Grinder Pump Program
Why a grinder pump? Simply put, wastewater will not go where you need it to, or there is no public sewer available. Grinder pumps are selected, instead of gravity sewers, when you need more freedom to run sewer up hills, through isolated flat lands, or in areas with high water tables. That’s because they work like a mini pump station, and pushes the wastewater along the contour of the land.
A complete grinder pump unit includes the pump, tank, and all controls packaged together. They grind most solids into fine particles, which then pass through the pump and smaller diameter pipe lines. Using facilities in your home automatically activates the grinder pump, which has an annual energy consumption not much more than a 40-watt light bulb.
Should your home have a grinder pump, the following operating hints may help reduce the chance of a pump failure. For starters, do not place any of the following items down toilets or drain lines going to the grinder pump:
- Petroleum products such as fuels, paint thinner, or alcohol.
- Substances that could clog your system such as ashes, mud, hair, bacon or cooking grease.
- Sharp objects such as fish tank gravel, broken glass or sharp metal objects.
- Do not put bones in the garbage disposal since they will shatter into small sharp objects. Items that impede the operation of the pump such as string or rope.
- Keeping these items out of the system could keep your home free from sewer system failures or backups for years to come.
Additionally, the homeowner should ensure proper voltage and wiring, and include maintenance of all electrical switches. The main area of concern should be switch operation and water tightness of the external switch’s housing. Also, maintain proper grading around the grinder pump and all electrical disconnects to prevent flooding of the can. If a grinder pump can floods, the electrical components are defeated and the pump will not operate. This could cause sewage to spill on the lawn or backup into the home. Ensure the exposed portion of the grinder pump can is not obstructed by plants or decorative lawn items. This could slow a repair crew and reduce the chance of a speedy return to service.
Many homeowners are unaware of the possible inconveniences should you require service on your grinder pump. The JCSA does have a maintenance program that covers all services for $260 a year. There are additional requirements associated with obtaining a JCSA maintenance agreement, and our Customer Service Department will be happy to answer your questions. You can reach the Customer Service staff at 757-253-6800. Should you decide not to have a maintenance agreement for your grinder pump, we recommend establishing a relationship with a local plumber qualified in grinder pump repair. This would establish a contact for you should your grinder pump fail.
Procedure for Installation and Approval
Whenever a Contractor files a “sewer service” application, the JCSA Customer Service personnel will verify whether it is a grinder pump lot. If it is a designated grinder pump lot, Customer Service will then furnish a copy of all JCSA grinder pump standards/requirements and initiate a “Grinder Pump Acknowledgement Form.” The Contractor shall sign this acknowledgement to indicate they understand, and have received, JCSA grinder pump installation standards.
The JCSA will only give maintenance agreements for Environment One grinder pumps. We are not implying that grinder pumps are limited to a certain brand, but coverage of other grinder pumps is outside our scope and ability.
Grinder pumps should be as close to the property line as engineering, design and Contractor requirements allow.
Environment One grinder pumps installed in James City County are obtained through Commonwealth Engineering and Sales (sole distributor in Virginia). The distributor will deliver the grinder pump can to the Contractor and the pump to the JCSA. We store pumps at the JCSA warehouse, in a secure area, with each being clearly tagged for its proper address. Any questions concerning the installation specifications should be directed to Engineering at 757-253-6814.
Building Safety and Permits Division, when inspecting new construction, ensures the Contractors do not back fill the grinder pump until they have verified that the installation is according to JCSA and manufacturer’s standards. This includes the anchoring of the can with concrete, and the installation of bypass, check, and gate valves.
Upon completing all building inspections necessary to allow operation of the Environment One grinder pump, Code Compliance will notify the Utility Operations Division. This notification is to inform the JCSA that the contractor has met installation prerequisites, and upon notification by the Permit Holder, we will install the grinder pump core.
The JCSA will do a current and voltage test, and check all functions and electrical installation according to standards. If they meet all JCSA standards, the inspection crew will immediately advise the Utility Operations Division that the grinder pump has passed inspection. The JCSA will then notify JCC Code Compliance that our requirements are met and they may do their plumbing final.
Upon approval of JCSA inspection, the Contractor/Owner may apply for a JCSA maintenance agreement (Customer Service Division 757-253-6800)