What Impacted Homeowners Should Know About The Sewer Extension Project
If you are a property owner in the town of Zionsville on a septic system and are specifically located in any of the six areas that are impacted by the town’s Sewer Extension Project, you may be interested in what local resident and business owner Danny Gerald Jr. had to share regarding the systems that are being installed as well as more about what property owners can anticipate in terms of upgrading from septic and tying into the town’s sewer line.
SOME IMPORTANT TALKING POINTS
According to the Town of Zionsville’swebsite [noted below], Phase I construction that was expected to begin on or around October 1, 2022, is expected to be completed with all sewers operational and available for connection by the end of January 2023. No full road closures are expected. There are six general areas included in this project [see list below], and work will jump between these areas based on material availability.
The town’s website also covers some general questions in its Q&A section of the Sewer Extension Project page listed under Public Works/Wastewater Division, including the following information:
• Although state law does allow for the Town to require connection of properties located within 300 feet of a sewer main, the Town is currently developing these sewer extensions with the intent to allow connection by adjacent properties to be optional.
• Property owners will be responsible for hiring a plumbing contractor to install a grinder pump unit to serve their home as well as the pipes from the home to the grinder unit and from the grinder unit to the main in the street—also to decommission the existing septic tank.
• Additionally, a $4,000 sewer availability and $25 permit fee will need to be paid to
the Town at the time of connection.
• The Town will be responsible for maintaining the sewer main along the street. Property owners will be responsible for owning and maintaining the grinder pump unit and piping up to the point of connection to the main sewer.
LET’S ASK AN EXPERT
Although the Town of Zionsville is not endorsing any contractors so as not to endorse any providers over others, Zionsville Monthly reached out to Zionsville resident and business owner Danny Gerald Jr., owner at 317 Plumber / Indy Water Heater and Softener LLC, an A+ BBB accredited business. Gerald has been a licensed plumber for more than 25 years, and his company regularly receives stellar reviews generated by social media such as the local Z’ville Moms and Nextdoor groups. Gerald’s personal property is one of the impacted properties in Zionsville, and he shared his expertise with us as well as reasons that homeowners would want to “tie-in” to the town’s sewer system, sooner than later contractor, regardless of whether they choose to hire him and his team of experts or some other contractor.
“I live in one of the neighborhoods that is going to be affected,” Gerald said. “We’re going to be tied into the same sewer line that the neighbors are going to be on. As more and more neighbors reached out to us, I came to the realization that I would rather my neighbors be taken care of by us and that we will give them a quote, right at the beginning, and that will be adhered to. I’m doing this [work] because it’s my neighborhood and because it’s Zionsville.”
When asked what property owners can expect with regards to the process and price of tying into the town’s sewer system, Gerald provided many specifics and suggestions.
“We will come out and assess each property to see what it’s going to require in order to get away from septic and to tie into the sewer line,” Gerald said. “In that process, we’re going to look and see where the septic tank is currently sitting and whether the home is on a crawl, basement or a slab [foundation]. We will tie into the piping before the septic tank and divert [the waste] into a different pit. Inside of the pit, there’ll be a pump that pushes it to the town’s sewer [line].”
Gerald also mentioned that an electrical panel will need to be installed, and that panel will notify the property owner if there is ever an issue inside of the pit. For property owners choosing to work with 317 Plumber, the electrical work that will be required will be coordinated inhouse by Gerald’s team, and all internal inspections related to the project will also be handled by Gerald’s crew. Additionally, Gerald and his team will work with the town’s inspectors who will ask to see certain things before they cover the new work with soil.
As per the town’s requirements, regardless of contractor, any “abandoned” septic tank must be “collapsed” by rock or sand and filled up completely to avoid the tank rusting and creating a crater in one’s yard.
When asked what Gerald’s company’s lead time is at present, he replied, “As of right now, we’re about 45 days from being able to tie on the first property.”
THE BENEFITS OF TYING IN NOW VERSUS LATER
The upfront costs of “tying” into the town’s sewer system is a hard pill to swallow, but the convenience and value it adds to the property in terms of resale value is well worth the investment. And posted on the Town of Zionsville’s website: “Per the Boone County Health Department, the construction or full replacement of a septic system will not be permitted once sanitary sewer service is available. The approval of minor repairs to existing systems will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.”
Although there is no deadline for homeowners and connections can occur whenever the homeowner decides in the future, Gerald stated reasons why impacted property owners should consider addressing the inevitable now rather than later.
“The benefits [of tying into the town’s sewer line] are that you’re not going to have sewage leaking into your yard, and it’s a very efficient way of deposing sewage,” Gerald added. “I am 100 percent confident that the town is not going to issue any further permits for any kind of replacement septic systems for residents within the sewer extension project areas. So, the choice for the property owners is going to be do it now or wait until your system fails and then it becomes an emergency.”
Gerald continued, “Now is really the time to do it. We’re trying to bore the sewer lines in the yards so that we don’t have to excavate the entire yard and so it doesn’t look like a war zone. There are going to be excavation points in some places, but the majority of the work is going to be bored. If people wait until all this [boring] machinery is gone from the street and it’s been relocated to another area, the cost of the project will go up. We do have financing options and have identified KeyBank as a financing partner. Chris Larkin, the Branch Manager, of the Zionsville location is aware of our project and ready to answer financing questions. He can be reached at 317-733-4030. KeyBank has unsecured debt that they’re willing to do for the homeowners as long as they quality. And they can finance the $4,000 [connection fee] along with the entire system that needs to be put into place. We’re looking at every cost-cutting measure we can think of to make this as affordable as possible, but this is not a cheap system. But is a turnkey solution for the customers that choose our company’s services. This includes everything I’ve discussed — plumbing and electrical — and restoration of the yard including the earthwork, seed and straw.”
Jim Weingart, field manager at 317 Plumber, explained that there are two pumps that the town of Zionsville has approved for installation regardless of who is installing them. Weingart shared why he and Gerald prefer installing one over the other.
“The town is specifying either an E/One [pump] or Zoeller [pump],” Weingart said. “The E/One is the more prevalent and top-of-the-line pump. It’s a ‘plumber-preferred’ pump. The lifetime of the E/One has been known to last 20 years. The average time before an [E/One] needs servicing is approximately 10 years, depending on the variables and whether the [property owners] follow the manufacturer’s recommendations.”
Weingart continued, “The E/One [pump] is far superior and more cost effective than Zoeller from the time of installation and throughout [the pumps] life cycle. Zoeller [pumps] aren’t able to pump as much lifting force. An E/One [pump] can pump 2 miles straight up into the air, where a Zoeller [pump] can only pump a couple hundred feet in the air. The E/One comes with stainless steel components versus the Zoeller system that comes with standard steel if it’s not upgraded. The waste eats away at the [standard] steel much faster than stainless steel.”
Once the work has commenced, Gerald said it takes his crew an average of 2 days to complete the work. For more information on 317Plumber and/or more details on the available sewer pump systems and financing, call 317-PLUMBER. For more information on the Sewer Extension Project, visit zionsvillein.gov/651/Sewer-Extension-Project.
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