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Case Study Blattner Energy
Fluid Solutions Case Study

Watering System Cuts Dust Control Costs for Solar Farm Build


Pump and tank solution provided by United Rentals improves water truck utilization, increased labor efficiency and conserved precious water resources.

Building new solar power farms as quickly as possible enables power providers to phase out fossil fuels in favor of renewable energy. To keep these construction projects moving, contractors must control environmental site problems including dust.

A large design-build contractor building a new solar power and battery storage facility in California’s Mohave Desert planned to control dust by spraying water from water trucks on the ground. However, they ran into issues with the tank and pump vendor they hired to move water from an onsite well to J-stands that supplied the trucks.

The vendor was supposed to keep the tanks that fed the J-stands filled at the optimal level, but its pumps broke down frequently, there were no pump backups on site, and its response time was poor. In addition, the automatic pressure valves on the pumps that moved water from the well to the tanks weren’t working and had to be shut off manually. This led to frequent tank overfills, which wasted precious water. The spills resulted in downtime for construction activities and fines from the California EPA.

Leveraging Pump Expertise to Size Up the Problem

A United Rentals representative who was making a routine visit to the construction site noticed the problem and suggested that the company could help.

During the initial assessment, the Fluid Solutions team observed almost immediately that the 6-inch and 8-inch pumps bringing water to the J-stands were oversized, which meant the contractor was spending more money on fuel than necessary.

A Right-Sized Solution

With its expertise in fluid management and its understanding of the contractor’s needs, United Rentals was able to respond quickly when the contractor asked the company to take over.

United Rentals was able to respond quickly when the contractor asked the company to take over

Within three weeks, the United Rentals Fluid Solutions team had designed a system, installed nine J-stands, right-sized the pumps to 4-inch pumps and set up an automatic shut-off system for the water tanks, which eliminated spillages. The automated system also reduced fuel usage by shutting off the pumps when they weren’t needed.

United Rentals replaced the original vendor’s 16 tanks with its own 21,000-gallon closed top frac tanks. Later it provided an additional 16 tanks to serve another construction area that was about to be opened. United Rentals added a 7,000 gpm high head booster pump to move water from its tanks in the first area to the tanks in the second area. It also installed a discharge manifold to control the water flow so that all tanks would have the water needed for dust control.

Delivering Significant Cost Savings

With the United Rentals tanks and pumps in place, the contractor saves $15,000 in water costs per month and has stopped receiving fines from the California EPA. The automatic pump shutoff eliminated the need for workers to monitor the pumps, which reduced labor costs. Minimizing pump run time led to reduced fuel costs. In addition, with the right water levels in all the tanks, the contractor was able to run five water trucks instead of four, which resulted in better dust control.

The contractor’s site manager was so pleased with the improvements that he took the United Rentals sales rep out to lunch during site visits.With United Rentals fluid management equipment and expertise at work, the contractor will be able to complete the solar power farm faster and help expedite California’s move to renewable energy.