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Rotamec pumping system replacement helps Bristol shopping centre reopen on time

19 May 2021

With the retail sector navigating an unprecedented combination of restrictions and closures, shopping centres can’t afford to have key systems out of action when reopening.

When a wastewater pumping system at a shopping centre in Bristol was suffering numerous breakdowns before a vital reopening, Rotamec was ready to source and install an entirely new system ready for the big day.

Lockdown in England stipulated the closure of many non-essential stores. This placed increased pressure on the sector to make up for lost sales when it becomes safe to reopen. Especially in the lead up to the critical Christmas period, facility managers had to ensure key on-site systems were running reliably, ready for the return of shoppers.

A wastewater pumping system at a large shopping centre in Bristol was causing a headache for facility managers, as it was suffering multiple breakdowns. Designed to pump wastewater from a 1000L basement tank over a 10m head and along to the main drains, two pumps kick in once a certain level is reached, emptying the tank. However, the 20-year-old system was showing its age. The tank itself was leaking, causing the seepage of wastewater into the basement area. This required a clean up, as it was jeopardising the reopening of shops post-lockdown.

Paul Pearce, Sales Director at Rotamec, quickly found himself involved in a project to replace the system: “We are a 24/7 electromechanical service provider for rotating equipment, so we have great experience repairing and replacing pumping systems of all types and configurations.

“A contractor approached us, regarding overhauling the wastewater pumping system at the shopping centre, with facility managers indicating that they would prefer the work to be completed ready for reopening after lockdown. We quickly arrived on site to assess the system.”

After a thorough inspection, it was clear that the whole system required replacement with a more efficient and reliable solution. The ageing tank, pumps, valves, electrics, and control system would all require replacing.

“We offer a turnkey service,” Pearce explains. “We can source and repair equipment on short lead times, and this project entailed sourcing a new pre-cast 1000L polyethene tank, two new pumps with motors, new non-return and gate valves as well as pipework, electrics and controls.”

Rotamec also relied on its in-house fabrications department to expedite the project. A 160mm high steel frame was designed and constructed to raise the new tank off the floor, which allowed for easier integration of the new system into the existing pipework. This simplified the layout of the pipework too.

Each new pump features an open impeller, optimal for pumping wastewater, driven by a 5.5kW motor that provides greatly improved efficiency compared to the previous units, unlocking energy cost savings. The new tank eliminated any leaks or seepage, ensuring that the basement no longer required cleaning. New electricals and controls installed by highly qualified Rotamec electricians ensured improved future reliability and ease of use for operators. The project was completed within three weeks.

Most importantly, the system was tested and ready before the end of lockdown, ensuring that shops could reopen once restrictions were lifted to make the most of the busy festive period.

Paul Pearce concludes: “We have a proven track record working with facility managers at shopping centres, providing a fast response to breakdowns or carrying out scheduled maintenance. In this case, both the contractor and facility managers at the shopping centre were very pleased with the new pumping system. 

“Our ability to provide a turnkey electromechanical service was a real advantage for this project. It meant we could manage the work from start to finish, accelerating the project so that when the time came, the shopping centre was ready to welcome customers.”


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