Sewer Pump Failure Again

Today, Monday, 12, 2018, another one of the two submersible sewer pumps failed due to damages from residents flushing prohibited items (i.e., wipes, dental floss and other prohibited items) into the sewer infrastructure. Unless it comes out of your body or is toilet paper, nothing else should be flushed down the toilets.

Liberty Commons’ Board of Trustees has repetitively requested that Unit Owners and Non-Owner Residents not introduce prohibited items into the sewer infrastructure, as continuing to introduce prohibited items is increasing maintenance and operational costs for all Unit Owners and additionally increases the risk of a total system failure.

This is the second failure of the two brand new submersible sewer pumps that were installed in April of 2016, when we had a complete failure of the sewer pump station and had to replace both submersible sewer pumps. These submersible sewer pumps cost $8,000-$10,000 each and are not stock items, adding to the other recent costs for an aeration system ($6,000+), a rebuilt submersible sewer pump ($6,000+). This latest submersible sewer pump will likely cost another $6,000-$10,000+. That is between $18,000-$22,000+ in a short period of time that Liberty Commons has had to spend on the sewer pump station. In the history of Liberty Commons’ sewer pump station, we have never had these kinds of expenses and the cause is directly attributable to the actions of a few Unit Owners and/or Non-Owner Residents.1 This is an example where the actions of a few adversely impact the majority.

The foresight of Liberty Commons’ Board of Trustees has been to rebuild and refurbished the submersible sewer pumps (if possible) so that Liberty Commons’ sewer pump station contractors can hot swap a failed pump. The sewer pump station will be fully operational this afternoon, but there is no spare submersible sewer pump at this time. Liberty Commons’ sewer pump station requires two sewer pumps to operate properly and they work in tandem to load balance.

The installation of the aeration system has reduced the emergency maintenance calls. No grease was observed on the surface of the wet well, so that was a good investment.

Waste products are ground up by the pump’s blades and are sucked up into the pump. As you can see there isn’t much clearance between the blades and the small holes. Wipes (even “flushable wipes”, dental floss and other prohibited items can bind up the pumps or cause more extensive damage. In this case, the bottom plate with the four screws was ripped off of the pump and is now sitting on the bottom of the wet well.

1 Unit Owners who are landlords should immediately communicate the list of prohibited items to their tenants, so everyone is made aware of this problem, the costs and the solution. Please understand no one is suggesting that it is tenants who are causing this problem, because Liberty Commons’ Board of Trustees does not know who is introducing these prohibited items. It is simply the Unit Owners obligation to communicate with their Non-Owner Residents.

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