Sludge Processing: The Willett Pump

Wastewater treatment plants are always looking for new ways to utilise sludge. What was once considered a waste product is now seen as a valuable resource, especially with biogas production on the increase. However, the nature of the sludge often poses challenges when it comes to delivering it to the treatment system. Our Willett™ Pump offers a solution: reliably handling a wide range of organic, industrial and municipal sludge to support the treatment process.

Advanced sludge treatment can provide a range of benefits including:
- Sludge volume is reduced
- Water is recovered for reuse
- Health risks associated with sludge are reduced or eradicated
- Agriculture fertiliser can be created
- Sludge disposal costs are reduced

Supplied by Veolia Water Technologies (VWT UK), the Willett™ Pump is a cost-effective solution to the problem of pumping difficult and abrasive sludge and slurries. Its design allows full flow to be maintained over a range of operating pressures. The Willett™ pump is a vertical, single acting displacement ram pump that is either mechanically or hydraulically driven.

The pump was first used in the ceramics industry over 130 years ago for moving abrasive clay slurries, a notoriously difficult material. VWT UK eventually developed a reputation for supplying high quality equipment to the ceramics industry. The success of the product eventually led it to be used as standard equipment throughout the wastewater industry including long distance transfer pumping, auto de-sludging of storage tanks and filter press feed.

The latest version of the Willett™ Pump features a cooling system for specific applications, a directional control via a specially developed CETOP standard solenoid actuated valve, and high efficiency motors for maximum versatility and energy efficiency.

Mechanical Willett™ Pumps can function individually or complement an already established range of hydraulic ram pumps. This pump is specifically used to transfer liquids and sludge where the installed space is limited. Furthermore, a hydraulic power pack is not required in the mechanical set up. The small footprint, low cost pump does not require hydraulic oil and it requires minimal maintenance.

A key advantage of hydraulic ram pumps is that they do not need an external power source. The energy required for the pump operation is derived from the potential energy of the incoming flow of water due to gravity. Hydraulic ram pumps use the momentum of moving water and the water hammer effect to create the pressure, which in turn is used to pump a much smaller amount of water.

The simplicity of hydraulic ram pumps, which have very few moving parts, making them economical to run and easy to maintain – the ideal resilient low TOTEX solution.

Our Willett™ Pump is equipped for variable flow that changes with the pumped fluid – this can be controlled via the PLC keypad. For controlling the system, it is essential that it is monitored, which is why it comes with a PLC keypad for checking pressure differences that can change frequently due to sludge density and viscosity. The PLC monitors the pressure and the time it takes for the ram to travel up or down, if there is a pressure increase, a blocked suction or delivery pipe then an alarm is triggered to identify the fault.

If a blockage occurs in the delivery pipework, the Willett™ Pump will automatically stall. This action is then detected by the PLC and a volt free contact is opened, which can be used to raise an alarm or shut down the system. The Willett Pump can also be connected to Veolia’s AQUAVISTA remote monitoring platform, so you have visibility of your pumps performance 24/7 from any location.

For customers who already have a hydraulic or mechanical pump in place, and are considering an upgrade, the Willett™ Pump is also available as retrofit packages, which allows for the Willett system to be fitted to existing pumps. The retrofit package and service offers flexibility for those working with previous systems. While there are many pumps made by other manufacturers still in use that have a mechanical changeover to alter the direction of ram, the spares for this are no longer obtainable, leaving customers working with an out of date product. We offer the simple solution for customers to covert to the electronic changeover, which will enable the pump to function as normal for several more years.

Part of the retrofit service includes a new generation of coatings for metal rams, a new electronic control system for plant automation, and the latest version of the dosing cylinder.
We can carry out installations with minimal downtime on site, giving customers a pump that has easier maintenance, improved control and greater efficiency, leading to reduced costs.

Click below to find out more about Willett™ Pump.


William Jeal

About the Author

William Jeal

William has a background of working with a wide range of industrial, public sector and municipal customers. William's career in the water sector started with a start up services business focused on working with commercial, industrial and public sector organisations to manage their water and wastewater usage, costs and environmental compliance. Having grown and developed this business for 5 years William then joined Veolia Water Technologies in 2015 to focus on growing its wastewater technologies activities in the Municipal market. In 2019 William took responsibility for leading Veolia's Municipal Services Business as well as its Digital Services Business across all sectors in the UK. With a strong focus on commercial and service innovation William has been responsible for a number of development projects including involvement in the development of Veolia’s global AQUAVISTA platform of real time control and optimization services.