Title:
Sewage lift mechanism with remote alarm
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The invention is a sewage lift station having a chamber for accumulating sewage and a pump mechanism for expelling sewage to a remote location. A sewage drop pipe is provided which directs sewage entering into the station below a triggering mechanism on the pump thereby eliminating pump failure caused by solids within the sewage dropping onto it. A remote alarm system is provided to signal pump failure.



Inventors:
Polino, Mike (Springfield, MO, US)
Application Number:
11/494892
Publication Date:
02/01/2007
Filing Date:
07/28/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
F04B49/00
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Primary Examiner:
LETTMAN, BRYAN MATTHEW
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
LATHROP GAGE LLP (10851 Mastin Blvd, Building 82 Suite 1000, Overland Park, KS, 66210-1669, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A sewage lift station comprising: a housing, said housing having a top, a spaced apart bottom and a contiguous wall position therebetween to form an inner chamber; a sewage drop pipe mounted through the contiguous wall, the sewage drop pipe having an upper portion mounted outside the wall and a lower portion mounted inside the wall, said sewage drop pipe lower portion further terminating at an outlet orifice in fluid communication with the inner chamber of the housing; a sewage inlet pipe mounted in the upper portion of the sewage drop pipe; and a submersible pump having an inlet, a trigger mechanism and an outlet pipe; wherein sewage passes through the inlet pipe into the sewage drop pipe and through the outlet orifice by gravitational force where the sewage accumulates within the chamber to a predetermined depth whereupon the trigger mechanism is activated and the submersible pump draws sewage through the inlet and forcibly expels it through the outlet pipe to a remote location.

2. The sewage lift station of claim 1 wherein the outlet orifice of the sewage drop pipe is positioned generally below the trigger mechanism of the submersible pump.

3. The sewage lift station of claim 1 further comprising a fluid level alarm mounted within the upper portion of the sewage drop pipe to audibly signal failure of the submersible pump when sewage backs up into the upper portion of the sewage drop pipe.

4. The sewage lift station of claim 2 wherein the sewage drop pipe is formed into the wall of the housing such that the lower portion of the drop pipe is substantially within the chamber and the upper portion of the drop pipe is substantially outside of the housing wall.

5. The sewage lift station of claim 1 wherein the sewage drop pipe is formed separately from the housing wall.

6. The sewage lift station of claim 1 wherein the sewage drop pipe is formed by a rigid barrier depending from the top of the housing substantially adjacent the inlet pipe.

7. A sewage lift station comprising: a housing with an inner chamber; and a sewer inlet pipe for directing sewage to the chamber and a drop pipe connected to the inlet pipe for directing the sewage flow generally downward into the inner chamber.

8. The sewage lift station of claim 7 wherein the drop pipe has an upper portion oriented generally outside the housing and a lower portion oriented generally downward within the chamber.

9. The sewage lift station of claim 8 wherein the lower portion of the sewage drop pipe terminates at an outlet orifice in fluid communication with the inner chamber of the housing.

10. The sewage lift station of claim 9 wherein the sewage inlet pipe is mounted onto the upper portion of the sewage drop pipe.

11. The sewage lift station of claim 10 further comprising: a submersible pump having a pump inlet, a trigger mechanism and an outlet pipe; and wherein sewage passes through the inlet pipe into the sewage drop pipe and through the outlet orifice by gravitational force and whereupon the sewage accumulating within the chamber to a predetermined depth the trigger mechanism is activated and the submersible pump draws sewage through the pump inlet and forcibly expels it through the outlet pipe to a remote location.

12. The sewage lift station of claim 7 further wherein the housing further comprises a vented top.

13. The sewage lift station of claim 8 further comprising a fluid level alarm mounted within the upper portion of the sewage drop pipe to audibly signal failure of the submersible pump when sewage backs up into the upper portion of the sewage drop pipe.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit of priority to U.S. Application No. 60/704,115 filed Jul. 29, 2005, which is incorporated herein by reference.

BACKGROUND

The present invention generally relates to a sewage lift mechanism for use in residences or commercial buildings configured to reduce the likelihood of mechanical failure and further provided with an audible alarm to signal users of a potential overflow.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Sewage lift stations are commonly used in buildings where gravity flow sewer systems are not feasible. It is often necessary to forcibly pump sewage from a collection basin or other containment area to a remote sewer line or septic system. One such example would be in a residence with a basement where the basement toilet facilities are positioned below or down gradient the sewer lines.

Where it is necessary to forcibly pump sewage to a remote sewer line, it is common to provide a sewer lift station in which sewage is accumulated and, when a predetermined level of sewage is accumulated, a mechanical pump forces the sewage to a remote sewer line or other suitable place, such as a sewage treatment facility. A common sewage lift station includes a barrel shape sewage receptacle or housing which is formed into the substructure of a building. It is to be understood that the receptacle or housing can take any common shape. The sewage receptacle or housing will have a contiguous wall with a bottom and spaced apart top, again preferably in a barrel type configuration.

Sewage passes through a sewage inlet pipe mounted through the wall structure near the top of the sewage receptacle, where it drops into the receptacle by gravitational face. A mechanical pump is provided and is generally mounted to the bottom or floor of the receptacle. Such pumps are commonly referred to as submersible or sump pumps. The pump has an inlet portion and an outlet connected to an outlet pipe. The outlet pipe is connected to a sewer line, septic line, or other intended sewer receiving location. The pump is provided with a trigger mechanism to periodically activate the pump when sewage levels reach a predetermined depth, thereby causing the pump to forcibly discharge sewage through the outlet pipe. One such common triggering mechanism is a float which includes a buoyant portion and a link connected to an electronic switch within the pump. The float is buoyant and will generally remain on the upper surface or top of the accumulating sewage. When the float reaches a predetermined height or level, it triggers the switch which activates the pump, discharging sewage through the outlet pipe.

In known configurations of sewage lift stations, the inlet pipe passes through the housing wall into the inner chamber or portion of the housing. As sewage passes through the inlet pipe, it allows to drop into the sewage receptacle by gravitational force. It is not uncommon for solids commonly found within sewage flow to drop on top of the float, or similar triggering mechanism, which renders that triggering mechanism inoperable. When the float or triggering mechanism is inoperable, the pump is never signaled to evacuate the sewage housing and an overflow of sewage will occur. It is therefore desirable to provide a sewage lift station which is configured to eliminate the possibility of sewage solids trapping the pump triggering mechanism or otherwise rendering it inoperable.

Sewage lift stations are generally provided with an electrical alarm system which sounds when a sewage overflow is about to occur. Alarms are generally positioned within the sewage receptacle and attached to an inner surface of the wall. Because of the severe climate of the sewage receptacle and continued exposure to various sewage solids and liquids, lift station alarms have a high failure rate and a high rate of false alarm. The instant invention overcomes the limitations and problems particular to the previously known sewage lift stations as identified above and commonly known within the industry.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The invention is illustrated using the following figures along with a detailed description of the invention:

FIG. 1 is a cross-sectional view of one embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 2 is a top plan view of the invention.

FIG. 3 is a perspective partial view another embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 4 is a partial cross-sectional view of yet another embodiment of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a new and novel sewage lift station 102 for accumulating and conveying sewage to a remote destination.

Referring now generally to FIG. 1, an embodiment of the invention is shown which includes a substantial barrel shape sewage receptacle or housing 104. The housing 104 includes a contiguous wall 106 with a spaced apart top 108 and bottom 110. A sewer inlet pipe 112 is mounted onto the wall 106 of the sewer housing 104. A sewage drop pipe 114 is formed into the wall 106 of the housing 104 adjacent to and generally downward from the inlet pipe 112.

The sewage drop pipe 114 includes a lower portion 118 which depends generally downward from the side of the housing 104 toward the bottom surface 110 and away from the top surface 108. The sewage drop pipe 114 also includes an upper portion 116 which is oriented generally upward and adjacent the inlet pipe 112. It is preferred that the upper portion 116 of the sewage drop pipe 114 be positioned substantially on the outer surface of the housing 104, although it may be formed integrally therewith. The lower portion 118 of the sewage drop pipe 114 is preferably positioned inward or inside the housing 104 although it may also be formed integrally therewith. An opening 115 is provided through the housing 104 wall 106 so that sewage can pass from the inlet pipe 112 to the lower portion 118 of the sewage drop pipe 114.

Generally, the sewer inlet pipe 112 will be connected to, or near, the confluence of the lower portion 118 and upper portion 116 of the sewer drop pipe. It is to be understood that the piping discussed herein may be manufactured from discrete pipe sections common in the industry or may be of unitary and integral manufacture.

A submersible pump or sump pump 122 is provided within the housing 104 preferably mounted to the bottom surface 110. Sump pumps 122 require an electrical connection for operational power, which due to the inherent nature of such requirement, is not discussed in detail herein. The sump pump 122 is provided with a pump inlet 124, a triggering mechanism 126, a float 128 and an outlet pipe 130 as is common and standard on known sump pumps. The pump outlet pipe 130 is connected to a remote destination for sewage, such as a sewage line 132, septic line or treatment facility. The sump pump 122 works in the common manner. As sewage accumulates in the receptacle 104, the float 128 is elevated and whereupon a predetermined accumulation of sewage is reached, the triggering mechanism 126 is activated, whether electronically or mechanically. When the triggering mechanism 126 is activated, the pump motor draws sewage through the pump inlet 124 and forcibly expels the sewage through the outlet pipe 130 to the remote sewer line 132.

In the instant embodiment of the invention, as sewage is passed through the inlet pipe 112 into the sewage drop pipe 114, it falls by gravitational force through the lower portion 118 of the sewage drop pipe 114, through the pipe orifice and into the sewage receptacle 104. The outlet portion 118 of the sewage drop pipe 114 is positioned generally below or downward the float 128 and triggering mechanism 126 of the sump pump 122, so that sewage cannot drop onto the float 128 or triggering mechanism 126.

Known and common sewage lifts, sewage typically flows from an inlet pipe directly to the inside of the housing. Because the sewage pipe necessarily must be up gradient to allow for gravitational drop of sewage into the housing solids within the sewage can trap or damage the sump pump, particularly the float and triggering mechanism. It is not uncommon for the triggering mechanism to be trapped or damaged by solids in the sewage stream and prevented from activating the pump when the predetermined sewage level is reached.

In the present invention, as shown in FIG. 1, sewage flow passing from the inlet pipe 112 is directed through the lower portion 118 of the sewer drop pipe to a position below the float 128 and triggering mechanism 126 of the sump pump 122. This orientation removes the possibility of the float 128 being trapped or damaged by solids in the sewer flow. Please note that the terminal end of the drop pipe 114 must be spaced above the bottom 110 of the receptacle 104 to prevent solids within the sewage from being trapped between the pipe 114 and the bottom 110.

Sewage lift stations are commonly provided with an alarm mechanism which signals the user of a possible overflow. Accordingly, if solids within the sewage damage the sump, the triggering mechanism or otherwise trap the triggering mechanism preventing activation of the pump, the alarm is activated when the sewage level reaches a predetermined level. Alarm systems are typically positioned on the inner wall structure of the housing slightly above the accumulation level of sewage which is only surpassed in the event of failure of the pump triggering mechanism or the pump itself. Alarm systems are often damaged by solids within the sewage flow or the continuous exposure to the liquids and solids in the sewage flow. It is not uncommon for an alarm mounted in the traditional position to fail and not signal a sewage overflow. It is also common for an alarm to be false triggered when liquid is splashed onto it as it flows from the inlet pipe into the housing inlet chamber.

As shown in FIG. 1, an alarm mechanism 134 is provided in the instant invention within the upper portion 116 of the sewage drop pipe 114, outside the inner chamber of the sewage receptacle 104. Thusly, the alarm mechanism 134 is protected from false triggering by splashing liquids or becoming unworkable due to continued exposure to the harsh environment of the chamber. Similar to the pump 122, the alarm 134 is provided with an alarm float 136 and an associated alarm trigger 138. In the event sewage is backed up into the upper portion 116 of the sewer drop pipe 114, the alarm float 136 elevates with the sewage level to a predetermined level whereupon the alarm trigger 138 is activated, whether electronically or mechanically. Upon the alarm trigger 138 activating, a remote alarm (not shown) is sounded thereby audibly alerting users to a problem with the sewer lift 102.

The alarm mechanism 134 of the instant invention is only activated if the float 128 or triggering mechanism 126 of the pump 122 fails and allows sewage to back up into the upper portion 116 of the sewage drop pipe 114 up gradient the inlet pipe 112. This orientation allows the alarm 134 to only be triggered when sewage levels have greatly exceeded the desirable level thereby diminishing the likelihood of false alarms. The position of the alarm 134 also allows a user to access the alarm 134 for maintenance and checking without having to access the inner chamber of the sewage housing 104.

The inventive configuration of the sewage lift 102 can be created during original manufacture or is suitable to retrofit existing lifts. To retrofit an existing lift, the inlet pipe 112 is removed. It may be necessary to enlarge or reposition the original opening 115 through the wall 106 of the housing 104. The lower portion 118 of the drop pipe 114 is manipulated through the existing or newly formed opening 115. The inlet pipe 112 is connected to the upper portion 116. The upper portion 116 is fastened to the outer wall 106 of the housing 104. It may be necessary to seal the opening 115 after placement of the drop pipe 114. The alarm 134 may be powered by connecting the alarm to the power source for the sump 122.

Now referring to FIG. 2, it is preferable and necessary to provide venting in the lift station housing to prevent vapor lock. As shown, small vents 150 can be provided in the top or lid 108 of the housing. It is also preferable that the lid or housing be hinged 148 to allow access to the chamber of the housing 104 for maintenance and inspection.

FIG. 3 shows an alternative embodiment of the invention with a sewage drop receptacle 142 separate and apart from the lift station housing 104. This configuration also allows for easy retrofit of a sewage drop pipe 114 to existing housings 104. The receptacle 142 is attached to the outer wall of the housing and an orifice 146 is provided at the lower end. The sewage inlet pipe 112 is mounted directly into the drop receptacle 142 above the lower opening. The wall 106 of the sewage lift 102 housing is penetrated only at the orifice 146 such that sewage is passed from the inlet 112 and dropped into the drop receptacle 142 by gravitational force and then passes to the inner chamber of the housing 104 through the lower outlet 146. Again, this keeps the sewage from dropping onto the sump pump 122, the float 128 or the triggering mechanism 126.

FIG. 4 shows yet another embodiment of the invention which includes an integrated sewer drop chamber 144. This orientation is for newly manufactured lifts and is particularly useful to facilitate different mounting positions and orientations of the sump pump 122 for installation needs. The drop chamber 144 may be manufactured integral the wall 106 or preferably is a simple shield or internal wall 152 depending from the top 108 of the receptacle 104.

It will be apparent to those skilled in the art that various modifications and variations can be made in the system and configuration of the present invention without departing from the spirit or scope of the invention. The present invention covers the modifications and variations of this invention provided they come within the scope of the appended claims and their equivalents.