Omnia Mechanical Group

571 Timpson Place Bronx, NY 10455

Phone: 212-534-2500

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The 3 Largest and Most Powerful Pumps in the World

Pumps are engineering marvels. Most people don’t think about the significance of these devices throughout history, however, instead only appreciating them for keeping basements dry or upping the water pressure throughout a building.

In reality, these are minor jobs, especially compared to the largest pump houses in the world, projects responsible for reducing the threat of flooding for entire cities, states, or countries. Discover the world’s three most powerful pump stations and what inspired their design.

The 3 Largest Pump Stations in the World

1. The D.F. Wouda Steam Pumping Station

The Netherlands lies below sea level, and because of this, the country has a long history of water management. Since the 14th century, Dutch communities have dug canals, dikes, and reservoirs to control flooding in towns and cities. The most significant step in protection came in the 20th century, with the inception, construction, and opening of the D.F. Wouda Steam Pumping Station, officially known as the Ir.D.F. Woudagemaal.

The D.F. Wouda is the largest steam-powered pumping station ever built and remains in operation. Near Lemmer, about 100 km from Amsterdam, the station helps pump water from the Friesland province back into the IJsselmeer, formerly the Zuider Zee. Its opening in the 1920s was such a monumental occasion and milestone for Dutch Water management that Queen Wilhelmina attended the ceremony.

Even today, the D.F. Wouda is an incredible engineering feat, remaining ranked among the largest pump stations in the world. The machine hall comprises four steam engines with gigantic boilers and dozens of hoses, pipes, valves, and wheels. Each steam engine can generate 500 horsepower or 373 kilowatts. Connected to each engine are two double-suction centrifugal pumps, pumping 500 cubic meters of water per minute at 110 rpm. The station’s pumping capacity is 4 million liters per minute, or roughly two Olympic-sized swimming pools.

The pumping station is so massive and complex that it takes 11 people over six hours to manage and bring it online. All the steam boilers and their eight water pumps require individual activation. Despite the effort, the station remains active and a hallmark of water management, so much so that it ranks on the World Heritage List for its ingenuity and beauty.

2. The Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Systems

In Telangana, a state in southern India, water availability is a significant problem despite the Godavari and Krishna rivers flowing through it. The problem is the elevation differences, with Telangana sitting 300 to 650 meters above sea level and the rivers flowing at elevations of 100 meters above sea level.

The Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation project aimed to and successfully completed the world’s largest multi-stage lift irrigation project, providing access to water for every home in the state. Thanks to what may be the largest pump station in Asia, located 470 feet below the surface and stretching 300 km, the KLIS raises massive amounts of water from rivers and existing reservoirs to supply Telangana residents.

The station uses 37 medium voltage motors of 40MW and 43MW sizes, medium voltage load commutated inverter drive units, low and high voltage switch gears, excitation systems, PLC-based SCADA, and other electronics to run the pumps. The LCI and switch gears limit the strain on mechanical systems and the local utility grid by minimizing inrush current and electrical stress.

There are seven motor pumps with a capacity of 139 megawatts. According to local experts, each motor pump weighs 2,376 metric tons and together can lift 3 TMC ft per day — that’s 69,000 hectares of land filled with a foot of water. After initial testing of the facility, the government revised plans, increasing the pump station’s output to improve the land’s stability and irrigation. Officials also expressed interest in using the newfound access to expand cultivation of the area.

The KLIS project is an ongoing development. While the systems and largest pump station are in operation, the government is looking to construct additional reservoirs and canal systems, ensuring accessibility throughout the state.

3. The Gulf Intracoastal Waterway West Closure Complex

Belle Chasse, Louisiana, is home to the world’s largest drainage pump station. The station is part of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway West Closure Complex. It is the jewel of a $1.1 billion engineering project to protect the West Bank against a possible 100-year storm surge.

The complex has a 225-foot sector gate — the largest in North America — that can close in 15 minutes during a storm. Inside are 11 vertical pumps powered by 12-cylinder, 5400 horsepower Caterpillar diesel engines. These engines can expel water at 20,000 cubic feet per second, equivalent to 150,000 gallons of floodwater, into marshes located to the south.

The Gulf Intracoastal Waterway West Closure Complex sits at the confluence of Algiers and Harvey canals, near the Environmental Protection Agency’s Bayou aux Carpes Clean Water Act 404(c) area, a national wetland. Engineers designed the station to withstand almost anything, including 140 mph winds and runaway barges.

Beyond the pumps and massive floodgate, the complex also includes floodwalls, an earthen levee, sluice gates, and foreshore protection. Over 130,000 cubic yards of cast-in-place concrete also helped shape the project. The pump station required 1,200 piles of 600 mm to 750 mm for the foundation, ensuring it could withstand powerful storm surges.

The Smallest and Largest Pump Devices All Require Maintenance

Annual Service Contracts to the Rescue

It is easy to be in awe of the power of the world’s largest pump stations, but don’t overlook the significance of your own building pumps. Booster pumps help push water to every level of your property, and sump pumps ensure storm water doesn’t flood your basement.

Property owners must keep their building’s pumps in excellent working order to ensure fundamental and safety systems remain in operation. As with any mechanical device, pumps require regular maintenance and routine inspections.

Whether you operate some of the largest pump stations or only a small multi-family rental, call Antler Pumps at 212-534-2500 to schedule an assessment of your pumps and pump-related equipment. Also, remember to ask about our annual service contracts so you never miss routine maintenance or inspections.


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You can browse some areas of Antler.nyc (“the Website”) without being a registered user. However, certain activities do require registration. (You consent to the transfer and storage of your information by registering with Antler.nyc). We may collect and store the following personal information:

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