Several major infrastructure projects are currently being carried out in Belgium to automate the operation of pumping stations installed along rivers and canals. These stations are responsible for the regulation of the water level in key areas and also required major upgrades to their control systems. Egemin’s Infra Automation division was called in to bring its expertise to ensure the correct solutions are put in place.

In 1973 a dam was built between the River Durme and the Moervaart canal to protect the city of Lokeren from flooding by the Durme in bad weather. However, this resulted in an unnatural discharge from the Moervaart to the Ghent-Terneuzen Canal, resulting in frequent flooding and silting of the tidal River Durme because of the lack of an upper flow rate.

The construction of a pumping station will restore the upper flow to the River Durme and in extreme circumstances the excess water in the Moervaart canal can be pumped into the river.

Mechanical screws

"The new PLC control collects information that automatically controls the pump motor. The mechanical screws pump the water up over the dam. Egemin will also provide an additional link so the pumping station can be remotely and automatically operated,” explained Tom Haesebrouck, project manager at Egemin Automation.

Egemin has been subcontracted by Belgian construction company Herbosch-Kiere, which is responsible for the building the pumping station. In turn, Vandezande has been subcontracted by Egemin to supply both screw pumps with the project, worth 700,000 euros to Egemin, due to be completed in June 2015.

The company has also been brought in to retrofit the obsolete pump installation at the lock complex in Zemst along the Brussels-Scheldt Canal in a 200,000 euro contract. The lock complex ensures sufficient water remains in the upper reach of the canal after ships have passed through. The installation pumps the water backwards so the ships coming from Antwerp and Brussels do not run aground.

"The renovation of the pump complex is very urgent, “ said Mr Haesebrouck. “The electrical system is severely outdated and the necessary spare parts are no longer available. Egemin will supply new controls and will also install a monitoring system that makes it possible to operate the installation remotely from the control tower."

Discharge installation

The Maartensas discharge installation on the River Noordede in Bredene was in urgent need of renovation demonstrated by the various floods the area has suffered in recent years.
"The installation consists of seven discharge sleeves that have sliding openings on the seaside and the landside," said Mr Haesebrouck. “These discharge sleeves provide a controlled flow of water from the interior to the sea."

As well as the complete electrical renovation, Egemin is also responsible for the mechanical drive system and automation of the installation which is being carried out for the Ministry of the Flemish Community on behalf of the Flemish Environment Agency. Significantly, Egemin is working on the project together with the Vrij Technisch Instituut Brugge (science and technology secondary school in Bruges).

"The students will build the control panels and help connect the installation in the field. In this way they learn to work on a real project and gain practical experience. A nice win-win situation,” said Mr Haesebrouck.

Axial pumps

The renovation of a pumping station in Vlassenbroek is part of a major project being carried out for the Flemish government. The Vlassenbroek polder is to partially become a flood plain and the discharge capacity of the pumping station needs to be increased as a result.

Flemish waterways authority Waterwegen & Zeekanaal tasked Egemin with the replacement of the three existing pumps. Currently they each have a capacity of 1.2 m³/s. The new axial pumps will have a pumping rate of 2 m³/s.

Egemin will renew the medium-voltage cabin and general low voltage switchboard and will feed the new pumps by means of frequency drives. The trash rack cleaner will also be completely replaced. The entire installation, pumps and trash rack cleaner will be equipped with PLC software and SCADA visualization software.

The installation will also be connected to the ABBA network of the Flemish government. This
allows for it to be controlled and monitored remotely.

Buffer basin

Separate from the infrastructure projects for pumping stations is the buffer basin near Ganshoren, which is part of an action plan of water authority Vivaqua in the Brussels region. The buffer basin will be filled when sewage water levels are high to temporarily relieve the sewer network during short, heavy rainfall.

Egemin will install two pumps that can subsequently empty the basin, together with a flushing system and a smaller pump to clean and drain it completely.