November 25, 2014

Irrigation Pump Removal

If there is one piece of equipment that is solely responsible for the well being of the golf course, it is the irrigation pumps.  Housed in the grey steel sided building along 7 fairway, I would be curious how many golfers have ever ventured inside and seen the pumps.  Tucked away out of view and sitting quietly most of the time during the day, they are nonetheless the heart and soul of the golf course.

Inside the building is a 20' deep concrete wet well that takes in water from the irrigation pond.  On top of the vault sits a huge concrete lid that holds the two vertical tubine pumps.  They extend downward into the wet well and suck up water when engaged, forcing it through a 6" mainline out to the sprinklers on the golf course.  Powering the two pumps are a 40HP and 20HP electric motor.  During a hot and dry period in the summer, it is not uncommon for both of the pumps to run constantly from 9pm to 7am in order to properly water the golf course.  All told we can water upwards of 250,000 gallons in a heavy night, and over the course of a season we will use anywhere from 13-20 million gallons of water.

However, it became evident this fall that one of the pumps was starting to experience some mechanical failure.  Not only was the 40HP pump starting to make some loud noises during operation, but we started losing pressure during high flow rates of over 600 GPM, meaning that the pumps were unable to supply the water that our irrigation system was demanding.  Because of this, and the fact that the system was installed in 1995 and has received very little maintenance, we made the decision to remove the entire system this fall in order to have it inspected.  If there is one piece of equipment that we simply cannot have fail during the summer, this is it.

The entire pumpstation: pumps, motors, valves, and piping before disassembly

It took Collin and me an entire day to take everything apart.

Due to the length and weight of the pumps, we had to remove a few
roof panels and have a crane remove them.

These two pieces of steel tubing and impellers are the difference between
a green and vibrant golf course, and a dead one.

Both the pumps and the electric motors that turn them are being taken to a company in Fargo that specializes in rebuilding large water pumps.  The big question is going to be how badly worn are the pumps, and does it make financial sense to rebuild them.  It a lot of instances, rebuild can cost upwards of 60-80% of the cost of replacing with brand new pumps that are more efficient and come with warranty.  We are hoping to have an answer in the next few weeks.

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