Chiquita Lift Station Cavitation Problem Solution
Santa Margarita Water District
Santa Margarita, California
The Chiquita Lift Station had experienced severe cavitation problems in the operation of its 5,000 gpm pumps. Flow Science analyzed the pump station operations and determined that the pump well inlet structure was developing a large horizontal axis vortex in the wet well. The suction of this vortex into the pump inlet lead to a very large increase in the angular velocity of flow through the conservation of angular momentum. The high angular velocity not only lead to high head losses in the pump intake, but also a very high angle of attack on the pump impellor blades because of the counter rotation of the inlet vortex and the pump impellor. The net result was extremely high cavitation levels within the pump and significant levels of pump vibration. Flow Science was able to provide specific recommendations that have resolved the problem.