Dirty Water

Dirty Water

Water treatment industry growing as national housing starts have increased over the past decade.

Business remains flush for Mansfield, Ohio-based Gorman-Rupp Co., a firm that has been building pumps for the "dirty water" side of the water business since 1933. Since the late 1950s, it's been building lift stations that pump sewage over hills before gravity carries it to a treatment plant. (Prior to that all sewage systems were gravity-fed, from the house on a hill down to the treatment plant.)

Sewage lift stations account for about 25% to 30% of Gorman-Rupp's total business, but "in many ways the lion's share of all of our business is connected to either the water or wastewater market for municipal or industrial concerns," says Tom Seymour, vice president of marketing at Gorman-Rupp. "We're a niche player, as many of the people in the wastewater are," he explains. "Our niche is really the dirty water side, where we're keeping the sewage out of the basement of people's homes."

See Also

Waste Not, Want Not

An explosion of housing starts during the past 10 years has put higher demands on treatment facilities, and aging sewage systems in such places as Boston, New York and Washington, D.C., need replacement. "Many of those cities still have wooden pipes. And as those facilities require replacement, they also require new equipment and all the infrastructure that supports that equipment," notes Seymour. Improved equipment has replaced mechanics as municipal operating budgets have been cut, and, at the same time, products of 10 or even five years ago are no longer cost effective.

"Those areas where they are building communities or requiring sewage treatment facilities to be built have different equipment needs," he notes. "We have introduced -- as many others have introduced -- products that specifically meet the needs of those areas." For example, Gorman-Rupp in 2005 introduced the Ultra-V, "which in terms of pump language is able to pump with more pressure," explains Seymour. "Technology is something that is really playing a major part in the sewage industry."

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