Xylem delivers emergency bypass in record time following historic rainfall damage to major U.S. sewer main

May 26, 2017

Turnkey solution minimizes environmental impact and maintains service while ensuring regulatory compliance

Xylem a leading global water technology company dedicated to solving the world’s most challenging water issues, designed and built a major emergency sewer bypass in Memphis, Tennessee in just six days. Sixteen inches of rain fell on the city, half of which fell during a two-day deluge, during spring 2016. This unprecedented rainfall eroded the soil supporting a 96-inch sanitary sewer main that carried wastewater to one of the city’s central treatment plants.

City of Memphis officials immediately activated their Emergency Response Plan, bringing Xylem on board to design and develop a turnkey bypass solution to maintain sewer services, minimize the environmental impact and ensure regulatory compliance, while the main line was repaired. The project included the construction of a 2,400-foot-long, 40-foot-wide road through swamp land, so the site could be accessed.

A team of nearly 200 people composed of Xylem engineers, Memphis Public Works and contractor personnel worked in tandem to accelerate the project timeline, completing the entire turnkey bypass operation in record time. Typically this magnitude of bypass pumping would take between two to three weeks to be designed and constructed. However, the Xylem-led team completed the emergency task in just six days.

“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. “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.” 

Click here to view a video on the project.

“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 damaged 96-inch sanitary sewer main crossed South Cypress Creek and carried wastewater to the T.E. Maxson Wastewater Treatment Plant in Memphis. The bypass system needed to handle 160 million gallons per day (MGD) of peak flow and traverse 2,400 linear feet from the suction point to the discharge location.

Fourteen Godwin diesel-driven Dri-Prime CD400M rental 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 60 to160 million gallons per day of raw sewage daily.

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