When Crazy Things Get Caught in Big Water Pumps

There could be a very easy solution to that pump’s problem.

Pump repair specialists can tell you crazy stories about big water pump clogs and unusual items that have gotten caught in pumps, causing unexpected failures. Things like massive fatbergs in sewers often make the news but common items can be just as troublesome.

While MWI Pumps manufactures large, high-quality pumps with slower rotating elements that are less likely to fail, MWI expert Tom Hyde has seen his fair share of items that can cause problems for any pump.

Here is a short list of some of the things Hyde has personally found wreaking havoc for dewatering pumps since the early 1990s:

determine how the clog started

Big Pump Clogs Happen

List of Things Caught in MWI Pumps

  • Buckets
  • Tires
  • Alligators (both dead and alive)
  • Fishing line
  • Sane nets
  • Hard Hats
  • Rope
  • Tomato Farm Plastics
  • Rebar
  • 4X4’s Timber
  • Logs
  • Tarps
  • Trampoline
  • Trash cans Metal / Plastic
  • Grass, lots of grass
  • Power cords Extension cord
  • Silt fence
  • Turbidity barrier (yellow Floating curtain)
  • Boat bumpers – Floating
  • Coconut strands
  • Water Hyacinth
  • Water lettuce
  • Hydrilla Submerged grasses
  • Life preservers

Anything from logs to gators can get stuck in a pump

“For the most part, only if there is a pump failure or an emergency issue will MWI be called to assist in the maintenance and repair of the pump. If a large piece of debris, or an animal gets caught in the pump causing it to fail, or if it gets hit by lightning – these events go beyond the station’s limited abilities,” Hyde said. 

“Most often, there is very little preventative maintenance needed with our high-quality pumps. Hourly station employees can handle the day-to-day operations including tasks such as lubrication or daily run-time documentation.”

If a mechanical breakdown occurs, such as engine or transmission breakdown, pump stations operators will often have their own mechanic assess and maintain/repair any issues including simple tasks such as changing the lube on the engine.

MWI Pumps are equipped to handle unexpected items that can block or hinder performance

“Our pumps come with a standard grate—also known as a ‘trash rack’ that is affixed to the intake bell,” Hyde said. “This prevents large items from flowing into the pump. However, these racks can become clogged with things, such as naturally growing water hyacinth, that can slow down the water flow and prevent the water from getting to the impeller.”

These trash rack clogs can basically starve the impeller from getting water, which causes the pump to draw in air instead of water, which can cause the pump to “beat itself up” and fail.

Do I remove the trash rack or not?

Many owners might remove the trash rack to prevent blockage at the intake bell. “It’s a double-edged sword,” Hyde said. “If you don’t take it off, it can starve the pump of water. But if you leave it off, anything from logs to gators can and do end up getting sucked into the pump which can cause it to get jammed.”

What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever seen clog a pump?

Is your pump clogged? Call 772- 770-0004 for pump maintenance and repair services or go here for more information.