How an Upgraded Lube Room Can Lead to Other Improvements

Noria Corporation

UOSA's new lube room is more user-friendly
and allows lubricant inventories to be
better controlled.

The Upper Occoquan Service Authority (UOSA) is a wastewater treatment facility in northern Virginia with a capacity of 54 million gallons of water per day. Over the past few years, changes have been made to the facility’s lube room, which greatly improved its organization and usefulness.

Before the lube room was revamped, most of the plant’s oil was stored outdoors in large metal containment lockers. This created an unorganized mess, and the variable temperatures wreaked havoc on the oil. Now all oil is stored inside the new lube room, which not only is more user-friendly but also allows the supply to be controlled.

Before the lube room was revamped, oil
storage was an unorganized mess.

Currently, hundreds of oil analysis tests are conducted each year on UOSA’s gearboxes and drives. Desiccant filters are used on breathers, and the plant has begun the process of filtering its larger gearboxes to extend the life of some of its oils.

The facility has found that filter carts are a remarkable tool that can save thousands of dollars. When an oil analysis report comes back as “marginal,” plant personnel know they can clean the oil and get it back to normal using a filter cart. The only drawbacks have been the expense of the filter cartridge replacements and the overall size of the carts needed for the plant’s large drives. UOSA plans to buy a large cart for its clarifiers and dedicate it for this purpose. All 37 of the facility’s clarifiers use the same oil, with 10 to 18 gallons in each drive. Several smaller carts may be required for the plant’s small gearboxes, which have drives that hold 2 to 3 gallons or less.

A bulk storage system with individual pumps and filters was also purchased. This has been helpful as the plant continues its efforts to consolidate lubricants.

In addition, UOSA is retrofitting many of its gearboxes so that oil samples can be drawn from the same location each time. With hundreds of gearboxes and drives, this has been an expensive endeavor. The facility is also trying to determine whether its desiccant breathers are worth the costs.

While oil analysis and new oil filtration have been beneficial for the plant, cross-contamination remains an issue. However, everything UOSA has done so far has been a step in the right direction. 

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