When a powerful storm wreaks havoc across your community, the last thing City workers need to worry about is running out into the storm to haul a generator across town to ensure your wastewater lift station is functioning properly.

Lift stations are vital to the continued movement of wastewater, and the power sources for those stations need to be reliable, including the standby generators. The time delays to bring a portable trailer-mount generator due to weather, road conditions, or travel distance may be enough to cause wastewater backup in residential basements.


Permanent standby generators act as reliable, onsite power supplies in those times of need to keep lift stations running as they’re meant to. They provide automatic backup power, but the design of generators and their support facilities need to be thought out carefully to ensure the most effective use.

Some of the factors for an effective, permanent on-site generator design include:

  • Load-handling capacity of the generator

  • Fuel source options of the chosen generator

  • Location and proximity to residences (need to consider aesthetics and noise)

  • Maintenance access


Either a space-minimizing, weather-proof housing or a larger, walk-in pre-fabricated building are often used to house the generators. Prefabricated generator buildings can be brought in on trucks and lifted onto the site by crane, rather than built onsite from the ground-up. This saves time and often reduces the cost of resources needed to build.

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Communities often need assistance designing and constructing new or replacement standby generator facilities. Recently, for both the Village of Mukwonago and the Village of Hartland, pre-fabricated buildings offered a solution to add on-site standby generators at existing wastewater lift stations. R/M designed aesthetic features to suit the neighborhoods and ensure that residents were accepting of the new addition.

The reliability of a standby generator for a wastewater lift station is not a new issue, but it is driven by the life-cycle of the system’s electrical components. Communities should consider regular evaluations of their back-up power systems as important pieces of their municipal infrastructure.

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For more information on standby generators for wastewater facilities, please contact one of our experts today!

About the Author

Patrick T. Wohlers, P.E.

Patrick T. Wohlers, P.E. 
Senior Project Manager

Pat’s experience as a project engineer and project manager includes the planning, design, and implementation of electrical systems for municipal facilities, including: indoor and outdoor lighting systems, power distribution, control systems and process instrumentation. Additionally, he has extensive experience with design of supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems for computer based control and monitoring of utility facilities. Pat has been employed by R/M since 1990.

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