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A municipal water district in Illinois used an electrical submersible pumping (ESP) system in a water well to deliver fresh drinking water to area residents. The water well was drilled into a sandstone formation, which meant sand fines were produced along with the water. The sand was produced through the pump and filtered out on the surface prior to final treatment.

Two traditional water well pumping systems initially deployed in the well experienced premature failures due to erosion from the sand fines. The 14-in. bolted-bowl pumps constructed of cast iron and operated at 1,800 RPM failed in less than 14 months. Typical water well systems are expected to run for 10 or more years and the premature failures due to sand erosion risked service disruptions and drove up costs for the municipality

The city contacted Baker Hughes, a GE company, for a solution that would at least double the run life of the water pumping systems in these challenging conditions. The BHGE applications engineering team determined that the best option for the well was a CENetic™ certified water pumping system featuring an 8.62-in. bolted-bowl pump constructed of nickel aluminum bronze with tungsten carbide bearings. BHGE also recommended that a sand screen be installed below the motor to capture some of the sand before it could enter the pump and to reduce the fluid velocity at the pump intake.

Download the PDF to read the full case study.

Challenges & Results


  • Municipal water well producing from a sandstone formation
  • Premature failures due to sand fines entrained in the fluid causing severe erosion in the pump


  • Nickel aluminum bronze pump stage metallurgy and tungsten carbide bearings extended pump run life
  • Sand screen installed below the motor minimized sand volumes in the pump and reduced the fluid velocity at the pump intake, further enhancing system reliability