PUMPING EQUIPMENT QUESTION

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FishScreener

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First the background: I am trying figure out how to pump [email protected] septic tanks, in a wilderness area. They were constructed in the mid seventies, just before the compound they are on, was listed as a wilderness, and the last ting done when we could still use mechanized equipment, and have never been pumped. We need to get the waste into sealed 50-gallon drums, and lift those out of the wilderness on long lines under helicopters.

So, the question I have is: Is there a gasoline driven pump we can use which is light enough, and small enough to get in an airplane? If we have to, we can use a larger helicopter to haul in a skid mounted septic pumping system. but, that will cost around $10,000, and since I have several more sites to get pumped, and would like to pump the systems every five years. So, it might be more cost effective to buy a pump.

Thanks, Jigs
 

Twowaxhack

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Use a big generator and a sewage grinder and take a few 2” solids pumps if you just want the liquid and some solids

Keep in mind there is usually a thick crust that neither of these are going to pump. Might not be in this situation,


You’ll need a ton of water to wash the sludge out.

Septic trucks use big vacuum pumps.


I’d find an on-site treatment system and pump it into the woods.
 
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PerplexedPlumber

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What a challenging project! A generator was the first thing that came to mind, as Twowaxhack said. If you can carry out 50-gallon drums with a helicopter, surely a generator could be delivered by that method. If you are considering a small pump, you may be able to use a small generator, so you would need about 2 gals. fuel/day. With a reliable generator, you could have two pumps, one for backup, or if the generator provides enough service for two, you could run two at a time.

And I don't know if this is an acceptable option, but there are flexible totes used in the food industry for liquids and pastes, and those have substantial strength and come in much larger sizes. You may be able to cut down on the number of drums needed by using a flexible tote with a pallet, if the regulators would allow those and the helicopter capacity is not taxed. There are also poly tanks for farm purposes in large capacities, such as for watering cattle. (I am guessing this waste will be transferred to an industrial treatment system, or may need to be tested per septic tank first.)
 

FishScreener

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Use a big generator and a sewage grinder and take a few 2” solids pumps if you just want the liquid and some solids

Keep in mind there is usually a thick crust that neither of these are going to pump. Might not be in this situation,


You’ll need a ton of water to wash the sludge out.

Septic trucks use big vacuum pumps.


I’d find an on-site treatment system and pump it into the woods.
We can’t have any “machines” on the site. They drag the 35-gallon propane tanks from the airstrip on sledges, because we can’t have hand trucks or carts with wheels.

The site has the busiest dirt runway in the lower 48. They grade it with a horse drawn grader, and it took three years to get permission for that. Ten years ago I had to redo the Babbitt bearings, and that took permission to use a propane furnace to melt the Babbitt.
 

FishScreener

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What a challenging project! A generator was the first thing that came to mind, as Twowaxhack said. If you can carry out 50-gallon drums with a helicopter, surely a generator could be delivered by that method. If you are considering a small pump, you may be able to use a small generator, so you would need about 2 gals. fuel/day. With a reliable generator, you could have two pumps, one for backup, or if the generator provides enough service for two, you could run two at a time.

And I don't know if this is an acceptable option, but there are flexible totes used in the food industry for liquids and pastes, and those have substantial strength and come in much larger sizes. You may be able to cut down on the number of drums needed by using a flexible tote with a pallet, if the regulators would allow those and the helicopter capacity is not taxed. There are also poly tanks for farm purposes in large capacities, such as for watering cattle. (I am guessing this waste will be transferred to an industrial treatment system, or may need to be tested per septic tank first.)
We settled on the poly drums, as opposed to larger tanks or blivets, because the helicopter folks were worried about the potential for load shift with large or flexible containers. With the fifty gallon drums, they can haul four when it is cool in the morning, and easily take one off as the temperature goes up, and the air density goes down, and they can’t lift as much.

Plus we have a source for free food grade poly drums. The Highway Department gets the reflector beads for the striping truck in the drums, and they have a yard full, that they don’t know how to get rid of. They can’t auction them off, for fear someone would put food in them, and they are too far away from recycling centers to make it cost effective to haul them for recycling.
 

Twowaxhack

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We can’t have any “machines” on the site. They drag the 35-gallon propane tanks from the airstrip on sledges, because we can’t have hand trucks or carts with wheels.

The site has the busiest dirt runway in the lower 48. They grade it with a horse drawn grader, and it took three years to get permission for that. Ten years ago I had to redo the Babbitt bearings, and that took permission to use a propane furnace to melt the Babbitt.
Where is this place ? Just asking so I’ll be sure to never go there🤣
 

PerplexedPlumber

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This is not a practical solution, but you are not in a very practical situation, so I'll offer it:
There are battery-operated submersible pond pumps. These aren't usually very expensive and their flow rate isn't high, but you could run several at one time. If you could create a screen to keep solids out, maybe just 1/2" hardware cloth, that would allow you to pull the liquid off. At a point, you will need to use a shovel anyway to remove the thicker settled debris. This would take a number of batteries, but would not emit combusion materials that may be why mechanical devices are excluded. On the other hand, if you can use a gasoline-driven pump, you should be able to use a small generator.
 

PerplexedPlumber

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I've been trying to decide whether this is April Fool's by FishScreener. Checked the date. About two weeks ago, I watched a cabin-building project in Alaska, so for those of us in the "lower 48", it all sounds possible. If we've been had, congrats! Well-developed plot. If not, please post photos later.
 

JG plumbing

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Screenshot_20210401-120349_Chrome.jpg

These are quality and pretty reasonable in size. We use them a lot to pump ditches. Never tried sewage directly, but they pump a whole lot.
 

FishScreener

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Where is this place ? Just asking so I’ll be sure to never go there🤣
Indian Creek Guard Station, Middle Fork of the Salmon River, in the Frank Chruch River of No Retrun Wilderness.

When i got the job, I sent an email to the Dean of my Engineering College with a picture looking at the Sawtooth Mountains, from the Deck of a lookout, I was doing a lightning protection inspection on. Told him, that i was probably the lowest paid guy in my graduating class, but I had the best office. He replied with a shot from his office window of some girls on the plaza by the Engineering building. With the comment “maybe”.
 
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