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Xylem saves the day with record breaking sewer bypass

The emergency turn key bypass in Memphis
The emergency turn key bypass in Memphis

Xylem, a global water technology company, designed and built a major emergency sewer bypass for Memphis, Tennessee, in just six days, according to a news release from the company.

The record breaking feat came following disastrous rainfall in the city. In spring 2016, sixteen inches of rain fell on Memphis, with eight inches of that coming in a two day deluge. The intense rainfall eroded the soil supporting a 96 inch sanitary sewer chain that transferred wastewater to one of Memphis’ central treatment plants.

With the city’s Emergency Response Plan triggered, Xylem were quickly recruited to design and develop a turnkey bypass solution to maintain sewer services, minimise the environmental impact and ensure compliance with regulations while the main line was repaired.

Along with the sewer bypass, the project also required the construction of a 2,400 foot (732 metre) long, 40 foot (12 metre) wide road through swamp land so the site could be accessed.

A team of 200, including Xylem engineers and Memphis Pubic Works personnel, collaborated to speed up the construction, completing the entire turnkey bypass in just six days. Usually, a bypass of this magnitude would take between two and three weeks to be designed, constructed and implemented.

“At Xylem we pride ourselves on being a 24/7 company. We’re always available with a team of people who use their expertise and experience to solve complex customer challenges every day,” said Ken Albaugh, Regional Director for Xylem’s pump rental business, in a press release. “This project is a great example of how we use our in-depth experience and resources to rectify an emergency situation, while minimizing environmental impact and ensuring adherence to all regulations.”

“Xylem provided us with the expertise and efficiency we needed in this emergency situation,” said Paul Patterson, Environmental Engineering Administrator for the City of Memphis. “This allowed us to focus our efforts entirely on design and construction and getting the pipe replaced. And that was key.”

The bypass system needed to handle 160 million gallons per day of peak flow and traverse 2,400 linear feet from the suction point to the discharge location. Fourteen Godwin diesel-driven Dri-Prime CD400M pumps, two Godwin hydraulically driven CD300M pumps and nearly 30,000 linear feet of HDPE pipe were commissioned as part of the turnkey bypass, successfully pumping the huge quantities of raw sewage necessary to compensate for the damaged sanitary sewer chain.

The emergency turn key bypass in Memphis