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.
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.
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.
A violation of the public’s trust
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
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.
This was on your ballot when you voted in 2012. Smoke and mirrors by your county commissioners. Murphy and Neugent are particularly slippery.
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.
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.
Dump the Pumps, Inc.
Down load pdf response below
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…
Download petition here: www.DUMPTHEPUMPS.com/PetitionwithExhibits.pdf
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
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…
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
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!
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)
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:
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.
Dear Mr. Prevatt;
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.
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
Fish and Wildlife Biologist
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
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?
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, email@example.com writes:
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?
Sent: 5/14/2014 10:57:40 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time
Subj: Re: sewers
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:
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.
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.
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….
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.
Response from the Chief Inspector General of the State of Florida.
For new members of Dump the Pumps, Inc. there is a lot of history summarized is this post
To: firstname.lastname@example.orgSent: 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.
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….
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.
Banks Prevatt, President
Dump the Pumps, Inc.
Two in Monroe county, Pa.
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!
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.
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”.
Found two in Monroe county, Pa.
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
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.
Meeting Tonight 4/22/2014
starting at 6:30.Location: Eco-Discovery Center at 35 East Quay Rd, Key West
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.
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?
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!
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!
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/
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
Dump The Pumps Legal Complaint
January 17, 2014
Dear Secretary Vinyard,
Pursuant to Section 403.412(2) Fla. Stat., this group of concerned citizens is proceeding with available remedies.
IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE SIXTEENTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT IN AND FOR MONROE COUNTY, FLORIDA
DUMP the PUMPS, INC., a NON-PROFIT, FLORIDA CORPORATION,
CASE NO: _
FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL
COMPLAINT PURSUANT TO SECTION 403.412 AND CHAPTER 86,
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
If you have trouble opening the above links please copy and paste the links below into your browser address bar.
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.
“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/
Letter to Governor Scott
date: Tue, Jan 14, 2014 at 3:14 PM
To the Honorable Governor Scott:
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.
Banks Prevatt, Pres.
Dump the Pumps, Inc.
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.
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:
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
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.”
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)
View full study PDF http://www.news-press.com/assets/pdf/A476189611.PDF
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
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.
Get Involved! Click here to see the contact list to address this very important issue. Let’s speak LOUDLY and COLLECTIVELY!
Click Here for some Points to Make when contacting your Representatives! ***Please Note: Popup blockers should be “enabled” in order to view some of the documents above*** Your patience is appreciated – many of these files are large and take time to download