Hamburg City Council voted recently to make a $39,000 purchase to upgrade the city’s sewer service. 

At a special-called meeting, a quorum of the council voted 4-0 to grant permission to purchase two grinder pumps for the city sewer system.

“Eighty percent of our sewer is gravity,” Mayor Dane Weindorf said. “It all flows to a pit that is 33 feet below ground level, and you have to keep it low so the gravity will make it go there.”

From the pit, pumps move the sewer effluent a quarter mile to the treatment and settlement area. The problem has been that the pumps currently in place can’t handle when solid debris comes through the system.

“We went to grinder pumps because the other pumps would get plugged up with mop strings and whatever thing people put down their commodes, diapers and things like that,” Weindorf said. 

“On a regular pump it will stop it up, after it sucks this up it will keep spinning and burn.”

The grinder pumps, on the other hand, work like large garbage disposals and chew up whatever comes through, allowing continued free flow of the sewer. The pumps the city already has cost $5,000 to be rewired every time they burn out, he said.

“The grinder pumps cost more, but in the longer term if you take a pump three times a year and have it rewired, it was costing us $15,000 a year to get it reworked,” he said. “The old system wasn’t working. It caused problems the last two months.”

Weindorf said it is important for residents that the city make this improvement. 

“If we don’t pump it out of the pit, the manholes will fill up with sewer,” he said. “If the manholes fill up in front of your house, your sewer won’t leave your house. Your commode will back up, everything will back up.”

In the interim, the city has also purchased a bypass pump that sits on a trailer. 

The bypass pump moves the sewer from the pit to the settlement ponds, but in the future, if the city’s electrical service goes out, it can be hooked up to a generator and continue pumping at the site, Wendorf said.


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