Frequently Asked Questions
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the town schedule pump service or does the homeowner?
The homeowner must
call for service. Most pumps are E-One pumps, which are serviced by
FR Mahoney in Rockland MA, contact information is below.
To be on the safe
side, call FR Mahoney now and determine if the pump is
registered with them and if it is under warranty. If the pump is not
registered, do so then, and FR Mahoney will come out and do a free
inspection of your pump.
If under warranty,
call FR Mahoney for service. If it is not under warranty, you may
have other options (see below), but explore those before you have a
failure. More information will follow when we have it.
services pumps when there is a failure?
E-One pumps are
serviced by FR Mahoney. It is reported that they do not perform any
work on weekends and holidays, but this has not been verified. FR
Mahoney charges $150 for each visit to your home on top of their
hourly rate and any parts needed.
E-One Grinder Pump
273 Weymouth ST
Rockland, MA 02370
there any other companies that service E-One pumps?
There is mixed
information regarding this. These pumps can be serviced by other
companies, but the parts are only available through a single
distributor, FR Mahoney in Rockland MA. FR Mahoney is the sole
distributor of parts in MA, ME, NH VT and RI. When a homeowner is
without a grinder pump, this constitutes an emergency for the
homeowner and eliminating a step by getting service through the
distributor may be the most expedient thing to do.
To test the alarm on
the grinder pump
Open the door to the grinder pump control panel and
shut off the breaker to the pump only.
Leave the alarm breaker on.
Verify the alarm sounds
Run ~12 gallons of water .
Result: the alarm should sound
Verify the alarm terminates
Turn the breaker to the pump back on
Result: the pump should pump down in less
than a minute and the alarm should terminate
If your pump fails either verification, you need to
will the Sewer Dept do to help me in an emergency?
The town has a truck
with a generator that will come and pump your tank during power
Per Gary Persichetti,
Director of Public Works Facilities, “The main number for the Sewer
Division (978-250-5233) has an answering machine that states if it is
an emergency and it is after hours please call the police department
at 978-256-2521. The Police Department can reach those on call 24/7
to assist in an emergency.”
Mike Vosnakis, Superintendent, Chelmsford DPW - Sewer Division,
to the storm and state of emergency most town personnel have
been released at 3:00pm today. The town hall sewer office will
be closed until Feb 22.
policy as determined by the BOS has been that the Sewer Dept.
may provide assistance to pump down residential grinder pumps
extended power outage during normal working hours,
M-F, 7-3, and only if personnel are available. This may be
done no more than once per day and is on a first come first
personnel are involved with snow removal operations and aren't
available during this period, Sewer personnel also have to
perform snow removal for 43 sewer locations after plowing
streets in addition to any repairs or emergencies that come
up. In the past, a snow event of this magnitude has shown that
we would not be available for at least 2-3 days after the snow
procedure would be to call the police 978-256-2521 or
understand that there are over 475 grinder installations in
town. During previous major power outages and under ideal
conditions we were able to provide a maximum of 3 crews for
part of the outages. The crews were each only able to average
less than 3 pump downs per hour. With deep snow, this would be
significantly reduced. If you do the math, I think you would
quickly realize the situation we have to deal with."
if the pump on my property is not an E-One?
Other pumps known to
be installed in Chelmsford are Liberty and Barnes.
Barnes pumps are
serviced by United Compressor & Pump
Services Inc. They may service Liberty pumps as well. Their travel
cost is considerably less than FR Mahoney. While they are willing to
service E-One pumps, FR Mahoney is the sole distributor in 5 of the 6
New England states for the parts so there would be a delay in service.
for United Compressor
United Compressor &
Pump Services Inc.
13 Delaware Drive,
Salem, NH 03079
will the pump have to be replaced and how much will that cost me?
replacement will be required in 8 to 10 years. Some homeowners have
reported pumps over 10 years old are still working. Others have had
to replace the pump in half that time.
Replacement has been
estimated between $3000 to $4000 including cost of pump and service.
If replacement is required in less than 10 years you
may want to consider a
pump engineered for your site based on slope, distance to the street
and number of persons in the household. One size does not necessarily
have to have a grinder pump?
At the beginning of
the sewer project it was determined that approximately 200 homes would
require an alternative to a gravity system due to terrain or proximity
to lakes, streams or wetlands. There are currently over 500 homes in
Chelmsford that have grinder pumps. Some of these homes could have
been serviced by a gravity system, but we don’t know that number at
the time of this entry.
there any data on forcing this burden on homeowners?
WERF, the Water
Environment Research Foundation in their
2010 Final Report on waste water basics states:
“A management issue
that was addressed early in the history of pressure sewers was that of
pump ownership. Some communities chose to put the burden of ownership
on the property owners and homeowner associations with disastrous
results. Today, pressure sewer systems are wholly maintained by a
local utility. . . In most case, the connection fee includes the cost
(including installation) of all the on-lot components. The operation
and maintenance costs are amortized into the monthly sewer bill.”
if the power goes out?
Limit your water usage as much as
possible. The tank does have extra storage capacity and should be
adequate because you are not using the dishwasher, washing machine,
etc. When the power comes on again, the alarm may go off for a short
time – this is normal because the water could be above the pump’s
alarm level and the pump needs a few minutes to pump down the tank to
a normal level. If the alarm does not turn off, call for service.
The best way to handle power outages is
using an alarm panel that is equipped with a Remote Sentry Module and
a generator receptacle. The Remote Sentry is a remote alarm with a
buzzer & LED that indicates a high water alarm even if the power is
out, when it is connected to the Remote Sentry Contacts in the panel.
So, the home owner can use the water until the Remote Sentry indicates
that the tank is full, then they plug a 6500W generator into the
receptacle on the panel, the pump comes on, pumps down and they can
continue to use water.
Do I need to do
anything special if I will be away for several days?
When asked this
question, we didn’t find anything on the E-One website, but the town
Groton, Ct which owns and maintains most of the grinder pumps in
town writes this:
“If you plan on
being away for several days, replace the wastewater in the tank with
clean water to help minimize odors. First run water from an inside
faucet long enough for the grinder pump to start working. After the
pump starts, turn the inside faucet off. The pump will run until the
tank is empty and shut off automatically. This process will cleanse
the pump and leave it filled with a minimum of clean water. Always
leave the power to the pump on. This allows the heating element
inside the pump to operate which helps eliminate condensation and
What are you asking from the town for "Fairness" regarding our sewer
One issue is that
homeowners serviced by a gravity system have zero cost after
installation beyond their sewer fee. Homeowners with grinder pumps
pay their sewer fee, but also have the additional burden of
replacement and maintenance costs.
Another issue is that
these same homeowners with grinder pimps endure hardships during
failures that not should be experienced by persons in a modern
is the average lead-time for the proper parts to be available?
This can vary. FR
Mahoney service persons carry parts with them. But if they don't have
the part(s) with them, it is normally available from the supplier in
Rockland MA and can be brought the next day.
The supply of parts
does not appear to be the long pole. It is actually the availability
of technicians during a widespread power outage where problems seem to
crop up more frequently.
is the response time experienced by home owners to have their system
pumped during our frequent long duration power failures?
We don't have exact
data on this and the information is all anecdotal. One homeowner said
as short as 2 hours, others said a day, and one homeowner said the
truck never came. Having to cover 500 homes with limited toilet
facilities could stretch manpower in these situations.
State Tax Credit For Septic
owners who complied with the town are eligible)
This is a credit off
your actual tax, not just a reduction in your taxable income, so
it’s worth doing.
Download or obtain Mass
Schedule SC – This allows credit for repairing or REPLACING
a failed cesspool or septic system.
Since our systems have
not failed you must obtain a Certificate of Compliance from the
Sewer Department. They will send you one upon request. A phone
call sufficed for me. You only need to have the CoP on file, so I
believe you can file for the credit before you actually have the
CoP in hand.
The instructions are on
page 3 of Schedule SC..
You can claim 40% of
the actual costs you incurred to replace your septic system. There
is a limit of $15,000 to total costs, so you can only claim a
maximum of $6,000.
You can only claim
$1500 per year, but you can carry the excess over for the next 4
The instructions say
any ‘reasonable and necessary’ costs are allowable. This would
imply installation costs, electrical work, and generator purchase.
Perhaps any landscaping you had to do afterwards would qualify.
The amount of your
credit goes on Mass Schedule Z, line 3, and on line 13 (the total
of your Schedule Z
Schedule Z, line 13
goes on Form 1, line 30.
Don’t forget to include
Schedule SC with your return or the credit will be disallowed.
many homeowners are there in Chelmsford who pay the sewer fee?
approximately 13,000 homes and all of us pay the sewer fee.
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