hand pump. The new pump features a remote discharge tap with finger tipped controlled shut-off valve and 5 feet of flexible tubing. This system would allow the dispensing of the chemical directly to the sprayer without splashing.

That was two years ago and the staff is not only still using that original pressurized pump for the weed killer, management replaced pumps in six other chemical applications around the facility with their newfound pump. Pleased with the results, the facility now also uses them with caustic soda which is used for cleaning bio-growth from diffuser blades and for both d-limonene and petroleum-based degreasers.

“When you find something that works that well and saves you money, you immediately want to use it anywhere you can. The great thing is that the pumps allow staff to transfer fluids efficiently from upright 55-gallon drums. No more dangerous tipping and tapping,” says the plant manager.

These pressure-action pumps help facilities address their escalating concerns about environmental health and safety by eliminating dangerous chemical spills, on-site pollution and dangerous VOCs . Their pressurized efficiency enables companies to empty drums of chemicals to the RCRA (Resource Conservation and Recovery Act) empty standards, eliminating costly waste disposal. When properly maintained, the pumps can last for up to ten years helping to reduce the amount of landfill waste and expenditures of repeated purchasing of hand pumps.

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