From former commissioner, thoughts on Devola sewer

My name is James Meek. I served as a Washington County Commissioner during the nineties. I, along with other commissioners, reached out and were able to raise millions of dollars for county sewer systems. I would like to share some of my experience with the homeowners who are being impacted by the sewer issue in Devola so that they will be able to make a good choice as to which type of sewering is best for their area.

If someone asked me if I would recommend a grinder pump system, my answer would be a big NO. I would advise them to find a qualified engineer who will tell them the truth based on his or her knowledge and education. Most likely they would tell you that a gravity flow system is the best system for Devola. A properly installed gravity system will last 50 years, and can be relined at less cost than a replacement grinder pump. Gravity flow system will increase the value of your property which will make it easier to sell.

Based on my 40 years of experience working with grinder pumps, here is some information I would like to share:

¯ Grinder pumps require electric power, presenting a problem when the power fails. A long outage could create a backup causing raw sewage to enter your home. Only human waste and toilet paper should be flushed into the system. Anything else can cause a blockage or pump failure resulting in addtional cost to the homeowner.

¯ Sewer bills are high enough without the additional cost of an electric pump. Why pay for electricity if you can use gravity?

¯ The lifespan of a grinder pump averages 5-7 years. At least 50% will fail within the first three years (most will not be covered by the warranty). Replacement would include the cost of a new pump, a certified electrician, possible overtime or holiday pay if it fails on a weekend or holiday and is estimated at $3000.

¯ Completed engineered gravity system plans are already available. Why spend more time and money when existing plans are in place and are the best option for the Devola community?

James Meek



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