FAQs

Magnum Spill Buster Questions

Spill Buddy Questions

Q. What other equipment will I need to research, price, and buy to make the Magnum Spill Buster operable?

A. No other equipment is required other than what is included in the system, except for a discharge container of some sort for the pumped product. The Magnum is comprised of three modules: the Control Box, the Auto Seeker*, and the Probe, which contains the interface sensors and the product pump. We include the cables you need to connect the three modules, as well as an overflow sensor for the product tank, and discharge tubing to carry what is pumped to the product tank.

If desired, the Magnum can operate with water depression- see below- and also with vacuum extraction, but neither is required. No compressors, rate controllers, etc. are needed. *The Auto Seeker is not necessary on some types of sites-see below.

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Q. How do the Magnum Spill Buster’s Probe sensors work?

Probe SensorA. The Alpha-Array™ sensors are based on a technology developed for NASA for spacecraft fuel gauging. They are a multiple field array, all solid state, monolithic, and non-contact. This makes them highly immune to fouling, which is a problem with virtually all other types of sensing methods, including conductive, float, optical, and even radio frequency methods.

The sensors are made from carbon composite material, and thus are virtually corrosion free and immune to most all chemicals.

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Q. Does the Magnum Spill Buster pump any water?

A. None. The sensor bands are positioned below the pump intake and operate to keep the pump intake within the product layer at all times. As the product is pumped off the water table subsequently rises up until it reaches the sensor. They immediately signal the system to shut off the pump. The auto seeker then raises the probe until the pump intake is again positioned just inside the product layer and the cycle begins again.

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Q. How far can the system track changes in water table elevation?

A. The Magnum can track the water table throughout the entire depth of the well. It adapts immediately to water level changes and thus permits pumping to continue as long as there is accumulated product to remove.

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Q. What kind of products is the Magnum Spill Buster designed to pump?

A. The Magnum is designed to pump free phase NAPLs (Non-Aqueous Phase Liquids). Those are liquid contaminants that have trickled down through the soil and reached an underground water table. The Magnum will pump both those that are lighter than water- LNAPLS (or “Floaters”)- and those that are denser than water- DNAPLS (or “Sinkers”). Most of these are hydrocarbon based liquids such as fuel oil, gasoline, diesel, etc. but could be most any liquid that forms an interface with water and is less than 12 centipoise in viscosity. For higher viscosity products, we recommend our High Viscosity Spill BusterNote: The pump used in the Magnum system contains aluminum parts that are potentially reactive with halogenated hydrocarbons.

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Q. What is the minimum thickness of free phase contamination necessary for the Magnum Spill Buster to pump?

A. The minimum thickness of free phase contamination necessary for the system to pump is approximately 1 cm (.39 in.).

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Q. What is the maximum flow rate for the product pump on the Magnum Spill Buster?

A. It is approximately 0.7 gpm at zero head.

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Q. Is the Magnum Spill Buster weatherproof?

Weatherproof Magnum Spill BusterA. Yes, the system is weatherproof; no special weatherproof enclosures are required for the Auto Seeker or Control Box. The system can operate in temperatures ranging from -40°C to +60°C. Currently we have Magnums installed and operating year round on sites in Alaska, Canada, Brazil, New Mexico, and many, many places in between.

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Q. What does the Auto Seeker do?

A. The Auto Seeker is an electrically powered reel that automatically raises and lowers the Probe/pump to the oil/water interface as it rises and falls due to seasonal or tidal fluctuations.

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Q. How does the Magnum operate automatically?

A. When the system is turned on in automatic mode, the Control Box signals the Auto Seeker to lower the Probe/pump into the well until the sensors find the interface. The Auto Seeker will then adjust the position of the Probe to bring the pump inlet slot just into the product layer. The pump is then activated and pumps down the available product until the water level rises to the pump inlet. This shuts down the pump, and the Auto Seeker will again adjust the position of the Probe to bring the pump back inside the product layer. The system will continue until all available product is removed and the pump inlet is in the air.

The Magnum will then go into a “wait” mode of twenty minutes before again seeking the product/water interface. If there is still no available product, the Magnum will start another “wait” period of forty minutes before seeking product. It will continue to double the length of the wait period if no available product is found until it achieves balance with the product recharge rate, or reaches a six hour maximum. (though we have quite a few older systems still in operation that were programmed with a twelve hour maximum).

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Q. Can I change the automatic control modes as set by the factory?

Magnum Spill Buster Automatic Control ModesA. No. The overall software algorithms for automatic mode cannot be changed. However, there are some parameters that can be adjusted, such as cycle time, interface clearance, pump rates, etc. Refer to the owner’s manual for details, or contact us about what you want to change.

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Q. How far can the Auto Seeker track water fluctuations?

A. The Auto Seeker can track the interface through the entire depth of the well.

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Q. What is the maximum depth from which the Magnum Spill Buster can recover product?

A. The standard Magnum Spill Buster comes with a 50 ft. (15m.) probe length, but can be customized for wells up to 100 feet (30 meters) deep. While 100 ft is the maximum amount of tubing that can currently be mounted on the Auto Seeker, we have constructed probes up to 150′ deep, where the extra length of tubing was allowed to hang free off of the reel.

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Q. Do I really need the Auto Seeker?

A. If the water table fluctuations are very small, and/or change very slowly over the course of weeks or months, the system can be configured without the Auto Seeker. In this scenario, the position of the Probe/pump would need to be monitored and adjusted manually. The Control Box and the down-well Probe/pump would be connected through a junction coupler rather than through the Auto Seeker.

The other two scenarios where the Auto Seeker is not needed are when pumping DNAPLS, or when using water depression- see below.

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Q. Do I need the Auto Seeker if I am pumping only DNAPLS?

A. Since DNAPLS sink beneath the water table, you can manually set the probe at the lowest possible level and pump the product out until it is gone. The system will shut off as soon as the Probe sensors detect water.

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Q. Can I use water table depression with the Magnum Spill Buster?

A. Yes, as long as the well is at least 4 inches in diameter. A water table depression control module is connected to the Magnum’s Control Box, and a Grundfos Redi Flow 3TM environmental water pump is installed in the well. The Auto Seeker is not used in this configuration. The system probe is suspended just above the level at which you intend to keep the water; it will automatically cycle on and off, pumping off product, not water. When the system is in operation the water/product interface is therefore controlled to the product pump intake.

The Magnum is only configured to operate in concert with Clean Earth Technology’s water depression module. This is because the lower sensor band in the Probe prevents the water/product interface from moving down to the water pump intake, thus preventing raw product from being pumped into the water treatment system.

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Q. If I only have product in the well and no water, can I still use the Magnum Spill Buster?

A. Yes. However, there are special setups and monitoring requirements. If you have this condition you should call our Service department to give you detailed directions to get you started.

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Q. How is the Magnum Spill Buster maintained?

Magnum Spill Buster Maintenance
A. Standard maintenance consists of using the Auto Seeker to wind the Probe up out of the well. The pump can be easily removed from the Probe, and the pump filter should be cleaned of all debris. Before reinserting the pump, the sensor bands inside the Probe tube should also be wiped clean. Once the pump is re-positioned in the Probe, the Auto Seeker will lower it back down the well to resume operation.

Request a manual

Maintenance procedures and recommendations are discussed in detail in the Magnum Spill Buster Operator’s manual. Contact us for a copy if needed.

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Q. How often should this procedure occur?

A. It depends on what you are pumping and how much solid or semi-solid debris is in the product. When it is first set up, you should check the system frequently to get a feel for how much, and how quickly, any debris is accumulating on the filter. If the filter screen is plugged when you check it, shorten the time between service visits until you find the screen still reasonably clean. If the screen is not plugged, and the sensors are clear, it is safe to lengthen the service time interval.

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Q. What if I have a problem with my Magnum Spill Buster?

A. You are welcome to email or call us directly here at the factory if you have questions about the operation of your Magnum. Services Summary We are very committed to ensuring that you continue to be completely satisfied with our products, and will do whatever we can to make that happen.

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Q. Is the Magnum Spill Buster explosion-proof?

Magnum Spill Buster Maintenance
A. The input power to the Control Box is 110-120 VAC. Therefore, the box must be located outside of any hazardous areas. If your site conditions require the box to be placed farther than 30′ from the well head, we can build custom sized cable lengths to accommodate that.

However, if the panel must be located in a hazardous location, CET can provide an explosion-proof enclosure (Class 1, Div 1, Groups B,C, & D) for it. The Auto Seeker motor is also available in an explosion-proof enclosure of the same rating if the site specifications require it.

Q. How is the Spill Buddy different from the Magnum Spill Buster?

Spill Buddy
A. The Magnum Spill Buster is a semi-permanently installed, automatic system used for the long term remediation of free phase products. The Spill Buddy is a portable, manually operated NAPL skimming device. It is best suited for pumping the available product from a monitoring or recovery well that is visited for that purpose on a regular schedule.

The system can be carried in by hand by a technician who also brings in a discharge container, such as a ten gallon pail, or who has access to a nearby tank or barrel. The operator turns a crank knob on the side of the Spill Buddy’s reel that manually unwinds the Probe/pump down the well. An audible signal informs the operator when the interface has been reached. The operator then slightly raises the Probe so that the pump will be positioned within the product layer(or lowers it in the case of a DNAPL product), and turns on the pump. As the product is being removed and the water table rises so that the sensors in the Probe again detect water, a change in the audible signal signals the technician to switch the pump off, adjust the Probe again and pump again. That sequence is repeated until all available product is removed from the well.

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Q. How does the Spill Buddy’s sensors work?

Spill BuddyA. The ALPHA-ARRAY™ sensors are based on a technology developed for NASA for spacecraft fuel gauging. They are a multiple field array, all solid state, monolithic, and non-contact. This makes them highly immune to fouling, which is a problem with virtually all other types of sensing methods.

The sensors are made from carbon composite material, and thus are virtually corrosion free and immune to most all chemicals.

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Q. What is the power source for the Spill Buddy?

Spill Buddy Power SourceA. The system runs on a rechargeable 12 VDC, 5 Amp-hours, sealed lead acid battery. A wall mount charger is included with the system; an optional Accessory Power Socket Jack (“cigarette lighter” jack) is available for purchase that allows the system to be recharged from a vehicle between sites.

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Q. How long does the Spill Buddy run on a single battery charge?

A. The system will run continuously for an hour on a single battery charge. The battery may be charged on site with the use of jumper cables attached to a vehicle.

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Q. What kind of products is the Spill Buddy designed to pump?

A. The Spill Buddy is designed to pump free phase NAPLs (Non-Aqueous Phase Liquids), both those lighter than water (LNAPLs) and those denser than water (DNAPLs), that have trickled through the soil and now float on top of, or beneath, an underground aquifer. For the most part these are hydrocarbon based liquids such as fuel oil, gasoline, diesel, etc. but could be most any liquid that forms an interface with water and is less than 12 centipoise in viscosity. Note: The pump used in the Spill Buddy contains aluminum parts that are potentially reactive with halogenated hydrocarbons.

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Q. What is the maximum flow rate for the product pump in the Spill Buddy?

A. It is approximately 0.7 gpm at zero head.

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Q. How is the Spill Buddy maintained?

A. In the field, the system should be wiped down and the tubing purged of product after each use. The pump screen should be checked for debris, and the sensors wiped off.

At the end of each day of use the unit should also be cleaned by running an appropriate cleaning product through the tubing. It is especially critical that a lubricating product such as WD-40 be run through the Spill Buddy after cleaning because any amount of moisture left in the pump could cause it to seize up.

Maintenance procedures and recommendations are discussed in detail in the Spill Buddy Operator’s manuals. Contact us for a copy if needed.

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