In the North East, a period of low temperatures and snow followed by a swift, significant increase in temperatures led to a rapid thaw. Both the freezing temperatures and the subsequent melting ice and snow presented challenges for Northumbrian Water.
On the afternoon of the 22nd December, with Christmas fast approaching, the water company suffered a failure at a key water transfer station in County Durham, jeopardising the security of supply to customers over the Christmas period.
Northumbrian Water had detected issues on a 150kW KSB submersible multistage pump in operation at Dyke Nook. Failure of the pump unit could risk water supply to customers. It was therefore vital Northumbrian Water had a working spare to see them through the festive period.
The spare pump and motor unit was sent to Houghton International to check and make ready to be put into service if the primary unit failed. Aware of the criticality of the unit, a team from Houghton International was quickly assembled to get the unit back to Northumbrian Water in time for Christmas.
The pump and motor came inside a metal canister. The first step was to disassemble and strip down the old unit. Houghton International’s craneage and working height made it possible to remove the pump from the canister vertically, the preferred process for disassembly.
Two power cables ran from the motor, through an adapter plate on the canister to the external power source. However the cables fitted to the motor were not suited to adapter plate. A replacement adapter plate could not be sourced within the required time frame, so instead the team split the cables inside the canister and made new connections to cables that were compatible with the adapter plate.
The unit was then reassembled, filled with water and submerged at the cable joint for testing. It was then left to stand in water for 12 hours before being retested to ensure no water ingress had occurred. After passing this test it was drained then made ready for collection. Following final tests and checks, it was collected by Northumbrian Water and transported back to site.
Why Houghton International
The result/benefit to customer:
The pump was successfully changed, tested and ready for Northumbrian Water within 24 hours, with Houghton International staff working overnight to help Northumbrian Water ensure a consistent supply of water to the region’s homes and businesses.
After Christmas, the other, faulty pump was sent to Houghton International for repairs, leaving Northumbrian Water with two fully operational pumps, safeguarding the area’s supply for the future.
HI’s response with this repair was superb and the workshop team are to be commended for the rapid turnaround, which helped mitigate a significant risk to supplying water to our customers. Freeze/thaw weather conditions present an incredible challenge to the water industry and, at a time of year when I am sure the team would be rather spending time with their families, they stepped up to help keep the water flowing!Richard Holmes – Regional Maintenance Manager (NWL)
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