Grinder pumps exist all over Baldwin County and a large percentage of them are installed unnecessarily.

Developers love them because it saves them money in construction and the poor consumer, most often, does not even know what a grinder pump is.

What the developer/builder does not tell you is that the pump may only last 5 years and the cost of replacement is all yours. They also do not inform the consumer that power is necessary for the pump to operate. Most units will fill to capacity, without power, in just a few days, then guess what happens? If lighting hits the unit, it is fried, get your checkbook out. Then there is maintenance, usually the topic of maintenance does not come up till it is too late.

The Mayor of Fairhope has made the city’s position clear:

From the Desk of Mayor Wilson,

Fairhope Standard: Gravity Fed VS Low Pressure Sewer System

Fairhope Standard: Gravity Fed VS Low Pressure Sewer System

At the November 27th Council meeting, a citizen spoke to gravity fed sewer system vs low pressure sewer system which is what is being installed in new developments despite the City having a standar…


In the past administrations, Fairhope turned a blind to the rules, some developers were allowed to use grinder pumps, it’s called good ole boys. To get around the rules a “connected” developer/builder would go see the Mayor who would say that he would see what he could do and that they needed to talk with the utility director.

Guess who the hell was the utility director? the Mayor. That’s right, the Mayor wore two hats and collected two checks from the city, not counting what he got from the developer!

That is why some housing developments, within the city, have grinder pumps.

Mayor Wilson has hired personal that are very well educated in municipal sewer systems and grinder pumps. No more good ole boy deals where the consumer is taken advantage of. Mayor Wilson wears one hat and her major concern is the citizens of Fairhope.

Subdivision developers clash with Fairhope
operations director over sewer standards

by Jane Nicholes – The Courier

Two subdivision developers before the Fairhope Planning Commission Jan. 4 sought waivers from the city’s requirements for installing sewers, leading to debate over when such waivers should be granted. It’s a debate happening more frequently, said city operations director Richard Peterson.

In the proposed Van Antwerp Park subdivision, the waiver was not approved. In the case of Phase 5 of Battles Trace, the developer agreed to come back to the commission with more data to justify the request.

“It’s not about what I think or anyone else thinks. It’s really about what our standards say that we’ve adopted,” Peterson said. “We’ve been trying to work with these developers for the last several months to make them understand.”

Fairhope requires gravity sewer systems in new subdivisions. Peterson said sewage from a customer’s home flows into the city’s transmission system via gravity. The transmission system uses pumps that are maintained and operated by the city.

The two developers before the Planning Commission on Jan. 4 sought hardship exemptions to install low pressure systems, which employ grinder pumps at the side of each house that pump sewage into the city’s system. Grinder pumps cost $3,500 apiece, are maintained by the individual homeowners and in general must be replaced every 10 years, Peterson said. The cost is born by the builder and later by the homeowner, he said.

Gravity systems with a single pump station are the higher standard, but are more expensive for the developer than low pressure systems, Peterson said. But city regulations allow for exemptions if installing a gravity system under certain circumstances such as unusual land conditions or situations that would make a gravity system cost prohibitive.

Van Antwerp Park is an 11-lot subdivision proposed on the north side of Pensacola Avenue between North Section Street and North Mobile Street. Phase 5 of the Battles Trace subdivision, owned by the Retirement Systems of Alabama, makes up 73 lots on the north side of Battles Road, north of the Colony at the Grand. Van Antwerp Park proposed two options, a low pressure system and a combination of low pressure and gravity systems, both using grinder pumps.

Extensive documentation presented to the Planning Commission indicated that, among other arguments, the gravity system would cost 500 percent more. Planning staff recommended that city standards be met as part of the subdivision approval.

“The rules haven’t changed. It’s the interpretation of the rules by the new utilities director,” said Larry Smith of S.E. Civil Engineering, representing the developer. Until current Mayor Karin Wilson defeated Tim Kant in 2016, Kant had
long held the position of utilities superintendent in addition to his part-time role as mayor.

Last year, Wilson hired Peterson, an engineer, as operations director and later appointed him to the Planning Commission. Peterson told Gulf Coast Media that in the past developers became used to what he called “loose interpretations” of the standards by the city. He said city regulations exist to protect homeowners and the city, and sewer system regulations are no different from those for building setbacks, lot sizes, drainage, parking, street construction and others.

If waivers are granted routinely, he said, “Then there’s no real measure of confidence, when anybody buys, that it meets any standard. If we don’t require people to meet our standards, then we’re not doing our job.” Battles Trace is more complicated. Dating back to about 2005, each of the previous phases of the subdivision have low pressure sewers. RSA is seeking to tie Phase 5 into the existing system. Planning Commission members were told that Phase 5 would be the last phase seeking the exemption because of a ridge bisecting the property; the next phase would have to be on a different system.

Battles Trace representatives said that installing a gravity system in Phase 5 would require disturbing the yards and digging up streets in the first four phases to run 3,200 feet of a new system from Phase 5. Such a requirement would be cost prohibitive and disruptive to the existing residents, they said. Again, the staff recommendation was that Phase 5 should be required to meet city standards, and SUBMITTED PHOTOS Peterson said the developer had not provided data to prove an economic hardship. Battles Trace representatives said they would come back before the Planning Commission at a later meeting with such data rather than ask for a vote on Jan. 4. Peterson said his point is simply that the city should enforce its own requirements. The exceptions should not be the rule. They should be the exceptions.”

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24 Comments on "GRINDER PUMPS"

  1. Pontius Pilates | February 2, 2018 at 3:32 pm |

    My granny bought a house in Fairhope by winn dixie. It had a grinder pump that failed. We had to pay our uncle to remove the poo.

  2. Mobilerider | February 2, 2018 at 7:59 pm |

    Why is fairhope so full of $h#t? Crap in the bay. Crap in the neighborhood. Crap on the shotty council.

  3. uncle fester | February 3, 2018 at 7:05 am |

    So Kant’s legacy is now grinder pumps vs. men.

  4. Ole Fairhoper | February 3, 2018 at 9:17 am |

    It is about time somebody wrote about grinder pumps. Whenever you are looking at a house to buy and see a green box on the side of the house and it has a red light on top of it, WALK AWAY from it. That is a grinder pump and you are looking at a $3,000 expense in less than five years. Do NOT buy a house with a grinder pump. That means the builder took a shortcut in building the neighborhood and passed the expense off to the buyers. It also should make you wonder what other shortcuts the builder took when the House was built.

  5. Ole Fairhoper | February 3, 2018 at 9:19 am |

    When the predatory developers own the council then things like this happen. In ten years there will be a sewage crisis in the cookie cutter subdivisions

    • Gmaw Nelson | February 3, 2018 at 4:29 pm |

      Kant loves turds. Part of his worldly pleasure.

      • On New Years Eve … know every city has a symbol of what they are known for dropped at midnight. Well Fairhope’s could have the Fairhope TIRD DROP

  6. How does a grinder pump work exactly? I heard it squirts the sewage into the pump and it grinds it up and pushes it into the ground. I heard it breaks down a lot and is nasty and neighbors smell it after bad rains.

    • It pushes it to sewer rather than gravity doing the job

    • Grinder pumps are required by the ICC Plumbing Code under specific situations. Top on the list is if the nearest street sewer inlet is higher than the sewer outlet of the building being served. This is because, as anyone should know, waste runs downhill. As part of the grinder pump system, back flow preventers or valves are installed to ensure that the waste does not run back toward the pump servicing the building. Force mains are sometimes used in lower lying areas to actually create pressure in the sewer system and force waste to city pump stations. There are subdivisions being built in lower lying areas, many of which are below existing city sewer main lines and city main sewer pumps, therefore, grinder pumps would be a necessity. Topographics and location of subject subdivisions are motivations for installation of grinder pumps. Who wants sewage in their houses? From: retired Certified Plumbing Official.

  7. Anastasia H. | February 4, 2018 at 7:29 am |

    If Kant and his council pumped untreated human waste into Mobile Bay for years…
    If Kant and his council minions allowed third rate developers use substandard/unhealthy grinder pumps inside the city limits…
    Then Kant was absolutely engaging in illegal activities like bribes and kickbacks. He was, after all, rigging the elections with his father in law. (Rippster exposed this. It is how Karin won).
    Fairhope has serious infrastructure problems but also a council bent on fueling building sprees for their developer friends and biz partners. Slippery slope for sure. Folks in Fairhope better wake up and get rid of the corrupt council and the corrupt single tax colony leadership. There has to be some better quality people in Fairhope. This is a serious call for leadership.

  8. There are grinder pumps all over Cullman. Move along Ripp.

  9. Really Pittman???? | February 5, 2018 at 12:27 am |

    On another subject after talking to a Montgomery politician today, I found out a few things. So called Criminal Trip Pittman is actually proposing a bill that will allow politicians and other crooks to actually have the right go to the Ethics Commissioners (dishonest shit for brains) and obtain private “secret opinions” and these people who obtain these opinions from the Etihics Commission would then actually have the weight of immunity should it come up later in a court of law. This is a bill being presented by the worse F ING Politician (human trash) ever appointed to office or as ever held any office not just in Alabama but any other state that I know of. Thanks to Prick Luther he screwed all of us on the BP contract and stole almost a million dollars, but now he wants to have everyone ask behind close doors for a secre ethics opinion. Don’t forget about Big (what a waste) Luther Strange letting Trip Pittman off from being prosecuted for the BP scandal and many other terrible laws broken by Trip Pittman. You see how much it really helped ole Luther. What a joke. Pittman, do you time and get the hell out of dodge. We are tired of you (The Fox) being in charge of the Hen House. You along with Jack Burrell are two of the most worthless people on the face of this earth. Your Bible thumping ways are just laughable and this includes Tucker Dorsey times two.

  10. EVERYONE needs to read this….I’ve listened to men who even give God their word and then fail to keep it. They don’t realize their word is being ripped off. Their enemy is their own shallow character. How about that Jack Burrell, Trip Pittman and Tucker Dorsey!!!! NONE of you have ever proven that either one of you have ever had an ounce of integrity in your body, minds or souls!!!!

    • True Christian | February 6, 2018 at 1:28 pm |

      I can see that none of the Bible thumpers disagree with having no integrity. It’s a shame to watch these people act the way they do in front of God himself. I truly hope that they do not think they are fooling us. Especially God. Raise your bibles Tucker Dorsey, Jack Burrell and Trip Pittman. It’s become a joke amongst the true Christians in all of Baldwin County. Trip, you get laughed at in Montgomery at every turn. God will forgive you if you ask him to. But first you have to truly show him that you believe in him and not stomp on the words of the Bible each and everyday. Jack, your history and Tucker Dorsey, your flock are all now made up of terrible People that you have taught that you do not have to be a good Christian anymore. Just pretend you are and you will be awarded. Your award will be you leaving office this time. Biggest compliment that I can give you is that you haven’t been caught down at the Gullly yet?

  11. FBI Informant | February 5, 2018 at 6:49 am |

    Let’s talk about Big Head (Gulley).

  12. Highfallutin | February 6, 2018 at 5:21 am |

    What a strange little place. Posers, pimps and pedophiles. Fairhope strong.

  13. WABF 1480 AM
    3 hrs ·
    HORRIBLE NEWS! 100,000+ Gallon Sewer Spill in Fairhope:
    Health Department Issues Public Notice on Sewage Spill

    Feb 12, 2018

    According to a report received from the City of Fairhope Utilities today, the sewer spill reported yesterday in the area of the Valley Street Lift Station (Middle Street and Dogwood Ave) is ongoing. An estimated 100,000 to 200,000 gallons of sewage has been discharged into the drainage ditch that leads to Big Head Gully, Tatumville Gully, and Mobile Bay. The health department urges residents to exercise caution if using these water bodies for recreational purposes. Also, thoroughly cook any fish or seafood caught near by and wash hands after handling fish or seafood.

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