Vaughan Chopper Pumps ‘Rock’ for Gibraltar


Overcoming the unique challenges of Gibraltar’s waste water system which led to an effective solution to the pumping problems occurring is the latest example of success for Vaughan Chopper Pumps. Solids pumping specialists P&M PUMPS the UK distributor for Vaughan Chopper Pumps and Aquagib, the company appointed by the Government of Gibraltar, worked in conjunction on the project to provide a long term solution.

Vaughan Chopper Pumps ‘Rock’ for Gibraltar

P&M Pumps

For several years there was a need for significant maintenance and repair resulting from pumps not coping with heavy rag and solids entering the waste water system.

The problems Aquagib were experiencing were mainly due to the necessity to avoid using submersible pumps because of salt water corrosion. This was due to the fact that pumping stations on Gibraltar utilise sea water available to them for all their waste water flushing systems for both domestic flushing and in the pumping stations.

Initially the answer to the problem was for the pumping stations to utilise a priming system involving a concept developed originally for filling steam engine water tenders with clean water. When used with an open-channel impeller centrifugal pump these systems operated to specification. However, as a result of significant changes in the nature of the solids (being less degradeable) the pumps became increasingly less reliable and prone to blockages within the priming system, causing the pumps and components to fail prematurely. Combined with difficulties in obtaining critical spare parts for the pumps that are now obsolete, the cost of maintaining the pumping stations in Gibraltar was unacceptable. Aquagib’s search for a solution was answered with the help of a Vaughan SP6K chopper pump, which was supplied initially on a trial basis at the Waterport Pumping station. Situated adjacent to the prestigious Ocean Village complex and one of Gibraltar’s high profile pumping stations, the Waterport Pumping facility is on an area of reclaimed land which includes several high value apartment developments overlooking a marina, restaurants, bars and other leisure facilities.

It is also on the important pedestrian route from the busy cruise liner terminal into Gibraltar town. Consequently, the frequent pump breakdowns resulted, in addition to high maintenance costs, the unwelcome problems to a large local population, of noise, odour and potential health risks, in an area that was particularly sensitive.

Following the successful trial of the pump, a standard Vaughan self-priming chopper pump was installed at the Waterport pumping station in October 2007 and has run consistently well with only routine maintenance required. As a result of this consistently reliable operation Aquagib have installed a second pump at the Waterport site. Furthermore, another seven Vaughan Chopper Pumps have since been installed in other pumping stations in Gibraltar, with plans to replace others in the future as well as them being specified for the new pumping stations being planned.

Commenting on the success of the pumps, Derek Cano, Operations Director of Aquagib confirmed, “Vaughan pumps have solved an ongoing difficulty we have had for many years in dealing with pump blockages, they work effectively in unscreened sewage with a high sea water content”. He added, “P&M Pumps has provided excellent support which has enabled us to install and operate the pumps effectively”.

Through their experiences at numerous installations, P&M Pumps have been able to demonstrate that Vaughan Chopper Pumps can bring significant cost-savings. In most cases, retrofitting a Vaughan Chopper Pump into a problematic area improves the whole process and will be self-financing, with payback periods of less than one year, thereafter minimising the effect to the budget holders.

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