Regular Maintenance Tasks
Once a month, PeopleService checks each lift station’s control box and cleans the float assembly, so they run as efficiently as possible. When the sewage pits are serviced, technicians open the large round covers to inspect the pit. They lift out the float sensors to clean them and verify they are working properly. The small rectangular door that some stations have is a check valve that keeps sewage flowing in one direction, like the check valve you might have on your sump pump discharge pipe.
The company also cleans out some of the sewage pits each year, rotating through the seven stations.
The time that pumps need to operate on a given day can vary quite a bit across the stations. PeopleService monitors the pump stats reported by OmniSite, and so does our volunteer board assistant, using a mobile app from OmniSite. The stats show how many minutes the pumps have run in the last 24-hour period and how many cycles each pump ran during that time.
The monthly run times captured by PeopleService will show if a pump is running for longer and longer durations, which would indicate a pump may need service or replacement. The company holds a spare replacement pump for the smaller size pumps and the larger Silver Maple pumps. (These spare pumps belong to the HOA.)
The other statistic PeopleService monitors is the amp draw on each of the pumps, which is another indication of pump health. If the pump is having a hard time running, it will draw more amps as it tries to do its job. When the amp draws start to move consistently higher, it is an indication that the pump may need maintenance such as replacing an impeller assembly or need to be replaced completely.
What's Flushable? Toilet Paper is Pretty Much the Entire List
In the face of COVID-19, everyone’s stepped up their cleaning and hygiene. That’s great; keep it up.
But with the increased use of paper towels and wipes, the city’s public works staff would like to remind customers that, outside of toilet paper, most items are not flushable. This includes paper towels and so-called “flushable” wipes.
When items other than toilet paper (and, you know) are put into the wastewater system, they can block pipes and cause backups. No one wants to deal with a sewer backup ever, but especially right now.
—March 23, 2020, City of North Liberty
Lift Station Expenses
All 93 homeowners in Cedar Springs’ Parts 7, 8, and 9 are assessed fees (payable along with their annual dues) to cover the expenses incurred in connection with the operation and management of the lift stations and related sanitary sewer and force main improvements.
These improvements include, but are not limited to, pumps, electrical components, controllers, piping, valves, lift stations, force mains, emergency response dialers, and warning lights.
The fees also cover the cost of maintenance, taxes, insurance, and the repair and/or replacement of any part of the system.
The annual lift station dues have historically been $300 per homeowner in 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020. This fee is in addition to the HOA dues paid by all Cedar Springs homeowners.
How Lift Stations Work
Contingency Plans During Power Outages
The derecho that swept through Iowa in August of 2020 resulted in a lengthy power outage that prompted an emergency response from PeopleService, which brought a spare pump to Cedar Springs. They monitored the lift stations until 2:00 a.m., then returned to check them again the following morning.
The HOA plans to acquire a generator that can be quickly moved from one lift station to another, and to modify the control boxes to accommodate the use of the generator in case such a lengthy and extremely unusual outage occurs in the future.