Scottville residents express concerns over grinder pumps.

September 8, 2014

By Rob Alway. Editor-in-Chief. 

SCOTTVILLE — Three Scottville homeowners attended Monday’s city commission meeting to express their concerns about a proposed change to the city’s practice regarding grinder pump maintenance.

In the late 80s, early 90s, Scottville extended its sewer lines to cover all areas of the city. There are 17 homes that utilize a grinder pump because the homes cannot be serviced by a conventional gravity system, due to the locations.

When the pumps were installed, most of the home owners paid for the expense of installation. Since that time, the city has covered the cost of maintaining and replacing the pumps, though they are located on private property. The pumps have their limitations and there are several items, mostly non-bio-degradable items, that are not allowed to be placed in the sewer system where the pumps are used (the items actually should not be placed in the sewer system anywhere).

City Manager Amy Williams has been stating to the commission that there has been an increase in having issues with certain residents that are clogging their grinder pumps with these unauthorized items.

Because of this, the city’s infrastructure committee has recommended that the city get out of the grinder pump business.

The three residents at Monday’s meeting disagree with the proposal.

Jim Chase, 201 W. Johnson Rd., said he and his wife built their home in 1989. Because of the location of the home, a grinder pump was necessary. “We wanted to live in Scottville. It’s been our home for years,” Chase said. “(Former City Manager) Bob Peterson took the issue to the city commission and the commissioners agreed to purchase a pump and maintain a pump. It’s an agreement we had. I think you folks are obligated to do something for the sewage in that area. It would be very much an imposition for us if we had to lay out $2,000 or $3,000 to purchase a new pump. I’m 84 and not sure I have the capability of doing the replacement work.”

On the opposite end of town, Tom Pomorski of 425 E. State St., had a similar agreement with the city. He said the city chose to take a cheaper course of action by installing grinder pumps rather than installing a lift station.

“If the city had put in a a lift station we wouldn’t have any troubles. We installed these grinder pumps expecting the city would always take care of them.”

Pomorski said he has never had issues with the grinder pump on his property.

“You have problems with other people who abuse the system then maybe you address it some way. We are stuck and we can’t go back to a septic system.”

City attorney Tracy Thompson said the city is under no legal obligation to maintain the pumps because they are on private property. He said that doesn’t mean the city can’t take care of the pumps, but just not required to.

Tom Donald of 507 E. State St., said he was never told, when he purchased his house, that it used a grinder pump. He found out the hard way, his system broke down last year.

Commissioner Dave Johnson said he wasn’t comfortable with making a decision yet and needed more information. He, and Commissioner Jim Schiebner both requested that Mayor Dick Maki send the resolution back to committee for further review. The mayor agreed.


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