NEWTON, KAN. — Two months ago, retired manufacturing engineer Thomas Tittel purchased a five-bedroom, three-bath home here to support an innovative addiction recovery program. Unknown to Tittel, the 3,245-sq.ft. ranch home lacked proper plumbing for a basement bathroom necessary to accommodate the 10 planned renters from Oxford House, a transitional housing program for recovering alcoholics and addicts.
“Although a basement bathroom was roughed in, it would have cost upwards of $2,500 to install the necessary sewage ejector pit and pump to make the water flow properly,” said Tittel, who learned of an alternative solution from plumbing representative Brett Bartlik, who is affiliated with one of 18 Oxford Houses in neighboring Witchita, Kan.
A 20-year plumbing industry veteran, Bartlik knew a solution for Tittel’s plumbing problem and recommended the Saniflo SANIBEST heavy-duty grinding system.
“When you offer people an economical and straightforward alternative to digging up a concrete floor, it’s no contest between above-floor and conventional plumbing,” said Bartlik, who is also a sales representative with Kansas City, Mo.-based Neenan Co., a plumbing wholesaler with locations in Missouri and Kansas.
Above-floor grinding and macerating systems, such as those made by SFA Saniflo, enable homeowners to install a bathroom virtually anywhere without breaking through the floors — a special advantage when those floors are made of concrete. Instead of routing waste and water down through a conventional floor drain, Saniflo macerating and grinder systems pump the effluent up through a 3/4-in. or 1-in. discharge line made of PVC or CPVC to a soil stack or septic tank.
By using a SANIBEST heavy-duty grinder system, Tittel was able to create a full basement bathroom, and route all waste water from not only the toilet, but also the tub/shower and lavatory sink, through the unit situated behind the toilet. Constructed from hardened steel, the unit’s grinder blade rotates against a stationary, perforated base plate, so that waste is quickly and easily dispersed through the base plate’s holes before being pumped into the discharge line.
“The SANIBEST can easily handle the accidental flushing of sanitary articles, such as feminine products, baby wipes, dental floss, etc.,” said Bartlik. “In fact, I won’t sell a pump without a grinder blade. In our business you have to plan for the worst-case scenario.”
The SANIBEST cutting blade operates at 3,600 revolutions per minute, using a 0.8-horsepower pump to send the effluent to the sewer or septic system. Although Tittel’s system needs to pump waste and water just nine vertical feet and 10 horizontal feet to tie into the home’s sewer line, the SANIBEST can move effluent up to 150 horizontal feet and 18 vertical feet. This extra pumping power, which uses 1.28-gpf., provides home and building owners flexibility in deciding where to put a new bathroom.
The up-flush grinder system took plumbing contractor Darence Munsell, owner of Newton, Kan.-based Master Plumbing Inc., a little more than three hours to install. “I’ve worked with up-flush technology for several years now and think it’s a great solution for certain applications,” said Munsell. “The installation was very straightforward and a real time-saver.”
Upon learning of the Oxford House project from Bartlik, Micah Moseley of Cornerstone Sales Agency, Saniflo’s Tulsa, Okla.-based sales agent in Kansas, arranged for the SANIBEST system to be donated free of charge to the non-profit organization.
“The home’s original plumber misread the location of the sewer line, so they would have had to re-plumb the entire project without this innovative solution,” explained Moseley. “Everyone needs a second chance to succeed, and we appreciate the opportunity to lend a helping hand.”
Tittel views the project as a group success. “This was one way that I could give something back to a community,” he said. “It turned out to be such a positive experience, I’m thinking of doing it again if it would benefit more neighbors in other cities.”
Oxford House Inc. is a worldwide network of self-run, self-supported recovery houses for individuals in recovery from addiction to alcohol and or other drugs. Since Oxford House began in 1975, this publicly supported, non-profit 501(c)3 corporation has established more than 1,600 Oxford Houses throughout the United States.
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