LIFT STATIONS

Because poo rolls downhill. And can't go uphill by itself.

Cedar Springs Lift Stations

Lift stations collect and pump wastewater and sewage from homes located below, or downhill from, the nearest sanitary sewer main line. The waste is pumped uphill to the required elevation where it can be dispensed into the city’s sewer main.

Locations

There are HOA-owned lift stations and force mains located at the end of six cul-de-sacs (Tupelo Drive, Linden Lane, Alderwood Road, Scarlet Oak Circle, Redbud Circle, and Cypress Ridge) and at the end of Silver Maple Trail.

Maintenance & Monitoring

At the 2020 annual meeting, the HOA board announced it had signed an agreement with PeopleService to handle the operation and maintenance of our lift stations, as well as primary monitoring responsibility for them.

Based in Omaha, Nebraska, with seven regional offices, PeopleService provides water and wastewater operations, maintenance, and management services for more than 160 clients throughout the mid-plains states. Among those clients is the city of Riverside, for whom PeopleService oversees the city’s water plant, wells, wastewater plant, and systems, maintaining the mains, sewer lines, and more. This contract also covers the Riverside Casino and Golf Resort, the largest employer in Washington County.

As of August 2020, after seven months of working with PeopleService, HOA board members are impressed with the local team’s expertise and professionalism, and believe that hiring this company to operate and maintain our lift station system has proven to be a very sound decision. 

Photo of Lift Station

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.

Monitoring

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.

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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

Each lift station has two pumps, which are triggered to run when one of the two floats that hang in the sewage pit rises to a certain level. The two pumps normally alternate being activated. If sewage starts to come too fast, a second float will sense the sewage level and trigger both pumps to run at once, though this happens rarely. If both pumps aren’t keeping up, a third float will sense that the level of sewage is too high, and an alarm light at the station will be triggered, while a radio device in the control box transmits the alarm error via cellular service to OmniSite. OmniSite is a remote paging service that in turn calls PeopleService. The radio device also transmits pump statistics toPeopleService once a day.

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.

Contact the HOA

Have a question or concern? Contact the HOA board by email, regular mail, or by completing the form at right.

P.O. Box 781
North Liberty, IA 52317

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