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Three months ago, Hurricane Sally struck our area, leaving many of us to deal with the damage and challenges it caused. We haven’t experienced a major storm like this one with long power outages in many years, so we came to learn a lot from the aftermath. In particular, we learned a lot in relation to grinder pumps. After talking to many of our customers after Hurricane Sally and reviewing the results of our recent post-hurricane survey, we believe that the best way to move forward is to require that all grinder pumps and lift stations installed on the Baldwin County Sewer Service (BCSS) sewer system include a generator transfer switch in the pumps’ panel boxes. We will also be selling transfer switches for customers with existing grinder pumps that can be installed by an electrician. The new panel boxes and separate transfer switches will be available starting January 4, 2021. 

Even though our customers learned much from the experience, one thing is unavoidable: pumps don’t work without power. As the post-hurricane results showed, most people stayed in their homes during and after the storms, even if power was out for over a week. Even though many of us aren’t taking as many showers, washing clothes and doing dishes as usual, it can still be difficult to limit water usage to the necessary extent. We don’t want so many of our customers to go without using water in their homes after the next major storm. Our sewer system has grown significantly in the last several years, and as it continues to grow with Baldwin County, many more pumps will be installed in the coming years. Since BCSS installs and repairs pumps for our sewer system where they are needed, we decided that it is time for new pump panel boxes to be upgraded with the generator transfer switch feature.  We have been working with our pump manufacturer, Keen, and distributor, JH Wright, to produce the new panel boxes, as shown in the picture above

To empty the pump basin for water use while the power is out, customers can connect an appropriate power cord from the pump transfer switch to a suitable generator. Instructions are inside each transfer switch and each new pump panel box that BCSS installs. More details are available on our website, along with all severe weather tips related to the sewer system. 

BCSS will be selling transfer switches to existing customers with grinder pumps who want one for $290, which can be added to the next monthly bills or added to monthly bills in installments for up to six months with no interest. Since the BCSS electricians’ schedules are already full, customers will need to hire an electrician to install transfer switches for existing pumps. Please contact us if you are interested in purchasing one from us. 

We’re increasing grinder pump awareness to help customers who have them know that they do, why they do, what pumps are and how to take care of them, plus what to do after a natural disaster. BCSS will be more prepared for upcoming hurricanes, and we want our customers and the community to be as ready as possible. Hopefully, it’s many more years before we experience another catastrophic hurricane!