Pump Suction Bellmouth
Intake Suction Bells

East County Advanced Water Purification Program – Padre Dam

30-inch Pump Suction Bellmouth for ECAWP1 Padre Dam – Santee, California

This project case study highlights a key component for the East County Advanced Water Purification (ECAWP1) Padre Dam in Santee, California.: a 30-inch Pump Suction Bellmouth. Designed to enhance the efficiency and functionality of rotodynamic pumps in a water purification setting, this component also features advanced flow straightening designs that go above and beyond Hydraulic Institute pump intake recommendations. This innovative approach optimizes fluid flow and minimizes turbulence, contributing to the overall performance and reliability of the water purification system.


Project Overview

Flow Optimizer 69" Basket for St. Mary Clean Energy Center

Purpose and Benefits of the Pump Suction Bellmouth

The 30-inch Pump Suction Bellmouth is a critical component in the water purification process. Its primary function is to enhance the pump’s efficiency and longevity by addressing several key issues:

  1. Improved Flow Distribution: The bellmouth design straightens the inlet flow, ensuring a more uniform distribution. This is crucial for the efficient functioning of the pump.
  2. Reduced Friction Loss: The bellmouth reduces the entrance friction loss coefficient significantly, from K = 0.5 to K = 0.05. This reduction means less energy is required to operate the pump, leading to cost savings.
  3. Enhanced Pump-Down Capacity: By allowing the wet-well to be pumped down lower, the bellmouth helps in minimizing the accumulation of fats, oils, grease, and other floatable items, which are common problems in water purification systems.

Addressing Specific Challenges

The bellmouth component is specifically designed to tackle various challenges in the water pumping process:

  • Minimizing Free-Surface and Subsurface Vortices: These vortices can cause air entrainment and pump inefficiencies.
  • Steady vs. Transient Flow Management: Ensures consistent performance under varying flow conditions.
  • Handling Multi-Phase Flow: Capable of dealing with different phases (e.g., liquids and gases) in the flow.
  • Reducing Air Entrainment: Limits the amount of air entering the system, which can reduce pump performance.
  • Controlling Swirl Angle and Velocity Profile: These factors are critical for the efficient movement of water through the system.
  • Preventing Solids Build-up: By maintaining a consistent flow, the bellmouth helps prevent the accumulation of solids.
  • Mitigating Hydrogen Sulfide Odor: A common issue in wastewater systems, effectively managed by this system.
Padre Dam Bellmouth Drawing and Specifications
Flow Optimizer 69" Basket for St. Mary Clean Energy Center
Flow Optimizer 69" Basket for St. Mary Clean Energy Center


The installation of the 30-inch Pump Suction Bellmouths at the ECAWP1 Padre Dam represents a significant improvement in the water purification process. By addressing a wide range of hydraulic challenges, these components not only enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the pumping system but also contribute to the overall reliability and sustainability of the water treatment facility. The collaboration between AECOM and W.M. Lyles in this project highlights the importance of expert engineering and construction practices in achieving advanced water purification goals.

Padre Dame Municipal Water DistrictPadre Dam is a member of the East County Advanced Water Purification (AWP) Program Joint Powers of Authority (JPA). This program is expected to be one of the first – if not the first- surface water augmentation project in the State of California.  It will provide approximately 30 percent of Padre Dam’s water supply locally by 2025.  To support this project, Padre Dam is the long-term Administrator and Operator for the JPA and is the hiring organization for staffing the project.

We are Here To Help

Interested in learning more about the innovative solutions implemented in the ECAWP1 Padre Dam project and how they can be applied to your water purification needs? Reach out to us for more information and to explore the possibilities of optimizing your water purification systems with cutting-edge technology and design. Learn more about our pump suction bellmouths here: Flow Optimizer Bellmouth