The Portland Water Bureau’s well designed distribution system allows us to use gravity to move water from the Bull Run Watershed to the majority of our customers. Pumping is required to deliver water to areas such as the West Hills, Rocky Butte and the hilltops of Southeast Portland. Pumping water utilizes tremendous amounts of electricity in the United States. In 2007, the Water Bureau alone spent over $1.2 Million to operate our 39 pump stations.
During the spring of 2008 the Water Bureau’s Engineering Services - Asset Management Group began working with the Operations Group to evaluate pumping efficiency for the Burlingame Service Area. The Water Bureau has two pump stations that deliver water to the Burlingame Pressure Zone. Each pump at Fulton Pump Station and Carolina Sump Station was evaluated in terms of the gallons of water pumped per kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity used. Once a determination was made on which pumps operate the most efficiently, the pumping schemes were modified to favor those pumps.
The overall efficiency gain was 17%. In the first year, the bureau saved $67,000 in electricity costs. The energy savings is enough to power 90 Oregon homes annually and to eliminate 560 tons of carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere.
This pumping project is an exciting example of the type of work that the Asset Management Group is working on with many other groups within the Water Bureau. Efficiency projects like this not only save money but also lessen the Water Bureau’s Carbon Footprint and help reach our Sustainability goal of reducing overall electricity consumption 5% by 2012.