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More Articles On Grinder Pumps

November 3rd 2015

These are a series of links to download and read the information that has been submitted to the DOJ with exhibits and information about the shallow wells including charts. Please take the time to read these over.

Review and Analysis of Cudjoe Shallow Well Tests for FKAA

chart 5 (2)

lettertotheeditor-10-29-15

US Atty letter

EXH D Exh C Exh B Exh A2 Exh A

____________________________________________________________________

Many of us are facing a June 30 to meet the demands of FKAA or else.  Many of your are asking what should you do.  You have to do what you have to do; that is understood and not criticized.

A number of us will not sign the demanded easement and continue to seek a legal forum.

Others will need to sign for their own reasons, and again, this is understood.

At our Dump the Pumps meeting last night, several ideas were discussed in open debate. Some of these ideas were rehashed today by your directors, and several respected sources were consulted.  Here is our position.  If you must sign the easement we recommend you submit it with a written statement that contains some or all of the following language.  You need to protect your future interests.

I am in receipt of your undated letter on FKAA letterhead threatening me with having to buy and maintain a grinder pump on my property should I not grant you an easement on my property, and do so by an arbitrary June 30, 2015 deadline.

Your letter is an attempt to extort me into doing something I am not required by law to do, and which I consider a danger to myself, others, and the environment. Your letter is an attempt to defraud me, utilizing the authority of the State of Florida.

Enclosed is the easement, requested by you, signed by me under protest. Please be advised that by signing and returning the enclosed easement written by the FKAA and unsupported by consideration, I am reserving all rights I may have, including but not limited to, just compensation and equal protection under the law. I am also reserving my right, as landowner, to revoke the easement should the need arise. I have signed the enclosed easement under duress due to the threat of an economic penalty as outlined in your demand letter. I am also aware that homeowners can be reported to Monroe County Code Enforcement for refusing to sign your document which could place me in jeopardy of additional financial penalties in the form of daily fines as well as the risk of having a lien imposed on my property.

The below links to word documents contain some and all of the above in a format which you can manipulate.  You are welcome to use and tailor this statement to suit your personal situation.

15-6-26Protest statement #1

15-6-26Protest statement #2

___________________________

June 2015

Finally a local news outlet published what we have known and have been saying all along. The Editorial below was in the Key West Citizen today.

Banks

A violation of the public’s trust

Editorial

In the Oxford dictionary, “Fearmongering” is defined as, “The action of deliberately arousing public fear or alarm about a particular issue.

That sure sounds like what Kirk Zuelch, executive director of the Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority, has been doing recently — making outrageous and false claims, all to divert the public’s attention from the real problems with the Cudjoe Key Wastewater plant.

Zuelch wants to throw the open switch on the plant as soon as possible, dragon under the landfill be  damned.

According to Zuelch, the delay in opening the plant is causing homeowners to dump raw sewage directly into canals, which is blatantly untrue. He also stated that the delay is primarily the fault of those who have filed lawsuits against the agency over environmental concerns. But at no time has he or any member of the FKAA Board taken responsibility for the poor decisions they’ve made from the beginning that has landed them in this predicament.

So what if the FKAA is going to have to put in a deep well and wait for testing on the shallow wells before the plant can open. Had they not been in such a hurry to push the plans through in the first place, perhaps this court-mandated issue would already be resolved.

Unfortunately, the fearmongering is parroted by county officials, one of who stated in a radio interview Friday morning that homeowners are not able to get Certificates of Occupancy to move into brand new homes because the plant isn’t operational. Unfortunately for the commissioner, county staff said they have no knowledge of anyone waiting for a CO, saying they even have temporary solutions for homeowners without septic systems until the plant goes online if anyone finds themselves in this position.

 

The bottom line is that the public’s trust has been violated. The public has not been dealt with in an honest and open manner regarding the plant from the beginning. Until there is definitive proof that the plant is safe to operate, until the shallow wells have been tested and the public can be assured that there is no risk of contamination, the plant should not open. No further discussion necessary.

Instead of making blatantly false and misleading statements over the airwaves, maybe Zuelch and staff should be spending their time assuring the public that environmental safety and public health are their primary concerns.

Perhaps it’s time for a clean sweep of the FKAA board, starting with the director. Or have our elected officials become so inured to falsehoods and halftruths that they no longer understand that those in positions of power over the public’s money are expected to be honest.

— The Citizen

___________________________

Feb 21st 2015

DEP has testified that 10 States Standards do not apply to the CRWS. Therefore, the official excuse for not putting grinders in the road is gone! If we can get them off private property than at least our original goal is accomplished. Click below to download the pdf file

Exceptions to the Recommended Order

And the lie continues:

THE BOCC IS NOW PROPOSING TO USE $2.8 MILLION DOLLARS OF THE INFRASTRUCTURE SALES TAX MONEY FOR A BAYSIDE PEDESTRIAN PATH AND PEDESTRIAN BRIDGE FROM MILE MARKER 100 TO 106.
IT SEEMS THE BOCC IS SPENDING THE INFRASTRUCTURE TAX MONEY FOR EVERYTHING BUT THE SEWER PROJECTS IT WAS MEANT FOR. THIS ARTICLE WAS IN THE FREE PRESS DATED FEB 11, 2015 ON PAGE 5A.
NANCY

This was on your ballot when you voted in 2012. Smoke and mirrors by your county commissioners. Murphy and Neugent are particularly slippery.

BOCC

_______________________________________________________________

Feb 1st 2015

FKAA cannot seem to do anything right with the sewer system currently being built. Now they are putting a permanent French drain in gasoline contaminated ground next to the shoreline and a boat basin so they can temporarily lower the water table two feet in a 15 foot deep hole that will still have 12 feet of water in it. Two feet of dewatering, my ass! They will pump that 20×20 foot excavation as hard as they can and for as long as they feel like. Dump the Pumps has written a letter in protest to the South Florida Water Management District. The Blue Paper published that letter in today’s edition. Read about the environmental disaster proposed for Lower Sugarloaf and check out the other articles and letter while you are there. Their e-paper is free to read and does not hide or sugar-coat the truth.
Link: http://thebluepaper.com/open-letter-south-florida-water-management-district-re-cudjoe-regional-wastewater-system/

_________________________________________________________________

December 5th 2014

Many of us have received follow up demands from FKAA insisting we provide an easement for a grinder pump location on our private property.  The tone of the follow-up communications is really quite threatening.

From one letter I received:  “Installation will not be completed by the contractor on properties where the owner has not submitted the required forms.  The installation may then be required to be completed by the owner at the owner’s expense.”

From another letter I received:  “If you desire to construct and maintain a low pressure system that State Engineering Specifications will allow your sewage to join the collection system provided in front of your property, you are welcome to do so at your expense.”

I asked FKAA in an earlier letter, “Is it a standard of the FKAA to leave the homeowner ‘stranded’ with the prospect of the homeowner being ‘punished’ by paying for a later installation?  Please explain why elsewhere this practice is unheard of when government needs private property for a public purpose.”

This question remains unanswered.

A number of you have asked at our meetings or via email and phone how you should respond.  There is no single answer that covers all of us; we all have different needs and requirements.

But for what it is worth, attached is my personal response to the last letter I received from the FKAA.  Feel free to use or adapt it to your personal situation.

Banks Prevatt

for

Dump the Pumps, Inc.

Down load pdf response below

14-12-4_Response

 

_________________________________________________________________

 

I want to reinforce that Dump the Pumps, Inc. (DTPI) is in no way against Little Palm Island and their bid to tie into the central sewer system.  We are against the shoddy engineering by FKAA that was incorporated into the permit application and the unbelievable fact that FDEP approved such an application for a permit.
We should consider this a pretty good victory!!  FDEP and Little Palm Island withdrew the permit for Little Palm realizing that our allegations will prove correct.  ​Little Palm’s sewer permit that was voided was challenged on most of the same issues that DTPI takes exception to on the other permits and on the project in general.
Attached is the Motion to Relinquish.

Moition to dismiss click here

_____________________________________________________________________

Updates 8/20/2014:  Movement on two fronts…

 

 

We filed a petition in Circuit Court today seeking an emergency injunction against FKAA and FDEP permits on Big Pine Key North.  Big Pine Key North is selected because we have the paper trail that makes this work.  Again, the effort is for all of the Lower Keys.  I caution, the attached petition is over 100 pages and indicates 8.8 MB.  We will have this on our website soon and available by link.  We will keep you posted as this latest suit threads it way through the court.

 

 

We are still scheduled for hearings on six of our seven filed petitions against FDEP permits —  the Little Palm Island petition was withdrawn today. The hearings are scheduled for the last week of September before an Administrative Law Judge appointed by the Department of Administrative Hearings.

 

 

In preparation, FDEP, FKAA and Little Palm Island took my deposition last month. Tomorrow our attorney deposes FDEP staff in Fort Myers.  Next week, he will depose FKAA members in Key West.

 

 

On a major upbeat note, FDEP and Little Palm Island withdrew the permit for Little Palm, finding that some of our allegations may prove correct.  Point is, we ARE correct, and FKAA with FDEP sanctions were wrong.  We will use this to cast a shadow on some of the other permits.

 

 

I emphasize, we are not against Little Palm and sewers to Little Palm — just do it right.  We are not against sewers in the Lower Keys — just do it right.

 

 

We are going to need more money.

 

    We have a Paypal account on our here

 

    or mail to Dump the Pumps, Inc.  PO Box 1956 Big Pine Key, FL  33043

 

 

____________________________________________

Aug 3 2014

Please check out the latest court filings by clicking here

you may also click the court filings tab to the right.

Please remember this August when you VOTE that Your Monroe County Commissioner George Nugent has taken the “Credit” in his current political campaign for the waste water system and refused to reassess the grinder fiasco we are now wading in. Maybe you’d like to vote your message to him that enough is enough! All we ask is for what we were promised and what we citizens paid for before the County Commission went on a spending spree to buy marina’s and fix bridges with our waste water dollars.

BE INFORMED ITS YOUR COUNTY, ITS YOUR MONEY! THE COMMISSION SHOULD BE WORKING FOR US, NOT AGAINST US!

___________________________________________

Posted July 21 2014

Download Gov Scott letter CLICK HERE

Download CRWS Complaint CLICK HERE

This correspondence needs to be shared.  It is from our good friend and confidant Walt Drabinski of Sir Isaac Newton Coalition.————–
Good move, Walt!
I will put this out to DTPI and company plus a few others.  We have been here before with a similar letter.  A follow up letter blew us off.  You will need to keep pressure on this.  Based on the letter you received, you now have DEP investigating DEP.  The back slapping fox is guarding the chicken coop.   — banks

 

I am very pleased to report that Governor Rick Scott has ordered a review of the concerns that the Sir Isaac Newton Coalition expressed in a June 24, 2014 letter.  This letter identified concerns regarding the Cudjoe Regional Wastewater System (CRWS) that included:

Issue 1 – Extent of LPS Exceeds Public Notices

Issue 2 – Fabricated Economics

Issue 3 – Violations of Florida Records Request Act

Issue 4 – Violations of Professional Engineering Ethics Codes

Issue 5 – Violations of Sole Source Purchasing Rules

Issue 6 – FKAA Notice of Intent Published in Broward County Instead of Monroe County

Issue 7 – Concern that DEP Violates Rules

Issue 8 – Lack of DEP Oversight and Review

The key contact information for the Inspector General, Candice Fuller,  is provided below, and I would encourage any resident who has information to provide it to her by e-mail or letter, referencing Chief Inspector General Case #201406260008.  I would also encourage a note to the Governor, thanking him for his great concern for the environment of the Florida Keys and good government in general.  I might also suggest that you forward this e-mail to other interested groups or individuals who may want to stay informed or add their input. 

Candice Fuller, Inspector General
candice.fuller@dep.state.fl.us

850-245-3151

Internal Investigations Section
Florida Department of Environmental Protection
Office of the Inspector General
3900 Commonwealth Boulevard, MS 51
Tallahassee, FL 32399-3000

Governor Rick Scott
State of Florida
The Capitol
400 S. Monroe St.
Tallahassee , FL  32399-0001
850-488-7146

Walter Drabinski

Sir Isaac Newton Coalition

____________________________________________

Sample of letter to FKAA’s Demand for Easement.

Download copy to send to FKAA yourself CLICK HERE

Or click the picture to read it online…

letter

_____________________________________________

To help you understand how foul this whole grinder pump issue smells, open the attached PR campaign produced by FKAA dated September 2012.  We have a similar one dated October 2012.
Look on page 5.
–gravity in more densely populated areas.
–LPS (grinders) in less densely populated areas.
You were being sold a gravity central sewer system.
Look on page 6.
–LPS (grinders) are planned for about 600 properties.
While this was being sold to you by FKAA in 2012, we can show they had already requested bid proposals for a sewer system that included 2800 grinders.
We are not talking little white fibs here, folks.  We are talking major lies.
What I do not understand is, why does FKAA take the fall and lie?  They are a go-between for the county and the people.  They are the middleman, why do they need to lie?  Is there profit to be had in their lies?
These are shameless public officials being paid each week with your tax dollars to deceive you.  Sadly, some of your elected officials buy into and/or direct the deceit.
Grinders are only part of the fight.  The deceit perpetuated on the citizens of the Lower Keys (Sugarloaf through Big Pine) is justification for the fight. click to download pdf September2012

______________________________________________

June 13, 2014 The Blue Paper Article
Betrayed!
by Dump The Pumps, Inc, a Florida Keys Grassroots Organization
READ MORE at http://thebluepaper.com/article/betrayed/

pipes

_______________________________________________________________

 

This is a motion we filed today 6/12/14 asking the judge to force a stoppage until the hearings are concluded.  We will see what he does!

MotionforStay6-14-14

________________________________________________

This is the petition we filed yesterday against DEP and FKAA on a modified permit on Big Pine Key South.  Sadly, our read is this is trickery by government officials (public servants) attempting to circumvent our original filing against their original modified permit.
And we are writing their pay checks. (Click below to read)

P&FloridaKeysAqueductAuth.-PetitionforHearing-OGC14-0330

_____________________________________________

Cudroe Regional Wastewater System, a Solution?

By Walter P. Drabinski, Sir Isaac Newton Coalition

For almost a year and a half, I have been arguing that the planned, pressurized wastewater system, using grinder pumps, that is proposed for the Cudjoe Regional Wastewater System (CRWS) is uneconomic, unreliable, a burden on homeowners, and a potential environmental nightmare.  Now we learn that the shallow injection well design (120’ deep well) at the treatment plant may be an environmental disaster as well and is probably illegal, if the DEP actually enforces its own regulations.  How did we get to the point; where we are willing to install a system in the fragile environment of the Florida Keys, which may be worse than the septic systems we have now?  The answer is MONEY!!   In the 2006-11 timeframe, when the County and FKAA were being forced by the State and the EPA  to move forward with a sewer system, there were no State funds, the 1% infrastructure tax was to expire in 2018, and estimates for a system serving about 9,000 homes was well over $200 million.

What has happened since then?  First, on a technical side, we have learned that the Pressurized System (PS) that is proposed may be the worst environmental option one could choose.  It ranks below just about everything but old septic systems and cess pits.  Why?  Because the FKAA will install hundreds of miles of pressurized plastic pipe underground, with no way of monitoring leaks, and a 100% certainty that leaks will occur and pollute our near shore waters.  We have also learned that after power outages and high load conditions, the starting pressures of a pressurized system can exceed the design and test limits, causing fittings to rupture and sewage to backup into homes.  This is not speculation, it has happened in other systems.

Second, we now know, with certainty, that a Pressurized System has a much higher long term cost than almost any other system.  PS only has a lifespan of 25 years as opposed to a gravity system which can last 60-100 years.   Regular maintenance, generator backups, pump replacements, remote monitoring, flushing requirements and the failure of the many moving parts lead to a maintenance nightmare for homeowners and huge long term cost for all Monroe County citizens since the sewer rates are Countywide.  The grinder pumps selected may not meet all state regulations regarding explosion proof motors and appear to have been approved by the DEP based on a very liberal interpretation of some non-applicable exceptions.

A review of the sewage flow calculations from homes to the treatment plant on Cudjoe Key appear to have used low estimates of flow per home and do not take into account the expected buildout over the next decade.  Why is this important?  First, as the flow requirements increase during peak periods or after power outages, the operating pressures go up significantly, leading to increased failures.  More importantly, the increased design flow means that the proposed shallow injection wells cannot be permitted.  Instead, injection wells of over 2,000 feet must be drilled.  Consider where one to two million gallons of partially treated water will go when it is injected into porous limestone only 120 feet deep.  Independent scientists predict decreased water quality, algae blooms, and a general deterioration in water quality in the Cudjoe Key, Sugarloaf Key and Summerland Key areas.

Finally, there is the legal issue of equality.  Simply stated, the Monroe County Board of County Commissioners decided to convert some subdivisions from grinder to gravity with no real rationale.  The Commissioners simply drew a line on a spread sheet and pronounced the ones below a certain cost to be gravity and those above to be a pressure system.  What was the basis for this decision?  What analysis was done?  Was there a lifecycle study?  Were there other subdivisions not on the list that were below the line?  The decision was made on the fly, by five Commissioners, at a monthly meeting, with no analytical support.  We know there is a section of Lower Sugarloaf that has a lower estimated conversion cost but was not on the spreadsheet and therefore ignored.  No lifecycle analysis has been conducted since 2009 to get the real cost of these systems.  That is interesting since when the bids came in the cost of gravity components were about 29% lower than estimated while the low pressure system was 9% lower.  Further, the LifeCycle analysis performed by Matthews consulting assumed every system has a life of only 20 years.  Without considering different life’s for different systems it was worthless.

What is the solution and how is it paid for?  It has taken me 18 months, the review of thousands of pages of regulations, design documents and construction contracts, input from other engineers, scientists and economists, as well as hours of financial and engineering analysis to reach this point.  Here is the blunt answer:

  1. Get rid of all grinder pumps on individual properties.  About 1,200 of the remaining 1,500 planned grinder pumps are in subdivisions and can be converted to gravity.  The FKAA has stated that they can do it if the BOCC approves the incremental cost of $18 million.
  2. Install Septic Tank Effluent Pump (STEP) systems on the remaining 300 properties.  These cost about $20,000 per home, of which the homeowner has already contributed $4,500 and a bonus is that the EPA pays for 75% of the cost, meaning that the cost of these remote locations will be minimal and reduce the overall cost.
  3. Redesign the lift stations so that they comply with State and Federal code.  Select explosion proof motors that will work within the system. Since there will be no individual grinder pumps, a uniform design can be selected that meets the pressure and flow requirements.  Install Telemetry equipment which will verify flows leaving the lift with those aggregated at the main header or booster pumps.  This will minimize unidentified leaks.
  4. Abandon the shallow injection well at the treatment plant  and install deep injection wells the system requires and our environment deserves.
  5. Minimize the use of temporary injection wells on Big Pine in order to reduce the degradation of the freshwater lens.  This is done by installing gravity lines in wet trenches and by dissipating fresh water pumped from trenches on or near the surface so it returns t the fresh water lens.What will this cost and where does the money come from?
Action Cost per unit

Estimated Total Cost

Conversion of 1,200 grinder pumps to gravity $15,000 per unit

$18 mil

Convert 300 grinder pumps to STEP Save $7,000 per unit

-$2.1 mil

Replace 120’ shallow well with  2,000’ deep injection well  Estimate $5 -8 mil

$8 mil

Total up front construction cost

 Approx $25 mil

Where does this money come from?  As I stated earlier, in 2011 there were no secure funds.  Now we have about millions from the state (part of $50 mil in 2012 and 2014 awards), an extension of the infrastructure tax that will generate $13 million per year in unincorporated Monroe County or almost $200 million from 2018 through 2033.  This money can be monetized into bonds.  What will the total cost of a proper system be?  It was estimated to be $192 million in May 2012 when the County presented its plan, as required by the DEP.  Based on present commitments, it will now be near that level.

Is the cost to the County really $25 million more?  No!  That is the upfront cost only.  A properly performed lifecycle analysis shows that pressurized grinder pump system costs twice as much per home as gravity.  Second, as the system grows, with Little Palm, and general build-out of the lower keys, the 1 MGD inflow will require deeper wells at some point.  So it’s pay now for a proper system or later for a substandard one.

In conclusion, with the plan I propose, the citizens and rate payers in Monroe County get an effective, efficient, reliable and environmentally superior system for a reasonable cost that is paid for out of money that was originally targeted for this very purpose.

_____________________________________________

MORE CORRESPONDENCE WITH OUR PUBLICLY SUPPORTED GOVERNMENT WORKERS …

Dear Ms. Hazleton,

Thank you for your personal response. Please also forward this email to the Governor’s Office of Citizens Services.

Dump the Pumps, Inc has six legal petitions formally filed against DEP with no appropriate response to any of them. This past Friday we filed suit for Writ of Mandamus in Circuit Court. Do you really think we would go this far if there was meaningful dialogue with DEP?

Your suggestion asks us to deal with the fox that is in the hen house.

The governor should make himself aware of the scofflaw approach DEP takes toward dealing with the public. Full details of the issues are available upon request.

Banks Prevatt, Pres.
Dump the Pumps, Inc.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
In a message dated 5/16/2014 1:56:08 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time, scottopengov@eog.myflorida.com writes:

Dear Mr. Prevatt;
Thank you for contacting the Office of Open Government. By copy herein, we are forwarding your message to the Governor’s Office of Citizen Services for review. In addition, it may be beneficial for you to contact the Ombudsman for the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), John Calhoun. If you have been in contact with the DEP Inspector General, possibly Mr. Calhoun can consult with the agency Inspector General in working toward resolution of this issue. You may reach Mr. Calhoun at John.Calhoun@dep.state.fl.us or at 850-245-2118.

Sincerely,
Bonnie Hazleton
Director of Open Government
Executive Office of Governor Rick Scott
PL-04 The Capitol
Tallahassee, FL 32399
850-717-9248

Please note that Florida has a broad public records law, and that all correspondence to me via email may be subject to disclosure. Under Florida law email addresses are public records.

Learn more about how Governor Rick Scott is creating an environment where private-sector jobs can grow and Florida’s schools prepare students for college and careers.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

From: Bgprevatt@aol.com
Sent: Thursday, May 15, 2014 3:08 PM
To: Scott Open Government
Cc: Governor Rick Scott; bop@eog.myfl.com; Weiss, Christian; kelsey_wilson@billnelson.senate.gov; nick_colella@rubio.senate.gov; bigpinenews@aol.com; tohara@keysnews.com; pclarin@keysnews.com; news@flkeysmedia.com
Subject: Intervention Requested

The Office of Open Government is charged with providing both the Executive Office of the Governor and each of Florida’s agencies with the guidance and tools to serve Florida with integrity and transparency.

A copy of this was sent under separate cover to your Attorney General, and your Chief Inspector General.

Banks Prevatt, President
Dump the Pumps, Inc.

_____________________________________________

Corespondence with

Brian Powell
Fish and Wildlife Biologist
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Mr Powell,
Thank you for your response to inquiries made well over a month ago.  You make a couple statements:
“As was previously mentioned, regardless of the process that is utilized to complete a consultation, the Service is currently working with FKAA to evaluate the potential effects the project may have on federally listed species, including proposed and candidate species.”
“In addition to evaluating effects to listed species, the Service is currently working with the FKAA to assess these potential impacts to freshwater resources.”
FKAA is currently digging in several places on Big Pine Key as I write.  Would not an evaluation be more appropriate before the digging is done?  Or, is the plan to evaluation the damage after the fact?
Respectfully,
Banks Prevatt, President
Dump the Pumps, Inc.
PO Box 1956
Big Pine Key,  FL 33043
In a message dated 5/16/2014 1:17:06 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time, brian_powell@fws.gov writes:

This is in response to the many inquiries that have been received by various staff here at the Vero Ecological Services office as well as the Key Deer National Wildlife Refuge (Refuge).  Many of you have expressed concerns about the Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority (FKAA) project and the potential effects it may have on federally listed species.  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) appreciates your concerns and thanks you for your interest in the protection of federally listed species.  

Please know that the Service has been in communication with the FKAA since October 2013 regarding this project.  We are currently conducting an informal consultation on the project and are in the process of determining the appropriate nexus for consultation.  This project represents a series of unique challenges, both from a listed species standpoint, and as a consultation process standpoint.  I recognize that most of you are concerned that the project has been initiated without a consultation with the Service.  This is a result of the complexities associated with the permitting requirements of the project.  As designed, a large portion of the project does not require a permit from the U.S.Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), nor is there any alternate federal nexus (permitting, funding, etc.) to our knowledge.  Without such a nexus, a typical Section 7 consultation that would be initiated between the Corps (or other action agency) and the Service was not triggered.  Additionally, it has not been absolutely identified whether the project traverses through federally owned lands (Refuge land), and that is currently being evaluated.  As was previously mentioned, regardless of the process that is utilized to complete a consultation, the Service is currently working with FKAA to evaluate the potential effects the project may have on federally listed species, including proposed and candidate species.

The project primarily occurs within the right-of-way and generally will not result in disturbing adjacent native communities.  However, there is the potential for impacts to freshwater resources that may or may not be readily identifiable.  In addition to evaluating effects to listed species, the Service is currently working with the FKAA to assess these potential impacts to freshwater resources. 

Again, we appreciate your concerns and assure you that every effort is being made to ensure that the project complies with the Endangered Species Act. 

Sincerely,

Brian Powell
Fish and Wildlife Biologist
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
South Florida Ecological Service Office
1339 20th Street
Vero Beach, Fl 32960
772-469-4315 – office

________________________________________________________

 

Sewer funding article In KW Citizen.

 

 

KEY LARGO — Key Largo wastewater officials expect to be on the receiving end of millions of dollars from this year’s state budget. What to do with all that money, though, continues to baffle them.

The Florida Legislature recently approved a second $50 million installment from a $200 million grant for Florida Keys wastewater construction. The $50 million is to be split among Florida Keys governments, with the Key Largo Wastewater Treatment District set to receive $17 million.

Though the Legislature approved the disbursement of funds, Gov. Rick Scott could still veto the measure before he signs the budget. This is unlikely, though, as he has also included the grant money in his proposed spending plan. The money can only be used for new construction and not to pay down existing debt.

The Key Largo district has earmarked half of the money for upgrades at its main treatment plant and for grinder pump installation on remote properties.

How to use the remaining funds is still undetermined.So far, spending it on a water reclamation system has been at the forefront of the district’s discussions. Such a system, however, carries an estimated $8.5 million price tag and has board members split…..Click to read MORE Dilemma: Money for what?

 

___________________________________________________________________

 

To: Holly.Raschein@myfloridahouse.gov
CC: Bgprevatt@aol.com
Sent: 5/14/2014 10:57:40 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time
Subj: Re: sewers
Dear Holly,
 Maybe you remember me, I wrote to you before regarding sewer issues and the many reasons why Grinder Pumps should NOT be used in the Keys, see my letter below with your reply.
This was in our paper today. If there is so much money available and you can’t figure out where to spend it, then why are the Lower Keys being forced to go on the most unreliable sewer system available, Grinder Pumps?
Why isn’t this money going towards Gravity Sewer connections for ALL of the Keys? …
~~~~~~~~~~
On Jan 10, 2014, at 5:25 PM, Raschein, Holly wrote:


Dear Paula,
Thanks so much for taking the time to write to me and share your letter.  I completely understand your concerns, this is a painful but also a necessary process to protect our waters.  My staff and I have been following the issue with the grinder pumps in the Lower Keys closely, and I have been urging our local government officials to work with our constituents to try to come to some sort of resolution that everyone can live with.  Trying to fund this massive project is also a huge hurdle we have to overcome and I am knocking down doors in Tallahassee, doing everything I can to bring more state funding to our sewer projects.
Thanks again for touching base.
Cheers! Holly
~~~~~~~~~~~~

Dear Commissioners,

I live on Big Pine Key and received notice we are going to go on a Grinder Pump instead of the Gravity System. We attended the FKAA meeting but to our surprise, none of you were present, nor were you present at the North region meeting at the Vinyard. It was clear from the crowds reaction that the vast marjority did not want to be on grinder pumps and anger escalated because part of Port Pine Heights was switched to gravity while all other areas were not. The Florida Keys are unique in many ways from other locations where Grinder Pumps are used. This must be taken into consideration.

As you know, all of the keys and their waterways are areas of critical concern and most of Big Pine Key is a Federal Refuge. This is why the sewer plan was put in place to begin with, to treat sewage so that it would stop polluting our fragile islands and leach into waters, degrading our reefs, sea life and water quality. Nobody is disputing this. What we do take issue with is this completely short sighted plan to install hundreds of Grinder Pumps that will likely escalate these environmntal problems rather then correct them. Why remove septic tanks then switch to a system that will do just as much damage and cost everyone far more. Gravity is the only long term solution, grinder pumps are a temporary patch with long term implications that will continue to cost everyone money.

Grinder pumps have been a miserable failure in other parts of Florida where they backed up onto the land, waterways as well as homes during hurricanes and ultimately had to be replaced with a better system such as gravity or vacuum. We are at a far greater risk of that happening here and impacts will greatly outweigh those of the mainland due to our unique geography. We are on fragile islands at sea level, on rock and surrounded by water. Pipes break and leak and are not detectable on grinder pump systems and when we have another storm surge and the power is out for weeks, raw sewage will float right into the sea, from every direction. This is basically what happens now, with septic tanks. So why I ask you, would you choose to put so many neighborhoods on grinder pumps rather then gravity or even a vacuum system? The maintenance at so many hundreds of individual sites alone will be impractical if not impossible for the small FKAA staff. I can understand using a grinder pump when there is one home miles out from a neighborhood or a driveway several hundred feet long, then yes, it is appropriate, but we are talking about developed neighborhoods which are just like Port Pine Heights, that you chose to put on an inferior system, when we should ALL be on gravity.

Aside from the main and most important Environmental reason, there are far more reasons why these grinder pumps won’t work in the Keys.
*A great majority of residents are seasonal, grinder pumps fail more frequently when not in use for long periods, what will this cost the tax payers and homeowners? Will our sewer bills keep going up as these pumps constantly fail?
*Many homes are rented both short and long term, there is no way to control who will flush what.
*Children flush everything, do we now need childproof bathrooms?
*Many lock their gates for security reasons while away. How will FKAA get into the many locked gates when the grinder pump alarms start going off and the owners are up north or their electric gate won’t open due to a power outage?
*We had no power for three weeks during Wilma but we could still flush with a bucket of water, try that with a grinder pump and you will need rubber boots. Fill your bathtub so you have water during a hurricane? Not anymore, drain it and it’s a backup right into your tub and shower! Insurance won’t pay for damages or cleanup.
*We were told at the meeting FKAA would send out trucks with generators in the event of a long term outage!  LOL! This is not possible and you and FKAA know it. There is not enough staff or trucks to come close to addressing so many hundreds of grinder pumps during a power outage, this is pure insanity!
*Then there is the issue of having to pay an electrician to put in 220 so I can install “county equipment” on my property and lose use of 100 sq. foot minimum not counting the trench length, where I can no longer have trees. Who will ultimately pay for maintenance, repairs etc. long term? We were told FKAA would, is that what the folks in Key Largo were told too? Will this all fall on the proud new grinder pump owners in the future after the warranty expires or will it show up on everyones sewer bill?
The list goes on.

You keep telling us grinder pumps are a good system that you fully support, but much evidence to the contrary raises too many questions to be ignored and makes me wonder how you came to that conclusion. Just what is good about them? Money seems to be at the forefront as always, yet their seems to be plenty of it from the recent list of projects and purchases that you all have approved and put ahead of what should be priority number one, a valid GRAVITY SEWER STSTEM to protect our environment, waters and reefs so tourists will actually still have reason to come.

FKAA said they support Gravity in the Keys but need YOU to approve the funding which we have all been paying in taxes for many years. Our money is in your hands and it should be used for the number one priority issue in the Keys, a Gravity Sewer System to insure future land, water and reef quality.
This is the whole point of a sewer project!

I ask that you please choose Gravity Systems for ALL neighborhoods. It is by far, the best and only choice for the people and our Florida Keys….

 

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RE: FKAA Threats

 

Several of you contacted me in the last few days about pressure or threats you received from FKAA.  One of you related yesterday that you were told if you did not allow the contractor to install the grinder pump on your property now while work was being done in your neighborhood, that you would be responsible for installing it later at your cost of $6,000.

 

 

My suggestion is still the same as it has been all along.  Ask the person making such a threat to please put the statement in writing and sign their name to it.

 

 

I continue to hear about verbal threats.  I have not seen one in writing.

 

 

You have to push back, or with the attitude exemplified by your friendly public servants of FKAA, they will walk all over you.

 

 

Banks

 

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Response from the Chief Inspector General of the State of Florida.

William2014051000015.13.14Click image for larger view

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For new members of Dump the Pumps, Inc.  there is a lot of history summarized is this post

 

From: xxx@gmail.com
To: cig@eog.myflorida.comSent: 5/10/2014 11:00:55 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time
Subj: Intervention urgently needed!

 

Good morning, Ms. Miguel.

Your website states, “Our goal is to enhance public trust in government.”

You have your work cut out for you to restore any trust at all in the lower Florida Keys. But I sincerely hope you try.

Here is a brief review of what’s been happening while one state agency oversaw another bubba state agency. So much has happened that even a brief review with minimal explanation is still lengthy, and for that, my apologies.

State agency Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority (FKAA) intentionally misled the populace within the Cudjoe Regional Wastewater System (CRWS) islands of Lower Sugarloaf through Big Pine Key into thinking they would be served by a conventional gravity sewer system unless they were in very sparsely populated areas. This was in violation of requirements of the SRF funding of the CRWS project.

FKAA then awarded contracts that sole-sourced a brand of grinder pump only available from one dealer (E-one pumps sold by Water Resource Technologies) in clear violation of public purchasing laws.

Once the construction contracts were awarded, FKAA then announced that vast areas of the CRWS would be “served” by a “low pressure sewer” (LPS) that would require homeowners to surrender a perpetual easement on their property. The easement is for FKAA, successors, and assigns to install, monitor, service, and replace an E-1 sewage grinder pump station that has a horrifying record of dissatisfaction, failure, overflow, back-up, property destruction, and infrastructure destruction. Many of these were to be installed in quite densely populated areas- some of these areas being more densely populated than areas served by conventional gravity sewers. Obviously this was not well received by the public and accusations of graft abounded and still do. One group sprang up to challenge the wholesale use of grinder pumps in the Cudjoe area, the Sir Isaac Newton Coalition. You will find a “Report to Governor Scott” on their web pageshttp://www.newtoncoalition.com/ that leaves little doubt that the “fix was in” for E-1 grinder pumps. Other islands of the CRWS began to slowly band together and formed a grass roots organization Dump the Pumps, Inc. (DTP) to lobby for change from E-1.

DTP members began researching the E-1 pump, places it had been used, and technical specifics of the design. What they found was increasingly disturbing. Getting nowhere with FKAA, DTP filed an intent to sue DEP and FKAA, outlining some specifics of where FKAA and their engineers had not followed even bare minimum required design standards as defined by the Florida Administrative Code (F.A.C.) and had furthermore used misleading or false statements on the DEP permit applications. Both are grounds for revocation of the permits per 62-4.100 F.A.C .

State agency DEP ignored the threat of lawsuit for nearly the entire 30 days allowed, then claimed they needed an additional 30 days to review the claims. DTP agreed subject to a temporary cease work on the grinder-LPS portion of the work.

DEP demanded an unconditional 30 days, and feigned sincere interest. DTP agreed, thinking that maybe DEP was sincere.

Meanwhile, FKAA focused all efforts on LPS construction and grinder pit installation. Construction went from dawn until frequently after dark 6 days a week. Crews jumped around, placing LPS-grinder infrastructure in the most densely populated areas first. High pressure and threatening tactics of duress were used to secure easements from unwilling homeowners.

DEP was largely uncooperative during the 30 day time extension, stalling on requests for information that was readily available and being generally uncommunicative while they used up their entire 30 day extension for something that would have required the attention of a single competent engineer for a few hours.

DEP answered DTP at the end of the 30 day extension with a brief statement that said they found no validity to the claims. There was not one word of explanation. It was just a disrespectful dismissal after allowing two months of construction that they were noticed was not to even minimum standards in an Area of Critical Concern where failure of the system would impact Outstanding Florida Waters in a National Marine Sanctuary.

As a result of an injunction request by the Sir Issac Newton Coalition and the presentation to the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) of a petition signed by several hundred CRWS homeowners, approximately 1100 of an initial 2800+ properties that were to be served by individual grinder pump stations were resolved by the BOCC to be converted to gravity sewer service. About three months later another 800+ were resolved to be converted. It should have been more. The FKAA estimates for conversion of grinder/LPS areas were intentionally and deceptively made to appear far more expensive than they actually were. Deleted infrastructure was credited at a lower unit cost than the exact same infrastructure was charged as an addition. At times it was the exact same pipe in the same place. Densely populated areas were grouped with very remote properties to drive up the average price of conversion. Two commissioners would have approved even the inflated prices, but three wanted to misappropriate an infrastructure sales tax addition that was very specifically described and voted by referendum to fund sewers.

Because of the conversions noted above, FKAA had to seek revised permits for Upper Sugarloaf Key and Cudjoe Key. DTP protested the continued construction of a system not to minimum standards of the Florida Administrative Code and using E-1 brand pumps that are in violation of the National Electric Code with known risk of explosion in neighborhood lift stations. The protest was made by Petition for an Administrative Hearing within 14 days of Notice of Intent to Issue a Permit pursuant to Sections 120.569 and 120.57, Fla. Stat., and Rule 28-106.201, F.A.C.. Such a formal filing renders the permit ineffective pending the results of the hearing. Similar Petitions were filed against the initial permits issued by DEP for Big Pine Key North, Big Pine Key South, and Little Palm Island.

It should be noted that FKAA has published the required Notice of Intent for injection wells in a newspaper in Broward County, two counties away and not in general circulation in this county. DEP has accepted that intentional deceit as meeting the intent of the law to publish public notice.

Knowing their permits were legally rendered ineffective, FKAA continued work on grinder pump LPS construction and their Executive Director boasted about it on US 1 Radio. Furthermore, DEP advised FKAA to ignore the Petition filings and this was also announced on the radio on a later day.

One County Commissioner announced on the radio that he had met with the head of DEP and they had decided that sewer work would “go forward”. Note that this is one commissioner out of five, with no specific authority to speak for other than himself.

DTP never had an official membership roster until about two hours before the Petition was filed against the Big Pine North permit and the attorney said one was needed. A hasty email appeal to the more than 350 on the email update list brought 36 replies in time for the filing saying to count them as official members. Thirty-six is therefore the number of members used on the first permit protests. FKAA’s Executive Director mocked the membership number on the radio in an effort to deceive listeners into thinking only a few people were against a grinder based sewer. This he did knowing full well that DTP has a petition against grinder pumps with over 1450 signatures. Hours were spent trying ensure there were no duplicate signatures. Many of DTP’s most fervent supporters are not on a membership roster and not even on the anti-grinder petition because they work directly or indirectly for the County or FKAA and wish to avoid employment retributions.

DTP has spent many thousands of dollars collected in donations as small as $10 to a maximum of $500 from individual homeowners to pursue legal remedies as described in the Florida Statutes to make the DEP simply enforce minimum design standards detailed in the Florida Administrative Code. Is that so much to ask of a state regulatory agency entrusted with protection of Florida’s most valuable asset? Scofflaw state agencies FKAA and DEP ignore the law, blatantly disrespect the citizens, and endanger the environment.

Are Florida’s laws only enforced against small business and individuals?

Will these two state agencies, entrusted with protection of the environment and the public health, be allowed to make a mockery of legislation intended to ensure that these protections exist?

Will you take prompt action to remedy the situation, beginning with ordering an immediate cease and desist of challenged construction pending an impartial administrative hearing as guaranteed by law?

Please acknowledge receipt and please reply as soon as you have verified that this is not a fabrication. Thousands are counting on you to see that Florida law is upheld, and that there is indeed a rule of law. Thank you for your attention….

 

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To Monroe County Commissioners:
You are herewith noticed that FKAA and contractors installing dry lines on Big Pine Key and Upper Sugarloaf Key are operating without valid DEP permits.
Respectfully,
Banks Prevatt, President
Dump the Pumps, Inc.

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Two in Monroe county, Pa.
One was 40 homes with no sewer over a week due to a half mile forcemain blockage, another was 12 of 51 homes sewage back-up and overflowing into yards and homes- no explanation of what happened.

http://www.pahomepage.com/story/d/story/sewage-spews-onto-pocono-properties/38596/F13xGv_98UuZAwF7CyYJ4A

http://wnep.com/2013/06/25/dep-wrong-pump-caused-sewer-problem/

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You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to know that the Cudjoe sewer design is FUBAR. I was recently looking at the gravity lift station designs on the North end of Little Torch Key. There are 6 of them up there and they use the cursed residential E/One grinder pumps in multiples. Each pump puts out a stream almost identical to what you get from your garden hose. Do you suppose 4 pumps of that capacity can keep up with the flow from 108 households at breakfast or bedtime? Of course not, but that is what is designed. When you compare the 6 lift stations you discover that the lift station collecting from 108 households supposedly has less flow coming in than the one collecting from 78 or from 86. And the one collecting from 65 households supposedly has less flow coming in than the one collecting from 53. Even with the ridiculously low estimated flows, there is more wastewater coming in than the 4 duty pumps are approved to handle as a maximum by the manufacturer. If they had designed according to the minimum criteria, the flow would be 230% of what they actually designed for. You can understand why highly paid FKAA engineers are pretending nothing is wrong, but why is the DEP letting this stuff slide? What is the point of completing the system if it does not work? My friends in Little Torch will be living next to cesspits from the overflows instead of beautiful clean swimming canals. Make them Dump the Pumps!

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A course of action that would appear to lead to a good outcome, but when undertaken, leads to a situation that is utterly out of control beyond human comprehension.
Instead of being over in a weekend, project Iraqi Freedom turned out to be a shitstorm.

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My guess is that this was a bad check valve (or one that broke from too much back pressure) and when all the pumps tried to pump at once, the pressure in the forcemain backed up to the pump and blew off the hose clamp in the pit, thus connecting the home’s plumbing to the forcemain. It was path of least resistance for everybody else’s crap to go into their house instead of to the plant. This is a scenario I have seen likely happening here and warned about previously.
E-1 uses 200psi strength pipe to the street, not 300 as stated in the meeting. The pump can go to 180. Really not “low pressure sewer”.

http://www.westportnow.com/index.php?/v2_5/comments/raw_sewage_flooding_home_sparks_outrage/

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Found two in Monroe county, Pa.
One was 40 homes with no sewer over a week due to a half mile forcemain blockage, another was 12 of 51 homes sewage back-up and overflowing into yards and homes- no explanation of what happened.

http://www.pahomepage.com/story/d/story/sewage-spews-onto-pocono-properties/38596/F13xGv_98UuZAwF7CyYJ4A

http://wnep.com/2013/06/25/dep-wrong-pump-caused-sewer-problem/

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To All:
Those of you at our Sunday meeting were briefed on our short term goals and received a  preview of some of our long term goals.  For all, I want to confirm some of our actions in the last several days.
    1.  Petition filled against FKAA permits issued by DEP for Big Pine Key North.
    2.  Petition filled against FKAA permits issued by DEP for Big Pine Key South.
    3.  Petition filled against FKAA modified permits issued by DEP for Upper Sugarloaf Key.
These actions invalidate the permits under which FKAA is working.  Construction on Big Pine and Upper Sugarloaf should cease.  If you see any sewer construction on Big Pine or Upper Sugarloaf, please let me know.  I will have our attorney move for a cease and desist until the appropriate hearings are concluded.
We have not won anything yet, but our presence will be felt immediately
At our Sunday meeting we discussed longer range actions that are on the drawing board; I will not address them here.
We are finally moving strongly on the legal front; and though some may feel we lost valuable time, I feel we developed a solid foundation.
It goes without saying, we are spending money.  Contributions continue to come in by way of checks and our website PayPal account, but legal expenses will accelerate; so anything you can do will be helpful and appreciated.
You can Use our PayPal link or  mail contributions to:
Dump the Pumps, Inc.
PO Box 431956
Big Pine Key, FL 33043
Thank You
Banks

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Download click here Germantown Hills grinder warnings

From a Germantown Hills, Illinois webpage at http://www.germantownhills.com/wola/grinder_pumps.htm

Key points have been highlighted.

“Information about Grinder pumps

For sewage emergencies call the Village Hall 383-2209 day or night.

Sewage flows from your home via gravity to the holding tank located on the homeowner’s property. A grinder pump at the bottom of the tank ejects the waste into the village sewage main located in the homeowner’s neighborhood. When the fluid level rises, about the bottom third of your tank, a float switch activates and the pump turns on and runs till the tank is mostly empty. The pump has a check valve that keeps the sewage from coming back down the pipe from the neighborhood system. The neighborhood system is under pressure. A second float located above the first float comes on if the fluid level reaches emergency levels. When this higher level is attained a steady red warning light on the control panel activates. Typically at this point the pump has failed and fluid levels in the tank are too high.

Floats may become clogged with grease from your kitchen sink and cause the first float to stick and not activate. Or the pump may fail to activate for some other reason. At this point the homeowner should cease discharging fluids down the drain. However, there is some reserve capacity that will be used up before any intrusion will occur into your home. Older systems have only a visible steady red warning light to alert the homeowner. A 100-db audible high-level alarm is available from the village for a $150 installation fee. Some of the older systems are wired in such way that if the pump trips the circuit breaker then the alarm will fail too, you will not know you have a problem until sewage is coming into your basement. A floor alarm will let you know there is a problem if you are home to hear it.

If your pump fails you will have some reserve capacity. The homeowner’s tank may have 30 to 70 gallons of reserve capacity and a 4-inch sewer pipe will hold two thirds of a gallon per linear foot. On the average… each home may have about 100 gallons of reserve capacity depending on how much fluid is in the tank when it fails and how much sewage pipe the home has underground below their lowest drain. If your pump should fail the homeowner should cease sending additional fluids down the drain and contact the village hall immediately. The village has an automated answering system and after business hours it will page an “on Call waste treatment service technician”. The homeowner should make a note of the village hall phone number and keep it readily accessible.

For sewage emergencies call the Village Hall 383-2209 day or night.

The pipes and valves in the tank are all made of PVC material and should not corrode. However, they could break, melt or fall apart. These pipes hold back the pressure from the neighborhood’s main sewage pipe that runs down your street. The output of the homeowner’s grinder pump goes straight up a few feet through a plastic PVC pipe then turns at a 90 degree elbow then passes through an emergency shut off valve which is normally open.

Should the pump, check-valve, shutoff valve, elbow or connecting pipes inside the holding tank loose integrity and fail to hold back the pressure from the neighborhood system then pressurized sewage will invade the tank. In this situation if the lid to the holding tank is unbolted or loosened raw sewage may overflow the top of the tank and spill into your yard. There is no second check-valve at the street connection protecting the homeowner’s system from the neighborhood’s system pressure. There is a shut- off valve at the street connection to isolate the homeowner’s system from the neighborhood system but this valve is always open.

In the event of a failure of the pressurized part of the homeowner’s system raw sewage will invade the holding tank, the reserve capacity could be used up in only a few minutes. After the reserve capacity is full sewage may back up into the homeowners sewage draining pipes. An intrusion of raw sewage and damage to your home may occur. The flow rate and head pressure of the flood may be affected by your elevation and severity of the breakage.

During one such breakage event the flow rate was calculated to be at least 650 gallons per hour. A1600 square foot basement could be flooded by raw sewage at the rate of almost an inch/hour. In this real situation damage probably began to occur in less then 13 minutes.

The homeowner should take steps to add additional insurance coverage for intrusion of sewage into their home, as most insurance companies will not include this coverage in the standard homeowner’s policy. The homeowner should specifically ask their homeowner’s insurance agent for a “sewage backup protection rider” to their standard homeowner’s policy.

The village’s responsibility is to maintain the grinder pump, controls and conduct regular inspections to insure proper operation of the homeowner’s grinder pump system. The homeowner must provide a 220-volt service to operate the pump. If the pump fails eventually the high level float will activate the alarm system. However, in many of the older systems the alarm system is powered by the same 220-volt service that powers the pump. If the pump has overloaded and tripped the 220-volt circuit breaker the high alarm will not activate either. At this point the homeowner will not know there is a problem until sewage begins to backup into their lowest drains (typically basement floor drains). Homeowners should take precautions to install basement floor drain alarms to alert them of pending backups. If a backup of this type occurs the homeowner should immediately stop sending fluids down the drain to minimize the flood. (Recommendations: Turn off sinks, dishwasher, clothes washer, and water softener etc., DO NOT FLUSH TOILETS).

Typically if sewage backs up into your home the cost of cleanup and repairs will be the homeowner’s responsibility! Expect to pay several thousand dollars out of pocket just for a professional cleanup. Insurance for this loss can be purchased for an additional fee, contact your home owner insurance agent.

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Meeting Tonight 4/22/2014

 starting at 6:30.Location: Eco-Discovery Center at 35 East Quay Rd, Key West

Sponsored by:
1. Everglades Law Center, Inc.
2. Last Stand.

This meeting is about Keys water quality. We need representatives for Dump the Pumps to meet, greet and network with the folks from Everglades Law Center and Last Stand.

One of our members, a Marine Biologist, has been in touch with the Everglades Law Center about our plight, and they are looking forward to talking with us this evening.
Check this link:
http://thebluepaper.com/article/save-the-date-keys-water-quality-the-buck-stops-here/

 

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MORE sewer spill reports from a Maryland grinder- based LPS system. Our correspondent had a cottage there. The estimated spill from just the duplex grinder pump station was 1200 gallons!
Notice that they found the bigger leak because it was flowing out from a valve box. How many gallons are injecting into the soil from smaller leaks?

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Obstruction by grease is the most prevalent cause of sewer force main backups and sewage overflows. The Cudjoe Regional Sewer system has forcemains that are just plain too long for the pumps connected. They could have added expensive booster pump stations, but instead they made the forcemains larger in diameter to lower the “head loss” (pressure loss) from friction in squeezing the sewage through the pipe. When the pipe is wider, the head loss is less but the velocity through the pipe is less, too. The DEP demands 2.0 feet per second of velocity as a minimum. FKAA did not and cannot achieve that on many side streets, but did make 2 ft/sec on the transmission mains (the trunk line) during calculated peak flows, so at least those might be interpreted as legal. But with the intermittent flow they have, they need 3 to 5 ft/sec at least once per day to scour grease and deposits that might otherwise clog the pipe. They do not have it and cannot get it without a redesign. Attached is a photo of an 8″ diameter sewer forcemain that did not have enough velocity to keep the grease moving. A 2″ forcemain will clog more easily. This sewer system is doomed to failure and must be redesigned. The Grinder pump based LPS is especially at risk because of the slow E-1 brand pump selected and the high seasonal population… SIGN THE PETITION!

grease pump

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More Sewage Spillage

(guaranteed to happen here. How many stories of overflowing septic tanks closing beaches?)
and a bunch of other spill stories:
(CBS tracks them!)
Gross photo of boat at dock with sewage scum floating beside it, with sewage spill story:
Raw spill stories are sure not hard to find!

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Sewage Spill  Grinder Pump Plugged Lateral

Three days ago, Raw Sewage flooded into the protected waters of Monterey Bay, closing the beaches. Details are sketchy, but with a plumber freeing a sewer clog resulting in a release that big, it had to be a pressure sewer. That could happen if a grinder pump lateral plugged up. The plumber opens the pipe, breaks through the clog, and the sewage in the forcemain doesn’t go downstream like with a gravity sewer. Instead, Pressurized Raw Sewage in the line blows back through the open pipe where the plumber was working. In this case, it flowed into a storm drain, but here it would flow into a canal. The story made local TV news and then the world. http://www.kionrightnow.com/news/local-news/hundreds-of-gallons-raw-sewage-spill-into-monterey-bay/-/23047192/24404044/-/12cwfib/-/index.html

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CAN THEY READ? Some of our County Commissioners have been dismissing the well-researched information given them about the horrors of grinder pump sewer systems in general and the specifics of the idiotic design intended here, preferring to “depend on the advice of our expert”, Kevin Wilson, who assures anyone who will listen that, “This is a robust design.”

We thought, “What makes him such an expert?” Well, we found his resume (as published public information) to see what his background was before he was hired as an inspector on the Murray Nelson Center after his 6-7 months of unemployment. What do you think? Do you see a lot of sewer experience or specific education that makes him such an expert? Here is his resume… http://fl-monroecounty.civicplus.com/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Item/2381?fileID=2221

KWilsonResume1a

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Dump The Pumps Legal Complaint

COVER LETTER:

January 17, 2014
Herschel T. Vinyard, Secretary
Florida Department of Environmental Protection
3900 Commonwealth Boulevard M. S. 49
Tallahassee, FL 32399
RE:Complain

Dear Secretary Vinyard,

Pursuant to Section 403.412(2) Fla. Stat., this group of concerned citizens is proceeding with available remedies.
Respectfully,

Banks Prevatt,
President Dump the Pumps, Inc.

COMPLAINT:

IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE SIXTEENTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT IN AND FOR MONROE COUNTY, FLORIDA
KEY WEST DIVISION

DUMP the PUMPS, INC., a NON-PROFIT, FLORIDA CORPORATION,

Plaintiffs,

CASE NO: _

FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL
PROTECTION and the FLORIDA KEYS AQUEDUCT AUTHORITY,

Defendants.

COMPLAINT PURSUANT TO SECTION 403.412 AND CHAPTER 86,
FLORIDA STATUTES

COMES NOW, Plaintiff, by and through its undersigned counsel, who hereby files this Complaint seeking to compel the Defendant Florida Department of Environmental Protection (“DEP”) to enforce the laws, rules and regulations for the protection of the waters lying beneath and surrounding the Lower Florida Keys as well as for the protection of other natural resources within the environment of the Lower Florida Keys. Pursuant to Section 403.412 (2), Fla. Stat., Plaintiff seeks an injunction compelling the DEP to enforce its laws, rules and regulations with regard to certain permits issued by the DEP to the Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority (“FKAA”) for the construction of a wastewater collection system within the Lower Keys. In support of its Complaint, Plaintiff avers the following: READ THE ENTIRE COMPLAINT CLICK HERE

SEE LEGAL EXHIBIT A Click Here

SEE LEGAL EXHIBIT B Click Here

SEE LEGAL EXHIBIT C Click Here

SEE LEGAL EXHIBIT D Click Here

SEE LEGAL EXHIBIT E Click Here

SEE LEGAL EXHIBIT F Click Here

SEE LEGAL EXHIBIT G Click Here

SEE LEGAL EXHIBIT H Click Here

If you have trouble opening the above links please copy and paste the links below into your browser address bar.

http://dumpthepumps.com/PDFs/Complalint.pdf

http://dumpthepumps.com/PDFs/Exhibit A.pdf

http://dumpthepumps.com/PDFs/Exhibit B.pdf

http://dumpthepumps.com/PDFs/Exhibit C.pdf

http://dumpthepumps.com/PDFs/Exhibit D.pdf

http://dumpthepumps.com/PDFs/Exhibit E.pdf

http://dumpthepumps.com/PDFs/Exhibit F.pdf

http://dumpthepumps.com/PDFs/Exhibit G.pdf

http://dumpthepumps.com/PDFs/Exhibit H.pdf
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Grinder Pumps Not what they Appear to be…

Post from BigPineKey.com, Feel free to distribute. Boy are we in deep Sh_t!

The grinder pump station in the CRWS is not the same as previously used. I believe this is the first HDPE plastic pit that FKAA has used. It is modified to seal the normal venting around the lid and thread in a mushroom-looking vent with a ball that plugs the vent if water rises around the pit. The drawing showing the pit modifications is dated 8/13/13. That shows how recent and untested this is. FKAA only saw a drawing of the pit that was delivered and some stated it was not what they expected.
If I was taking responsibility for the purchase and use of these, i would be burying one, building a berm around it and flooding it. I would also be soaking the pump in a full pit with some laundry or dish washing detergent with the power off for a few days to simulate an extended power failure. I would make it try to pump with the outlet blocked to see how long it tried before cutting out on thermal overload, to simulate what happens after power is restored and they all attempt to pump at once but can’t, or if a forcemain plugs. I would have a gauge connected to see how high the pressure would go when the outlet is plugged- can it burst the pipe? How long between thermal resets and how many cycles can it pump without damage on a plugged outlet? Zoeller pump says that the E-1 is not fully submersible. That is an extremely large issue if true, and I have it in writing. The quoted text below is what I posted on the CT.

“The E-One grinder pump station model being used for LPS sewer areas of the Cudjoe Regional is not even shown on E-One’s website (model WR171-84). It is also not E-One’s “flood-proof” model, the WH101F. I therefore surmise that this pump station may be an experimental version and we are the “beta-testers”. Before you buy a new car you usually test drive it. You would especially want to test drive it if you could not find anyone else who had one like it and you had never read a review. Knowing that “all sales are final”, would you buy a new model car without driving it enough to know it performed satisfactorily? Well, FKAA decided to make a 10 million dollar non-returnable purchase of a pump station with no track record, and modified by plastic welding the lid seam, gluing a small reinforcement patch on top and direct threading in another manufacturer’s ball stop vent without actually taking one and simulating a flood condition, or totally submerging the pump for a couple of days (a competitor says they drown), or even SEEING one before accepting the first delivery! Would you call that due diligence in expending $10 million in public funds? They can still cancel most of the order and terminate the contract. We need to Dump the Pumps now! Sign support on the petition at http://dumpthepumps.com/?page_id=86

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Letter to Governor Scott

Rick.Scott@eog.myflorida.com

date:     Tue, Jan 14, 2014 at 3:14 PM

To the Honorable Governor Scott:

Governor,

Several members of this community have written to you regarding the subject.   The canned response from your staff has been that these matters are best resolved at the local level.

The local authority that is non-responsive to local citizens is the Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority (FKAA).  The board of directors for this agency is appointed by your office.  We have no power to resolve issues with these good people.  These folks are not elected; they are your appointees.  Additionally, your office has approved $100,000,000 in funds that will be spent under the supervision of this board.  You are involved at the local level whether you like it or not.

The FKAA has a strong and good history of water production, distribution and quality control. It has virtually no experience in sewer construction.  Many are concerned that the decision making and supervisory role of the FKAA, in this matter, are flawed.  The concern is that the long term goal of placing a sewer system in the Florida Keys is being diluted by providing a hybrid system that is not ecologically sound for the Keys.

Publically and privately, the board of directors and staff of the FKAA tell us, “We prefer gravity, it has no moving parts.”  This is the most environmentally friendly and logical system to install in the Florida Keys where the whole matter began as a water quality issue 20 years ago.  Why are we not doing gravity?

The original design was a gravity system.  Somewhere along the road the design changed to a hybrid of gravity and grinder pumps.  Multiple grinder pumps in the yards of homeowners will prove less ecologically friendly with time than the septic and aerobic systems they replace.  As grinder pumps and their transmission lines leak in time to come, and they will, raw sewage will be discharged undetected at ground level.  At least septic systems provide some level of filtration.

Cape Coral, in recent years, did an extensive engineering study concerning the use of Grinder Pump technology and rejected it.  If anyone on your staff would like the report, I will send it.

On behalf of concerned citizens through a grass roots organization, we ask for your review and possible intervention.

Respectfully,

Banks Prevatt, Pres.

Dump the Pumps, Inc.

 

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Town with only about 300 grinder pumps in the system that they could not keep pumped down in a power outage and they are choking on the expense of maintaining them. Should be required reading for BOCC and the FKAA Board.

http://waterford.patch.com/groups/politics-and-elections/p/town-looking-to-pass-maintenance-burden-to-homeowners

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Grinder Pump Warranty

Manufacturer warrants the original purchaser its pump core assembly, basin, factory wiring and panel, including, but not limited to, grinder shredder ring, cutting impellers and monitoring devices against defects in workmanship and materials that may appear under normal and proper use. Obligation of this warranty will be to replace at no charge with a new or remanufactured part, FOB factory.

The Limited Service Warranty does not apply to:
•     Acts of God or any other external cause of damage
•     Misapplication of the product
•     Misuse (see manufacturer’s operation manual and local codes for relevant details)
•     Improper operation
•     Deficient installation
•     Damage caused by deficient installation
•     Damage due to infiltration from sources other than residential wastewater
•     Loss of service due to power outages
•     Bodily or personal injury of any kind
•     Property damage
•     Incidental expenses

READ MORE CLICK HERE

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Sewer Fairness Alliance of Chelmsford

To obtain equivalent sewer benefits on a par with all Chelmsford property owners

“You don’t have to win the battle, just the war”  READ MORE CLICK HERE


Protesters attend FKAA meeting

The Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority board will expand the use of gravity sewer collection systems if Monroe County gives the water and sewer utility more money for the Cudjoe Regional Wastewater Treatment System. READ MORE CLICK HERE

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Video of THE 12/18/2013 FKAA meeting on Lower Keys grinder pumps
Hi, “FU Daily” presents the entire meeting in video for your viewing pleasure if you were not able to make the highly inconvenient time of 11:00 am this Wednesday morning.  If you don’t have time to watch the full half hour, please focus on the final 10 minutes in which the “old guy” from County tells us serfs how it’s gonna be whether we like it or not.  I wonder if his position is an elected one?  If so, please feel free to share this link with friends and neighbors who may wish to make their voices heard at the polls.  “Hey, you never know.”

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Aqueduct Authority Selects High Cost Sewer Option

Given the choice of a system that is a bit more expensive initially, versus one that will cost almost twice as much over its lifetime, the Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority (FKAA) has chosen the expensive, long term option.  This is an option that every resident in the Florida Keys will pay for through the uniform rates charged by FKAA.  Over the life of the project, it will cost all Keys ratepayers almost $30 million more.

The proposed Cudjoe Regional Wastewater System (CRWS) will be a difficult and complex project.  It extends from the north side of Big Pine Key to Lower Sugarloaf Key, well over twenty miles.   One of the difficult decisions is the type of technology to use, particularly for remote and distant homes where a traditional gravity system is not technically feasible.  One option is to use a Low Pressure System (LPS) which is simply a buried tank with a grinder pump that chews up the sewage from a single house and pumps it to a central facility. This is a proven technology, but one that has very high operating and maintenance costs and has poor performance in salt environment and in tropical storms.  For example, the Key Largo system of 9,800 homes uses 152 grinder pumps.  By comparison, FKAA proposes using 2,800 grinder pumps for the 8,800 homes in the Cudjoe System.

Why would they make this type of a decision?  It stems in part from the uncertainty and level of funding the County was facing five years ago when the design was being selected.  FKAA felt driven to buy the lowest cost system regardless of its inefficiencies, long term costs, and burden on the homeowners.  What they now propose installing makes no sense given that adequate funding sources have become available and the bids came in under budget.  A look at the maps of the communities being affected shows a mix of gravity and grinder pumps in most subdivisions, with no apparent logic.  In one community, streets that are the same length with the same number of homes have different technologies. No one is suggesting we can eliminate grinder pumps, only that they should be used in the most cost effective manner.  FKAA has stated that it would cost $30 million to do all gravity.  This is a guess, since this option has not been engineered.  Our analysis suggests that maybe two-thirds of the proposed grinder pumps could be gravity at an incremental cost of $5 million to $8 million, well below the $30 million claimed.  The difficult outliers which would require miles of gravity lines would still be LPS.  Given that the bids have actually come in well below the budgeted amount, no new sources of money would be needed.

The residents of Cudjoe Gardens at MM21 first became aware of this silliness in February and began to investigate.    What we found was alarming.  The modeling performed in 2008 to support its decision was filled with serious flaws.  In fact there are seven serious errors, every one of which favored the grinder pumps.  If you are a gambler, you will know that the odds of seven random events occurring in the same direction seven times are 127 to 1.  Lucky us!

The residents of Cudjoe Gardens asked what all gravity for our subdivision would cost.  The data provided suggested it would be over $700,000.  However, this proposed revision had many errors and assumed large lift stations and drain lines would be used even for a dozen homes.  When we reengineered the Cudjoe Gardens example, using actual number of homes, the appropriate sized lines and lift stations, we found there is very little cost difference between gravity and LPS.

The corrections showed that the slight advantage the LPS had in the original analysis ($2 million) became a $30 million deficit when the right analytical methodology was utilized.  Further, the grinder pumps are a real burden to homeowners.  They require a separate electric source, with installation paid by the homeowner.  They must be treated with a gentle hand.  No sand, coral, shells, coins, plastic toys, diapers, etc, or the pumps will fail.  Each unit has a pump, motor, check valve, electrical control system, anti-siphon valve and two level switches.  All of which will eventually fail.  When the unit does fail, the homeowner must severely limit use of toilets and other water sources or there will be sewage spills, a violation of State law.  During extended electrical outages, portable generators must be used to pump each of the units on a daily basis.  The analysis indicates that a total of thirteen trucks working twelve hours a day, seven days a week will be needed just to give minimal use to homeowners during outages.  This proposed system will require a significant increase in the staffing at the Aqueduct Authority to repair and replace these units and to respond during storms.

Everyone agrees that grinder pumps will be necessary in remote regions of the Cudjoe System.  However, the plan currently proposed has twice the lifecycle cost of gravity, is intrusive, unreliable and simply a poor decision.  The issue has now been brought to the attention of the County Commissioners, the FKAA Board of Directors and our State legislators.  Hopefully, common sense will prevail

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Evaluation of Wastewater Collection Alternatives
Alternative Wastewater Systems Study
City of Cape Coral, Florida
Department of Public Works
(NOTICE GRINDER IS LESS DESIRABLE AND MORE EXPENSIVE THAN GRAVITY)
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City Working to Repair Broken Sewage Pipe

Utilities crews are repairing a 20-inch forcemain at 34 S. Gulfstream Avenue in downtown following a break at 2:30 a.m. It is estimated 40,000 gallons may have reached the bay prior to the containment.

Utilities crews are repairing a 20-inch forcemain at 34 S. Gulfstream Avenue in downtown following a break at 2:30 a.m.…READ MORE CLICK HERE ————————————————-

Sewage spills on the rise in Southwest Florida

An estimated 40,000 gallons of raw sewage spilled into Sarasota Bay at Bayfront Park after a 20-inch sewer main burst Nov. 16, 2011. HERALD-TRIBUNE ARCHIVE / 2011 / MIKE LANG
Published: Saturday, February 25, 2012 at 9:37 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, February 25, 2012 at 9:37 p.m.
Major plumbing failures and accidents sent nearly 17 million gallons of raw sewage — enough to cover a square mile with waste a foot deep — cascading into Southwest Florida neighborhood streets and vital waterways last year. READ MORE CLICK HERE

——————————————————– “2. Grinder Pumps – If your grinder pump is overflowing you can have it pumped out by a private company. One company that is working in Hopatcong is Lovenberg’s Portable Toilets at 1800-778-0067. ” http://thealternativepress.com/towns/sparta/articles/sussex-county-residents-battle-snowstorm-issues-a ————– watch this one for damage to grinders after Sandy in another town. And this is a promotional video for E-1! Gag! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_w12L8p6oMs ———– “MORRIS TWP. – Mark J. Howarth,  superintendent of the Morris Township Sewer Authority,issues a warning as Hurricane Sandy heads inland. He advises anyone using a grinder pump  for the discharge of effluent into the sewer system their storage tanks have a limited capacity. “If you lose power,  you must remember to only use your plumbing for toilet services only, Howarth said in a press release. “No showers etc .  as you don’t have the storage capacity for this.  If there is an extended power outage, as was the case last year during  Hurricane Irene, the Township of Morris will be able to pump you out . “Pump outs can  only be done after the storm subsides. Please call our main sewer utility number number  973-326-7363  and leave a message.  Please leave your NameAddress,  Location of your grinder pump, and  Contact phone number. We will be pumping you out the next day on a first come first serve basis during regular work hours. (7:30am till 3:00pm)” http://newjerseyhills.com/morris_news_bee/news/morris-twp-warns-users-of-grinder-pumps/article_7c1fc4c8-2217-11e2-b9a5-0019bb2963f4.html ——————- After a week with no power or toilet, here’s a guy who discovered that it is not so easy as just plugging in an 8000 watt generator to get the grinder pump to run! FKAA can take notes- even with a sewer crew and generator they may be unable to pump without some wiring modifications. https://www.ridgidforum.com/forum/t42219/ ———————– “Eagleswood will receive federal funding for the repair of a municipal building and the replacement of 175 grinder pumps damaged or destroyed as a result of Sandy” http://www.state.nj.us/governor/news/news/552013/approved/20130513c.html   http://www.google.com/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&frm=1&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&docid=GEISOiO2zCnk5M&tbnid=ImNwHYEpEZPDxM:&ved=0CAUQjRw&url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_w12L8p6oMs&ei=d_myUpHED-PUsASg1IDABA&bvm=bv.58187178,d.eW0&psig=AFQjCNGjp6TnW6lkfgNGvhhU9jYtxrebtA&ust=1387547236681235

Notice on the Pendleton NY city website:

http://pendletonny.us/water-sewer “You are one of our residents who have the “Grinder Pump Sewer System’. It is important that you know there are limitations to this system. The biggest problem we encounter is the pump’s inability to grind certain objects. The pump becomes jammed when encountering fabric, plastics, etc. Some examples are baby wipes, female products, clothing, plastic toys, q-tips, even cigarette butts. Another issue is grease that gets in the tank and builds up on the on/off floats causing it to not operate properly. These problems have become a frequent cause for costly system repairs… Also, if you have lost electricity in your home, or your “grinder alarm” sounds; PLEASE discontinue water use immediately and call the Water and Sewer Department. ” —————————————————–>

Rockridge Community, Vero Beach, FL.

November 25, 2012

Mea Culpa... During the August 30 Community Meeting we were told by county staff that all 216 homes in area N-3 would be sewered with grinder pumps. I started this series of articles soon thereafter with the goal of discouraging the use of “low pressure” sewer pumps in favor of the much preferred vacuum system. In the Oct. 18th post “Let’s Talk About the Money”, I made the following statement: “Once a system of grinder pumps is installed, they are not going to be pulled out and replaced with a completely new system in 20 years”.  Well, mea culpa…because the Rockridge neighborhood of Vero Beach did exactly that. Rockridge, FL Rockridge is an unincorporated community of 416 homes in Indian River County, Fl. and is closely associated with the city of Vero Beach. For more than 20 years Rockridge residents relied on low-pressure grinder pumps for their sewer needs.  The system apparently worked satisfactorily unless there was a power failure, at which point the grinder pumps were rendered useless.  And in 2004 that’s exactly what happened… big time. Three Major Hurricanes First Charley hit Punta Gorda.  Then came Hurricane Francis and three weeks later, Hurricane Jeanne, both making landfall near Ft. Pierce. Rockridge lost electrical service for two extended periods of time, ten days after Hurricane Francis and 14 days after Jeanne.  Without electricity, the community’s low-pressure grinder pump system was shut down.  It seems that the residents had to evacuate, because the President of the Rockridge Homeowners Association had this to say: “It was bad. When we came back, everything had to be destroyed, the sheetrock, the furniture, the carpets… we had to spray everything with bleach to kill the bacteria.  Rockridge is primarily a retirement community and many of the homeowners are in their eighties, so it was especially difficult for them”. Low Pressure Sewer System Condemned When it came time to rebuild, the various agencies that looked at the system of grinder pumps all declared the system condemned.  They saw no need to repair a system so susceptible to power loss and prone to environmental nightmares.  The decision was made to install a new vacuum sewer system to serve the Rockridge  community. Benefits to Residents With the vacuum sewer system, the residents of Rockridge no longer fear losing use of bathroom facilities when the power goes out.  There will still be hurricanes and power failures, but the standby generator at the central vacuum station will automatically and immediately restore power so there is no interruption of sewer service.  Furthermore, if there is a power failure at an individual home, it will still have functioning sewer service. With vacuum sewer, two to three homes are served by one vacuum valve pit buried adjacent to the street.  In the rare cases where service is required, workmen can access the pit quickly and easily without having to dig up the homeowners private property.  There are also no more electricity costs to homeowners.  For the 416 Rockridge residents, this is a collective savings of over $18,000 a year.  And not only will they have fewer sewer problems, they will also enjoy higher property values. The HOA’s President, Phil Carpenter, closes with this statement:  “[vacuum sewer] is the way to go. It’s a great system that is reliable during power outages and works wonderfully.” Lesson Learned I don’t know the full 20 year history of the Rockridge sewer system, but it ended as a colossal  failure.  Why don’t we skip the failure part and go right to the success?  Do we need to experience the Rockridge debacle before we decide that we don’t want grinder pumps?                                                  Think about it. Credits The Rockridge vacuum sewer, along with the removal of the existing low pressure system, was designed, permitted, and supervised by Weston & Sampson Consultants.   The project manager was Donald A. Eckler, P.E.  The vacuum sewer system used was AIRVAC. Links to Source Material: Weston & Sampson AIRVAC in Rockridge ———————————————————->

Waterford, CT.

November 14, 2012

Waterford is a small town (pop. 20,000) in New London County, Connecticut.  I found the following news story under the banner “Town Looking To Pass Maintenance Burden To Homeowners”. Some history The Waterford Utility Commission originally installed grinder pumps along with a standard gravity sewer system.  The pressure pumps were necessary if the sewer connections were below the elevation of the town’s gravity sewer line.  Today there are several hundred of these grinder pumps in the system. The original ordinance said the Waterford Utility Commission would maintain the grinder pumps unless there was a change in ownership at the house. The maintenance on the pumps can be expensive, to the tune of several thousand dollars per visit. Now the utility commission is looking into changing that ordinance, and making homeowners responsible for their own grinder pumps after January 2014. The Utility Commission wants out In May of this year The WUC held a special meeting and continued its push to “sunset” its responsibility for the maintenance of grinder pumps.  This will mean 209 homeowners will be responsible for the maintenance of their pumps, which can cost $3,500 to replace. “It is a heavy burden for us to take care of all the pumps,” Utility Commission Chief Engineer Neftali Soto said. “This is a move to keep our rates down in the future.” The Utility Commission originally said it would be responsible for the maintenance of these pumps. In 2004  the commission changed the rule so if the deed to a house was changed, i.e. the house was sold, the commission would no longer maintain the pump. Additionally, all new grinder pumps the town installed would be the responsibility of the homeowner. Since that date, the name on the deed changed on 85 homes with grinder pumps, meaning the Utility Commission has turned over the maintenance of 85 grinder pumps to 85 homeowners. Still, it has to maintain the remaining 209 pumps, which is a lot of work and money, Soto said. The plan is to “sunset” the responsibility of the grinder pumps on January 1, 2014, meaning the 209 homeowners with town-maintained grinder pumps will then have to maintain the pumps themselves.  It was noted that residents will argue that they were promised the town would maintain the pumps, and now the Utility Commission is reneging on that promise. Utility Commission member Ken Kirkman said “The last pump we installed that we were responsible for was in 2003,” so that means that we maintained people’s pumps for 10 years, at least. That’s a pretty good deal.” It was also noted that with the “sunset” the town would no longer be responsible for energizing the pumps, a difficult task during Tropical Storm Irene when the power was out for over a week. What’s this got to do with us? There are certainly significant differences between the communities of Waterford, Ct and Sarasota, Fl.  But as we’ve seen in recent articles, this is yet another utility that installed grinder pumps as part of their sewer system and now they want to move the costs of the pumps to the homeowners.  I’m sure that our planners and decision makers mean well, but what will our situation be a few years from now?  Think about it. Links to source material

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High Springs, Fl.

November 11, 2012

Our neighbors to the north The town of High Springs, Fl., near Gainesville, has grinder pumps… and grinder pump problems.  Their sewer project was originally approved in 2001 (about the same time as the PCSSRP) and today they have a total of 1100 grinder pumps (I don’t know what percentage this represents of their total sewer system, but part of the system remains on gravity).  It seems that things were fine at first.  The pumps carry a two year warranty, so the initial replacement cost was covered by the manufacturer.  But as more pumps were added to the system and the warranties began to expire, more and more cost was shifted to the city.  As of March 2012, the city has already replaced 162 pumps. “The system’s grinder pumps are failing at a rate of four a month to as many as four a week”, the failure rate being 22.7% in roughly two years. Mayor Dean Davis said the debt on the sewer system is for a period of 40 years. “So, I think we’ve bought a used car that’s going to wear out before we get the debt paid,” he said. The city commission recently approved $29,760 to the engineering firm of Mittauer and Assoc. to determine the best course of action. Will residents get stuck with the bill? The City is currently absorbing all cost for grinder pumps that fail, but replacements are costing the city between $3,000 and $6,000. As the pumps run out of their warranties, “fixing the pumps could eventually fall on the homeowner”.  An agenda item for the Sept 2012 City Commission Meeting recommends that “the only way to reduce the cost to the City is by setting fees for pump replacements… in order to encourage better maintenance and care of the grinder pumps by the end users”.  Do we want to get ourselves into a situation like this? Emergency Procedures Commissioner Linda Gestrin said she is worried about what would happen if the power went out (as are some of us in N-3) and would like to see future discussion on an emergency plan. The High Springs Grinder Pump Information brochure has a procedure for power failures, but perhaps Commissioner Gestrin doesn’t think “have a camp bucket on hand for sanitary uses” is adequate! More contractors? Apparently the High Springs maintenance department feels as overwhelmed as the folks in James City County (previous post).  A recent Wastewater System O&M Meeting produced an action item to solicit bids for a grinder pump repair program. Does Sarasota County really need another program that requires administering contracts and monitoring contractors? Is this our future? I don’t know what similarities we share with High Springs.  Maybe our pumps are better.  Maybe we won’t have the problems they’re having. But certainly they did not expect to be in the situation they’re in today, having to spend $30,000 trying to find out what went wrong. Links to source material:

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