Flooding Problems Resolved at Florida Aggregates Operation
By Mike Bjorkman, Director of Marketing & IT at BJM Pumps
The state of Florida has witnessed unprecedented population growth over the past 10 years growing by more than 18 percent to 19 million full-time residents. As warm weather and favorable tax rates continue to draw baby boomers to the Sunshine State, its population is expected to exceed 20 million.
As the number of Floridians continues to grow, it puts an increasing demand on the state’s infrastructure, including a network of more than 40,000 lane miles of highways that require significant attention.
A recent report showed more than 20 percent of Florida’s state-owned major roads had fallen out of good condition, meaning they will be increasingly expensive to repair and maintain.
Florida will need to spend a minimum of $950 million annually for the next 20 years to get the current backlog of poor-condition major roads into a state of good repair and maintain all state-owned roads in good condition. This renewal depends on a reliable, sustainable supply of quality aggregate to build and maintain long-lasting, durable, and safe pavements.
Highway agencies plan and design projects to optimize the use of locally available aggregates, which reduces transportation costs and energy expended in moving materials. It also reduces truck traffic and loadings on the existing highway system.
In Port Mayaca, Florida, on the east shore of Lake Okeechobee in south Florida, Lake Point Restoration’s aggregates operation is fully capable of supplying much of the DOT’s needs.
Lake Point Restoration owns an estimated 60 million tons of aggregate reserves in Port Mayaca where it produces three primary types of materials:
Road Rock – Primarily used in road construction, this is Lake Point’s highest volume product. It is certified to the standards of the Florida Department of Transportation. Typically, Lake Point maintains an inventory of 40,000 to 75,000 tons.
Coarse Aggregate Stone – The aggregate stones, in a range of sizes, are used in cement, asphalt, drainage, and embankments.
Rip Rap – This material is used to create breakwaters on lakes, rivers, and ocean front harborages – in various sizes, usually between 6 inches and 36 inches. It is also used to protect shorelines against water erosion.
The Lake Point mining operation currently produces 1 million tons of material per year in its water intensive operations. The property is permitted to mine up to 20 feet below the controlled water table. The proven reserve estimated to contain more than 60 million tons of aggregate reserves.
Operating at a location where the water table is only 3 to 6 feet below the surface, Lake Point was experiencing problems keeping rain and wash-down water from overflowing at one of the quarry’s crushing and sizing locations. If this water isn’t quickly evacuated, it could lead to flooding of low-lying quarry areas, delaying operations.
Pumps must dependably remove this solids laden water to prevent lost production time. Operators turned to Holland Pump, a dewatering pump manufacturer in West Palm Beach, Florida, for a solution.
Though Holland Pump manufactures a wide range of dewatering pumps used in such applications as construction and mining operations, Branch Manager Brian Kieley chose BJM Pumps’ LWA1500 2-horsepower, single-phase hard metal submersible dewatering pump to meet Lake Point’s needs. Capable of pumping up to 188 gallons per minute and up to 72 feet of head, the LWA1500 pumps the solids-laden water from the crushing site to a holding pond several hundred feet away.
“We chose the LWA1500 because of its successful history in other applications,” Kieley says. “At Lake Point, it is only used a few hours each day, especially during the summer, when it rains nearly every afternoon in this area. However, the water it pumps at the site is extremely abrasive, laden with fine limestone particulate.”
The LWA Series, manufactured by BJM Pumps of Old Saybrook, Connecticut, is a hard metal submersible slurry pump designed to outlast rubber lined units in sand and abrasive slurry service. It is fitted with a high-chrome iron impeller and wear plate for maximum abrasion resistance. The integral hardened agitator mixes settled solids to prevent blockage and keep the operation humming.
Other life-cycle enhancing features include abrasion-resistant, double-mechanical seal and robust motor enclosures. All of the solids-pumping capability is built into a lightweight design for easy portability.
“We’d had experience with the LWA1500 because, in addition to sales, we have a rental fleet. And we’d found that some other manufacturers’ pumps, used in similar applications where the water was less abrasive, wore out much quicker than the BJM pump. So the LWA1500 was a natural choice for Lake Point,” Kieley says. “It’s a tough pump.”
For more details about BJM Pumps, visit bjmpumps.com.