Petition to Revise Sewer Collection System Design And Construction
A Petition of the Undersigned Citizens of the Florida Keys
Monroe County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC, County)
Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority Board of Directors (FKAA)
Vast areas of the Lower Keys have been designed to have sewer collection systems consisting of individual grinder pumps. The pumps chosen are of a proprietary design having unique characteristics.Instead of a traditional network of manholes and gravity sewer pipes, the grinder pumps would force sewage through a network of relatively small diameter flexible pipes.
Installation of these County-owned grinder pump stations are to be made on private property with a required easement to FKAA for maintenance.
The electrical permitting and construction cost to supply power to the County’s grinder pump stations has been made the responsibility of the individual property owner at whatever cost- estimated to be from $1,000 to several thousand dollars depending on individual circumstances and complexity. The accumulated shift of construction expense to grinder pump property owners is over $2.8 million dollars!
Areas of lower population density in previously installed Keys collection systems (Big Coppitt, Geiger Key, Shark Key, Duck Keys) were served with gravity sewers of much higher reliability and much lower operating costs. Earlier FKAA sewer projects were served with vacuum sewers- which although expensive to maintain did not require relinquishment of property rights and electric pumping facilities to be installed on private property. The vacuum systems are in Marathon and Baypoint. Citizens in all previous sewer phases had only the usual connection costs of piping from the house to the street and abandoning existing tanks.
It is not equitable to demand surrender of private property rights and to shift part of the overall public construction costs of a central sewer to those property owners who are unfortunate enough to be in a grinder pump zone. The individual property owner is expected to provide the land and foot the bill to provide power to County-owned equipment. Grinder pump collection systems are noted for unreliability and high costs of maintenance which places the burden of higher sewer rates on all customers.
The excuse for using grinder pumps was claimed to be lower initial construction costs, but the cost of providing land and power was cast upon the property owner and not included in calculations. Detailed cost comparisons have shown that the up front cost can be cheaper to install gravity sewers, even without including the individual’s cost to provide land and power. In long term cost comparison grinders are clearly much more expensive. There are many hardships being thrust upon FKAA customers, and especially those slated for grinder pumps, just for the sake of most quickly building a collection system with the least thought and effort.
We the citizens of the Florida Keys and ratepayers of FKAA sewers deserve better from those elected or appointed to serve us (at our cost).
We the undersigned do hereby petition the above named elected or appointed representatives to forthwith take the following actions:
1.Stop the waste and build sewers sensibly! Order an immediate cease work on the design and construction of sewer collection infrastructure in areas currently planned or designed for individual grinder pump installation. Gravity sewer and large transmission force main construction currently contracted may proceed uncontested.
2. Do an honest evaluation of economic feasibility. Initiate a prompt reevaluation of the economic feasibility of providing gravity sewers to all homes currently planned or designed to have individual grinder pumps, and make the details of the reevaluation open to public scrutiny. Reevaluation of costs must be truly comparable, with no additional restoration or improvements included in one but not the other. The reevaluation must include operation and maintenance costs over at least a twenty year period and not place unnecessary restrictions on design parameters.
3.Where installation of a gravity sewer collection point for a particular property is truly not economically viable in the long and short term, but where a grinder pump is a sensible possibility:
A. Treat citizens fairly! Revise policy and construction specifics such that no electrical apparatus or power supply is required of the property owner to flow waste-water to the public right of way- unless said owner’s building is too low or too far from the right of way to permit connection three feet below ground elevation when extended at a 1% slope from where the owner’s sewer exits his building.. (In other words, no extra cost or effort required of the property owner unless the building is too low to flow by gravity alone at a minimum legal slope to a typical gravity sewer lateral, and therefore a private lift pump would be required for any system.)
B. Stop taking people’s property rights! Revise policy to not require the surrender of private property or private property rights to the installation of public property, unless such private property acquisition is essential to the public use and acquired through formal eminent domain procedures and fairly compensated, or given by voluntary free will donation devoid of duress. (In other words, no individual grinder pumps forced on private property and no easements required under normal circumstances.)
The following concerned citizens support the sewer revisions actions as stated above:
288 Have signed this online petition + 1217 additional signatures collected in person and collecting more each day!