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Ohio utility collaborates with Xylem to upgrade outdated lift station

Ohio utility collaborates with Xylem to upgrade outdated lift station

One of the two Aquavar IPC variable frequency drives that controls the Flygt submersible pumps

Design-build project provides turnkey solution in quick fashion

The village of Millersport, Ohio, located about 30 minutes from Columbus, is an idyllic community with Buckeye Lake to the east and rural farms throughout the surrounding area. A well preserved portion of the Ohio-Erie Canal cuts through the center of town enhancing the colorful picturesque community of nearly 1,100 people.

The Terrace Street Lift Station acts as the main lift station for the village of Millersport. Prior to 2018, the station operated with two surface pumps and two 30 horsepower (HP) submersible pumps in a wet well. The surface pumps handled normal daily operation. During rain events, the surface pumps cycled off and the submersible pumps took over.  


By 2017, the surface pumps had reached the end of their life cycle. Flow went through the surface pump wet well first and overflowed into the submersible pump wet well. But rags and trash settled in the bottom of the wet well and plugged the surface pumps when rain events ended. After each rain event, crews often spent hours unclogging the pumps. Along with decreased pump efficiency, the constant repairs added $3,000 per year in maintenance costs.

Additionally, the village population didn’t grow as expected and the 30HP submersible pumps were oversized, causing inflow to the facility. That resulted in increased treatment costs and added capacity to the collection system. 

The Millersport Water Department employs Josh Lutz as the sewer superintendent. The unreliability of the existing pumps at the Terrace Street Lift Station left Lutz wary, to the point that he felt the need to be on site there during rain events.

A remote monitoring screenshot of the lift station’s pump 2 running without any alarms


The village of Millersport needed to replace the existing equipment at the Terrace Street Lift Station swiftly. But like many municipalities nationwide, the Millersport Water Department works under tight budget constraints. Millersport mayor Gary Matheny and the village administrator had some previous experience with design/build (DB) projects, and wanted to look to optimize costs. DB project delivery methods allow the Owner more input into the design and equipment selection. DB also reduces the overall project schedule, which gets the Owner to the end result faster. And with that time saved, the DB process can create a lower overall price tag for the project.

Ultimately, the village of Millersport worked directly with Xylem representatives to engineer a complete DB solution with full technical support. Direct procurement saved the village of Millersport $40,000 and allowed the village to work directly with Xylem experts during the entire process.

Xylem and Stutske Construction partnered together to design a turnkey solution for an upgrade of the Terrace Street Lift Station. Stutske Construction owner Mike Stutske found flow issues on Terrace Street and in the canal. All of the sewage flows toward the Terrace Street Lift Station and when the village had heavy rains the infiltration caused backflow issues.

As part of the lift station upgrade, the existing submersible pumps were decommissioned and two 10HP Flygt N-Technology submersible pumps were installed in the existing submersible wet well. The Flygt pumps now operate as the primary pumps, and the existing surface pumps now serve as the backup pumps, providing the village of Millersport the reliable pumping they needed.

A behind-the-scenes view of the MultiSmart pump station controller

The Flygt submersible pumps are controlled by two Aquavar IPC variable frequency drives (VFDs), water level control float sensors, a MultiSmart controller and NEMA 4X panel.

From concept to delivery and commissioning, the entire project, including weather delays, took about eight months. According to Lutz, similar public utility projects he has worked on took up to four years to go through the typical bid and spec process. 


Since completion of the upgrade, the village of Millersport has enjoyed relief from the frequent repairs and loss of valuable time spent on cleanup after rain events. Lutz is also confident energy consumption at the Terrace Street Lift Station has dropped. 

Additionally, he likes the capability of the new MultiSmart controllers, including the alarm and performance history features. Over time, Lutz believes the controllers’ capabilities will enable him to reduce his onsite presence in Millersport.

A screenshot of the system running an Insulation Resistance Test (IRT) in real time

Overall, the village is happy with the outcome of the upgrade and will continue to look for opportunities for turnkey solutions with Xylem going forward.

In fact, based on the success of this upgrade, Lutz tapped Xylem for another turnkey project to further enhance the remote monitoring and controls system at the Millersport facility. During rain events, Lutz was still operating the upgraded Terrace Street Lift Station in manual mode to ensure the downstream wastewater plant didn’t flood. That, once again, resulted in Lutz having to drop whatever he was doing – regardless of the time of day – to go to Millersport to turn the pump on or off as needed.

Now, with the installation of the Flygt Cloud SCADA remote monitoring solution, Lutz has the ability to remotely monitor, and more importantly remotely control the pumps in Millersport to ensure the appropriate levels are achieved and to eliminate any wastewater spills.