How BlackHawk Pumps and Services Solved an Elephant Dilemma at the Oklahoma City Zoo

| BlackHawk Team

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Everyone knows that BlackHawk Industrial supplies pumps to big oil and gas companies and municipal water providers, but did you know that BlackHawk Industrial supplied the pump for the elephant habitat’s water feature in the Oklahoma City Zoo?

This might sound like a dream job, but Michael Masilon, BlackHawk’s Industrial pump application specialist, can assure you that this job was no safari on the African savanna. Mike started working with the Zoo’s head maintenance technician in the grizzly bears’ water feature. After a successful installation of a Gorman-Rupp pump, the zoo tech was so happy with Mike’s service and know how that he asked him to consult with him on the elephant habitat’s water feature.

Now this was no ordinary water feature. It consists of a 12-foot deep, 214,000-gallon pool plus a 30-foot waterfall with a stream. While it is breath taking to see, maintaining it is another story. According to the Smithsonian’s National Zoo & Conservation Biology Institute, elephants eat between 100 to 125 pounds of vegetation daily and they only use about 30% to 40% of what they eat as energy. You guessed it, that means that elephants defecate between eight and 10 times every day, and there are six or seven boli (poop) in a pile. That breaks down to about one pile per elephant every two hours.

At the time, the Oklahoma City Zoo, was using an end suction HVAC water pump made for clean water that had a 10” pipe size basket type strainer on the suction side This meant that the elephant habitat team had to clean out strainer bucket at least once per day. This required shutting down the pump and lifting the basket up from a pit that was 10’ to 12’ deep

After reviewing all aspects of the project, Mike suggested an above ground Gorman-Rupp self-priming trash Eradicator pump. This huge pump features eight inch pipe connections and pumps 6,000 gallons of water per minute. It includes a blade that chops up the waste to eliminate the strainer pass and daily bucket cleaning.

Mike was there through the whole project from purchase order to start-up day. It took almost three years from start to finish. He said that start-up day was incredible. His pump work allowed him to be close to the elephants (not too close) and when the switch was turned on, well just imagine seeing a 30-foot waterfall roar to life.

For more information on pump services contact us at 855-610-1001 or at on our website. BlackHawk Pumps and Services manufactures the BlackHawk Centrifugal Pump. Our distribution center carries a complete stock of pumps and parts. BlackHawk can fabricate packages to your specifications with electric motors, pneumatic drives, gasoline, natural gas, or diesel engines. As part of BlackHawk Industrial, we have access to thousands of suppliers allowing us to customize a package to fit your needs.