Home Podcasts THMG187 – Pumps

THMG187 – Pumps


In this episode, Bob and Mike explore three popular types of pumps and how they’re used in emergency situations.

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Complete Show Notes

6:00 Why Do We Use Pumps?

  • Essentially, we use pumps to move product from one area to another
  • On Bob and Mike’s rig, they have pneumatic, manual, rotary, and siphon pumps

7:05 Manual Pumps

  • Essentially, these are just manually-driven double diaphragm pumps
  • Works similarly to how our hearts work – two chambers, valves, septum in the middle, etc.
  • When you move the handle in one direction, you have pressure on one side and a vacuum on the other
  • Liquid comes in, fills the vacuum, and then is forced out through the output hose via pressure when the rubber flap closes
  • Moves a gallon and a half of product per stroke, so it’s a very effective piece of equipment
  • The more rocky/dirty the substance, the less likely the flaps are to engage and hold a good pressure
  • This is one of the stronger pumps available in terms of moving product, as long as you’re not introducing air into the system
  • Liquid stays in place when you’re using manual pumps because of the valves
  • You want your lead hose as close to the pump as possible
  • Trying to suck up a shallow puddle on the road introduces too much air into the drum, leading to inefficiency
  • Keep in mind that the drum can explode if the hose clogs
  • Harder to push thicker liquids through manual pumps – “separates the men from the boys”
  • In general, manual pumps are some of your safest options

20:45 Pneumatic (Air-Actuated) Pumps

  • The pneumatic double diaphragm pump Bob and Mike use moves 180 gallons of fluid per minute
  • Important to monitor the drum – these pumps move very quickly
  • Instead of having a flapper valve, these pumps use a ball that moves up and down via gravity and pressure
  • Pneumatic pumps are better at sucking up dirty product than manual ones – once granules make it past the ball, they can pass through the rest of the pump
  • Using this pump isn’t always the most convenient option since you have to transport air cylinders with you
  • Possible to make “air extension cords” that are miles long using the rig, though
  • Bob and Mike use a stainless steel pump for oxidizers, corrosives, and reactives
  • Drums, diaphragms, and hoses come in a variety of materials – make sure your pump’s components are compatible with the substance you’re pumping

31:30 Venturi Pumps

  • Primarily used in the hazmat industry, although plenty of hazmat techs aren’t big fans
  • This device puts high-pressure air across the top of the drum (rather than in it) – creates negative pressure
  • Commonly used in ponds and fish tanks with garden hoses
  • Creates a huge vacuum that allows you to suck up anything that fits into the tube
  • If the vacuum fails, the liquid falls straight down to the bottom of the tube – this can be catastrophic

35:40 Other Pumps

    • Some pumps allow you to pressurize the drum
    • Drop a stinger into the drum and hook the vacuum up to that stinger – this essentially makes the drum an intermediary

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