Solutions for Wastewater Treatment Problems in Wake of COVID-19

Blog | September 02, 2020 Covid-19-Wastewater-Treatment-Plant-Solutions

In response to the Coronavirus pandemic, stay-at-home orders have changed the flow of wastewater in cities and municipalities everywhere. When everyone stays home, it changes the peak flow areas and times, putting a strain on these systems. In addition, shortages of toilet paper have caused homeowners to use other items that aren’t designed for sewer systems.

If you find you are facing clogs, overworked equipment, or increasing flows, Rain for Rent has the solutions you need to help mitigate issues caused by the COVID-19 virus.

Wastewater Treatment Problems Caused by COVID

There are several potential WWT problems that can be exacerbated by changes caused by the pandemic:

Increased solids – The shortage of toilet paper and increased population at home have caused more paper towels, “flushable” wipes, baby wipes, disinfecting cloths, and other items to be sent into sewer systems. Many of these products are not designed to break down in water like toilet paper. In fact, baby wipes have been known to cause large obstructions, such as the one at Plum Island WWTP in Charleston that took three days to clear out! An increase in these solids can cause problems at pumping stations or treatment plants.

Increased equipment operating loads and cycle times – People are at home more during the day, increasing the flow in neighborhoods. This change in the flow patterns of sewer collection systems means that peak times and flows now vary. This change in design pattern leads to increased operating loads and cycle times for the permanent equipment. The equipment now has to work harder and longer than it was designed to. This can cause increased maintenance problems and potential equipment failure.


Clogged pumps – Due to increased flows, pumps are operating more frequently for shorter time periods to meet the new flow levels. Or, if they are operating with a VFD, they’re working at slower speeds for longer periods of time to handle the continuous flow. Either way, there is a loss of efficiency and the pumps are straining to keep up with the flow. When pumps aren’t operating at their peak design efficiency, it can cause even non-clogging pumps to clog.

More solids lead to equipment failure – More paper and other solids causes pump equipment to be under increased mechanical strain. Seals and fittings may crack or break. This can cause potential maintenance issues or even premature equipment failure.

Increased load on plant infrastructure – Even if your collection system is able to handle the higher loads caused by the pandemic, the rest of the plant may not be able to. Equipment in the screening facility, settling tanks, and/or primary clarifiers can be under additional strain due to increases in flow and solids, causing potential maintenance problems.

Rain for Rent Offers Solutions for WWT Problems

We offer a variety of equipment that can help your plant deal with the increased loads and maintenance issues without having to buy new equipment.

Backup pumping system – You can reduce the possibility of a sanitary sewer overflow (SSO) due to clogs in the equipment by adding a backup system at the pump station or influent chamber. This will reduce the load on the pumps, allowing them to operate more efficiently.

Diesel pump and Frac Tank storage – Add storage capacity in an emergency by using a diesel pump and Frac Tank storage tank. This will allow you to empty the wet well and service the equipment without having to set up a complete system bypass, saving you time and money.

Remote monitoring – We can quickly add monitoring at locations in the plant that don’t already have SCADA coverage. This reduces the inspection load and the exposure level for your personnel, while providing protection against SSOs.

Filter boxes – Let us provide a temporary screening system for your overloaded system, allowing water to be decanted and controlling run-off. Our filter boxes also provide a container to haul material off-site for disposal and can help decrease the load on plant drying beds.

Strategic consulting – Let our team help you design your emergency response contingency plan now, before it’s too late. We offer virtual meetings and job walks with our engineering team and bypass experts.

Let Rain for Rent Solve Your Wastewater Treatment Problems

With a change in flow patterns comes the possibility of equipment damage, clogs, and overflows. We can provide virtual consultations to help you address problems before they occur, as well as help in emergency situations. Contact Rain for Rent to get a quote or learn more about how we can help.

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