Category: Booster Pump Systems

Exterior of One North LaSalle in Chicago

The One North LaSalle Building is a building in the LaSalle Street corridor in the Loop community area of Chicago. It was for some time one of Chicago’s tallest buildings.

Previously the domestic water in the building was supplied via a duplex pump system and tank in the sub-basement which pumped water up to the 25th floor.  On the 25th floor another duplex pump system would then pump water up to the 48th floor and would store domestic water in two large atmospheric storage tanks.  These tanks would then gravity feed the building. 

We were contacted to engineer a new pump system for the entire building, the previous pumps were aging and before they were to require extensive maintenance or a catastrophic failure the chief engineer of the building wanted to install a new pumps system.  In addition to new pumps the chief engineer was looking to have a high efficiency pump system incorporating variable speed drives as well as an intelligent PLC based controller to communicate with the building automation system. 

We worked with the building chief engineer and the installing contractor to fabricate (2) new custom pump systems, each designed to be “knocked down” to ease installation due to age of the building and the narrow hallways and doorways to get to the mechanical rooms on both the sub-basement and the 25th floor.

Each system incorporated a remote pressure transmitter allowing for precise pressure control.  Although unique but not uncommon, the building is laid out so the lower level booster system pumps directly into the upper level booster system.  The remote transmitter ensures that we maintain consistent and precise pressure both at the top of the building and at the mid-level of the building where the two systems meet.

Low zone system in the sub-basement of 1 N LaSalle.

Low Zone System included:

(1) MetroTech-III Pressure Controller w/ BACnet connectivity and Remote Pressure Transmitter

(2) 40 HP Variable Frequency Drives

(2) 40 HP Vertical Multi-Stage Feed Pumps

(4) 119 Gallon ASME rated Hydro-pneumatic Bladder Tanks



High zone system on the 25th floor of 1 N LaSalle.

High Zone System included:

(1) MetroTech-III Pressure Controller w/ BACnet connectivity and Remote Pressure Transmitter

(2) 20 HP Variable Frequency Drives

(2) 20 HP Vertical Multi-Stage Feed Pumps

(4) 119 Gallon ASME rated Hydro-pneumatic Bladder Tanks


Both images: A prefabricated booster pump system for smaller municipalities in an insulated traffic box style enclosure. This enclosure is accessible from both the front and back sides as shown.

In a perfectly flat world, a community’s potable water pressure would be maintained with a water tower using little more than the force of gravity. However, we all know the world is round, and when water needs to make its way across – or, more accurately, up – more rugged landscapes, delivery becomes complicated. To help overcome this challenge and ensure adequate water delivery across difficult terrain to more rural areas, booster pumps are used; however, these pumps tend to come with their own set of challenges.

Though standard booster pumps have typically met the basic expectations associated with water delivery, they often leave a lot to be desired, especially when considering packaging and protection from the elements. Further, from the perspective of the water operators who are tasked with servicing these pumps and related components, standard booster pumps are far from perfect.

The Problem

In typical waterworks applications a booster pump package is enclosed in a fairly small fiberglass tilt-up enclosure (a clamshell case). From the standpoint of surface area, these packages are great because they maintain a small footprint, but that footprint comes at a cost the operators must pay. Fitting all necessary components into such a small space with a single access point complicates maintenance. Because access is limited, simple tasks are often made difficult and when working in the field – and in the elements – that is a problem. Then again, working in the elements can be a problem for these enclosures, too.

Despite the appeal of fiberglass, these shells often do not hold up well over time when exposed to cold temperatures, blazing sun, and whatever else nature may bring. As the material begins to become brittle, the critical components it contains are at risk. Further, by their very construction and size, these cases do not allow for additional equipment that can help the overall longevity of the product, such as internal climate controls. With these limitations, it is easy to ask one simple question: Why are these tightly-packed, fiberglass-bound systems in use?

The answer is simple: For a long time, this booster package was the only option and the industry as a whole stuck with the classic, “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it,” approach. Though that motto works for a lot of things, it did not work for us. Metropolitan recognized the inefficiencies inherent to existing booster pump systems and the need to focus on both the basic functions and overall serviceability, ease of use, and the operator experience. In other words, we knew there was a better solution and we knew that this better solution would involve more than just a functioning pump.

Back side accessibility of XTB


Performance Comes Standard

Metropolitan’s XTB Booster Pump System is designed to deliver water to hard-to-reach locations while streamlining the operator experience. With the reliability of our time-tested pumps (available as 2” with flows up to 60 gpm and 3” with flows up to 140 gpm), ensuring the flow of water was easy. To guarantee that our XTB System would be broadly compatible, we also designed our 2” version to run 7.5hp pumps on single-phase or three-phase power as the latter is not always a cost-effective option in rural areas. Finally, every XTB is built into an insulated steel enclosure that allows for better ingress protection and control of the internal environment when compared to most clamshell cases. This enables the system to maintain an ideal environment for our efficient, variable frequency drives through the inclusion of an air conditioning unit and two 1500 watt redundant heaters.

But we did not stop there. For our XTB Systems to offer real value to the market, something that recognized the needs of those accessing the water and those servicing the system, we designed the XTB with the operator in mind. By designing a more accessible enclosure layout, water operators working with the XTB can easily access whatever they need without having to work through or around other components. Back to back access doors help make this possible, but we also eased troubleshooting for the life of the product. When maintenance is required, Metropolitan’s intuitive touchscreen interface eliminates keystrokes and walks the operator through every process, much like an ATM.

With the manual built directly into this electronic interface – eliminating the need to lug around and keep track of a paper copy – all necessary information is at the operator’s fingertips when and where they need it most. Finally, every XTB Booster Pump System also comes standard with remote monitoring free for six months to simplify the critical pump station commissioning phase. Remote access brings all status, alarming and adjustability available through the on-unit touchscreen directly to Metropolitan and the operator’s computer or mobile device. All alarms, sent by SMS or email, can even be remotely acknowledged, letting the operator know when remote or on-site access may be required.

The real measure of success for a booster pump may be its performance in the field, but at Metropolitan we know that performance often hinges on an operator’s ability to provide necessary servicing. And with the XTB, we are making the operator’s job easier than ever by providing a much needed boost.



Metropolitan Industries has reached another historic business milestone within the month of September. The prominent water management technology solutions company closed the sale on acquiring Emecole, Inc. The sale shows a positive growth for the future of both companies. The acquisition transitions will follow in the months to come, according to Metropolitan Industries, Inc. President John Kochan, Jr.

Founded and based in Romeoville, IL, Emecole, Inc. manufactures and distributes concrete repair chemicals and waterproofing solutions. For nearly 30 years, Emecole has been the industry leader in concrete repair chemicals and waterproofing solutions. Emecole was founded by current president Louis Cole. Cole always carried the drive to reduce the labor and costs associated with leaking cracks from basement foundations. In his career, Cole has been awarded 10 patents from creating his state-of-the-art low-pressure injection system that has become the leading industry standard for approaching concrete crack repairs.

The purchase allows Metropolitan Industries to cross-promote between the two business by allowing each respected company’s products to be sold in the territories covered by the other company. Emecole’s operations will remain in their existing facility presently.

John Kochan, Jr. stated that he is, “excited for the new team to strengthen the family business as we look forward to our commitment to continued growth and for Metropolitan to continue to be a market leader in all our areas of business both today and tomorrow.”


Metropolitan Industries, Inc. has unveiled a new logo and company name to signify the acquisition; Emecole Metro LLC








Interior of the back flow facility left little room for the water booster system.

Interior of the back flow facility left little room for the water booster system.

When a local refinery added a back flow prevention facility to their water service system back in 2009, they inadvertently created an adverse effect on the water pressure available to the refinery.

The back flow prevention facility intercepts a 12 inch water main originating from the local city’s water line. The water pressure entering the facility from the city varies from approximately 30 psi in the winter months to as low as 20 psi in the summer months.

The diverted flow through the back flow facility ultimately began to rob the refinery of precious operating pressure. As the water flow moved through the refinery, it also encountered additional losses, in the form of pipe, valve and fitting friction losses. This lower pressure required a solution, to ensure that the refinery has a reliable source of pressurized water, and can continue to function properly.

Metropolitan began to work with a local engineering company to derive and implement a reliable solution. All parties concluded that a water pressure booster system would need to be added to the back flow facility. The situation at the facility included a number of challenges, which would be sure to test the capability of any system’s manufacturer. One of the most challenging aspects involved the space limitation within the back flow facility itself.

The building was not designed to house additional equipment of the size required to overcome the reduced pressure dilemma. The 12 inch water service enters the facility, splits off into two 8 inch lines, each with its own large 8 inch back flow preventer, which is then combined back into one 12 inch main before leaving the facility on its way to the refinery. This large gallery of piping and equipment left little room for a water pressure booster system.

Secondly, the local refinery made it clear to all parties involved, that the water service upgrade project must be designed to ensure that the water demands of the facility would not adversely affect the operation of the city’s public water system. In addition, the application required that a number of large custom piping fabrications be provided beyond the boundary of the pumping system. These custom piping fabrications were required to mate precisely with the existing pipe connections within the facility, with no room for error.

Water pressure booster system added to the back flow prevention facility.

Water pressure booster system added to the back flow prevention facility.

Additionally and possibly the most critical situation facing the group, was reliability. The upgrade needed to be designed to eliminate any possibility that water service to the refinery could be interrupted.

Finally, the time line required to implement the solution was formidable. The team was only given 60 days during which to design, engineer, document, refine and manufacture the system. This challenge was coupled with the requirement that the installation take place, without interrupting flow to the refinery, or to anyone receiving water from the local city system.

The system featured an impressive operational design, which monitored flow and pressure to the refinery, as well as to the local city, and could adjust the operation according to the demands of one entity, without sacrificing operational effectiveness to the other.

The system was manufactured on time, and the delivery and installation were coordinated with seamless precision, allowing the refinery and municipal water to flow continuously during the entire upgrade process.

Above: A quadraplex variable speed Annapolis Road Booster Pump Skid.

Above: A quadraplex variable speed Annapolis Road Booster Pump Skid.

Sea Ranch, California, at the north end of Sonoma County is a community of private homes situated in a remote area designed with careful attention to the natural landscape. Although beautiful, this remote location adds challenges in monitoring and operating the community’s water and sewer services.

While isolated, Sea Ranch has grown over the years allowing an expansion of the Sea Ranch community, which led the Sea Ranch Water Company to turn to Brown and Caldwell, civil engineers, in creating a new waterline expansion to accommodate the increased residential demand on the water utilities.

The new waterline expansion consisted of new water transmission pipelines, new pressure reducing valves with vaults, a new hydropneumatic booster pump station and two new booster pump stations and associated appurtenances.

As the rest of the nation follows California’s desire to reduce lead in drinking water, the federal Reduction of lead in Drinking Water Act is expected to take affect in January 2014. This act has requires that the booster skids, installed, have to be lead free in order to prevent the leakage of lead into the pipes and therefore into the water.

In addition to the reduction of lead, the new pipes have been designed to last longer by utilizing stainless steel.

sea ranch take 8 control

Above: Control system for Tank 8 Booster system

“The stainless steel piping, pump impellers and related low lead appurtenances are the perfect choice even in the most demanding potable water applications.” said Metropolitan national sales manager Mike Tierney, “not only do they comply with the low lead mandates but they can also offer a substantially longer service life when compared to other materials.”

tank 8 blog pic

Above: Back side of the Tank 8 System

The new pipeline expansion has also allowed the water company to focus on  implementing the latest pump system designed to conserve energy. The use of  valves and variable speed are two techniques that are used in supplying water to homes. With the use of variable speed pump control the pressure reducing valve is completely eliminated and less energy is used. This technique has had a positive effect on the Sea Ranch community who has an immense interest in preserving the environment. Allowing the community to reduce energy consumption when possible has put the residents at ease knowing this new installation holds to the community’s standards.

The tank 8 booster above will help service water to the houses in Sea Ranch that are up hill.

The tank 8 booster above will help service water to the houses in Sea Ranch that are up hill.

Metropolitan Industries, Inc. built the pump systems to be operated at variable speed allowing the pumping equipment to exactly match the demand at any given time. This is a major advancement in technology in terms of efficiency because the water pumps can be precisely controlled with no wasted energy.

There were two pump packages supplied as part of the pipeline project. Each pump control system  incorporated an operator Interface terminal designed to allow adjustments of either system at either location. This unique, totally interconnected design, can be a real time saver for operating personnel during commissioning and troubleshooting.

For more information contact Mike Tierney at (815)886-9200 or


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