Cuyahoga County pumps value to its community through greater control, standardization and technological advancements.
Cuyahoga County is the most populous county in Ohio, with nearly 1.4 million residents. Part of Greater Cleveland, the county is named after a Native American word meaning 'crooked river.' With more than 63% of its total area made up of water, the county strives to foster strong neighborhoods, support safe housing, and promote economically sound communities for the 19 villages, 2 townships and 38 cities serves.
The Sanitary Engineering Department for Cuyahoga County contracts with many of these communities to operate and maintain their wastewater systems. In the late ‘80s, this department was operating more than 30 aging sewage pump stations – all of which were from various manufacturers, requiring significant maintenance. A team of engineers and operators within this department was charged with the challenge of keeping the various sites operational. One member of this team was the department’s current chief engineer, Mr. Bill Schneider. “Buying replacement parts became a major effort,” shares Schneider. “The length of time we were spending with the pump infrastructure forced us to recognize the need to set standards and streamline.” Schneider and the rest of the Cuyahoga County wastewater engineering and operations team set out to design a county-wide, standardized plan for pump stations, which, over the years, has been perfected to improve ease of operation and maintenance.
The Need for Safety. The Need for Speed.
The decision to develop a strategic plan to migrate from multiple pumps to a single source manufacturer was further driven by the need to improve safety. “Maintenance personnel were previously forced to go underground to service waste pumps,” adds Schneider. “One of our priorities was to eliminate the confined space entry over time so that our people stayed safe when doing their jobs.” Further, the county found that repairing aging pump stations would continue to add unnecessary expense to cities, as well as the public.
After a careful review of all available pump options, Gorman-Rupp pump stations were selected. Previous experience with the technology, the brand’s reputation for quality and durability, as well as quick service were key factors in the decision. The Craun-Liebing Company, an authorized Gorman-Rupp distributor for wastewater equipment and technology was brought in to consult in the planning process.
“With multiple pump stations and everything that diversity brings with it, Cuyahoga County had a real challenge locating replacement parts in a quick, efficient and cost effective manner,” shares Randy Keefe, President of Craun-Liebing. The county quickly recognized that some of the Original Equipment Manufacturers were completely out of business, while others were dealing with obsolete pumps, forcing the county’s operations group to resort to make-shift parts. In some of the worse case scenarios, the original pump manufacturer may have only had the part pattern available, but a foundry would then have to generate a casting, which then had to be machined before it was sent to the county. “It wasn’t uncommon for Cuyahoga to experience lead times of 12 plus weeks for parts,” adds Keefe.