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Technology, Air Blowers

Blower Best Practices to Ensure Long and Reliable Aeration Blower Performance

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The following is an excerpt from my recent article on blower best practices to ensure long and reliable aeration blower performance. The full version can be read online or in the July issue of Treatment Plant Operator.

Blowers are integral to the wastewater treatment process, providing oxygen to help break down biological waste.

Smooth blower operation is essential to avoiding overaeration or loss of air supply. Blower manufacturers and treatment plant personnel can take steps to ensure that the equipment operates as intended. These include proper installation, machine control and maintenance.

Installation altitude

Blower installation is typically straightforward, but because blower designs vary, some issues can be missed. The most important is the machine’s temperature limitation. Although the manufacturer is responsible for clearly stating the equipment’s rating, that alone does not guarantee proper function.

Some machine ratings are set at sea level or only up to 3,000 feet elevation. When a blower is installed at higher elevation, it is critical to ask the manufacturer how this will affect the rating. Always consider that motors have less cooling air density at altitude.

Heat rejection

Another key item is knowing the heat rejection for equipment installed indoors. When equipment is run beyond its temperature limits, it may shut down and become inoperable, leading to huge aeration problems. In extreme cases, this may cause equipment failure and waste time and money.

It may seem that equipment rated for 110°F is acceptable in an area with 100°F maximum ambient temperature — but the blower room will always be hotter than it is outside. For example, a metal roof with no insulation generates significant extra heat. 

To properly plan for ventilation, a complete analysis should be done to account for the outside temperature in addition to all heat sources in the blower room. With information on all potential heat sources, treatment plants can better analyze whether the equipment’s temperature limit will be exceeded at extreme conditions. If so, increased ventilation or ducting of cooling air and heat losses may be needed.

It isn’t always economical to plan for record temperatures, as these are rare, but it is good to know if the manufacturer has a way to run reduced loading to allow the equipment to operate. Running a blower at reduced load is better than not running it at all.

For colder climates, plants should closely monitor the minimum temperature and follow any requirements to keep lubrication and other items in line. Often, a blower room can be kept at an acceptable temperature just by using heat rejection from the equipment. Still, it remains necessary to check whether additional heating or ducting of process air is needed.

Keep Reading…

You can read the full article on blower best practices online or in the July issue of Treatment Plant Operator. For questions on installation, machine control and maintenance, please reach out to an Atlas Copco expert.