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What is a Horizontal Pump?

By Lori Kilchermann
Updated May 17, 2024
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A horizontal pump is used to propel liquids through horizontal pipelines. These pumps are not required to raise the liquid up and out of a well or a storage facility; instead it pushes liquid across vast expanses of pipeline from one location to another. The horizontal pump maintains flow as well as pressure while moving the fluid to its destination.

Structures such as oil field pipelines use a horizontal pump to move crude oil from the well to storage facilities and refineries that can often be great distances apart. The horizontal pump maintains an even flow of crude oil at a specific pressure in order for the refinery to properly process the product. Once refined, the station will pipe the gasoline, oil and other products to pumping stations using a horizontal pump. The product will then be loaded onto tanker ships or trucks to be delivered to a final destination.

Agricultural use of the horizontal pump is not limited to irrigation, where it is widely used. Dairy producers often use this type of pumping system to transport raw milk from the milking parlor to storage tanks. The milk is then cooled and stored until being loaded onto a tanker truck, again utilizing a horizontal pump to transfer the milk from one storage container to another. To complete the process, it often requires use of many pumps working in unison.

Irrigation is the act of watering fields and crops from large wells or water supplies such as rivers and reservoirs. In the case of the latter, a horizontal pump is often employed to push the water great distances to irrigation lines which distribute the water like large lawn sprinklers. The pumps are called upon to deliver great quantities of water at predetermined pressure in order to apply the correct amount of water to ensure proper growth of the crop.

This pumping method is also used by many city utilities to bring water over long distances to be used by the households it serves. Often, water is a hard-found commodity in certain areas of the world. The ability to pump large quantities through extremely long pipelines allows people to enjoy a normal, healthy life in drought prone areas. The pump houses are often a matter of life and death and are occasionally protected by a country's military. If water truly is the life blood of a community, the pumping station is the heart.

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Discussion Comments
By wavy58 — On Mar 20, 2012

@lighth0se33 – Horizontal pumps really have connected the world piece by piece. Think back to the days of old, when everyone had to draw water from a well. If that well ran dry, they were out of luck.

People benefit greatly from a shared water supply. They know that just because it hasn't rained in weeks doesn't mean they will have to go thirsty. They can get their water pumped to them from miles away.

I can see how horizontal pumps can be a great aid in the oil industry, as well. It would be really inconvenient for someone to have to take loads of it to pumping stations a little at a time. The long-distance pumps save people a lot of time and energy.

By lighth0se33 — On Mar 20, 2012

It amazes me how much water pipe line must be running underground in every neighborhood. I live out in the country, and the people who don't get their water from backyard wells rely on horizontal water pumps from the local water association.

I can't even see the water tower from where I live, and I know this is the case for many residents who are spread out over many miles. The area underground must look like a big maze of pipes because of all the people that have to receive their water from a horizontal pumping system.

I don't know if it is because water has to travel so far, but we have strong water pressure out here. I can easily wash all the dirt off my car with my garden hose, so I don't have to rely on a carwash.

By Oceana — On Mar 19, 2012

I have seen horizontal pumps at work in the Mississippi delta. There are large fields of crops out there, and in the dry summers, farmers have to use an irrigation system for the crops to survive.

I saw a line of gigantic sprinklers held together by a pipe that ran through all of them just a few feet above the ground. I'm guessing that this is where the water runs after it is activated by the horizontal pump.

I know that this region has a good steady source of irrigation water. The Mississippi River keeps the groundwater in place, and the main thing farmers have to worry about is flooding.

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