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Sanicubic Lift Station Solves Industrial Firm’s Long-Distance Drainage Problems Cost-Effectively

With below-floor drainage not an option, new duplex grinder device pumps effluent from silkscreen washout booth at one end of Chicago manufacturer’s 15,000-square-foot building to floor drain 100 feet away.

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—What does a manufacturer do when a production process that requires drainage is situated at the back end of its facility, a good 100 feet away from the nearest drain on the front side of the building?

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“Run a really long pipe” might be your logical, but not-so-helpful recommendation. Maneuvering that pipe around all the obstacles between the back and front of a busy manufacturing operation is no easy task. Besides, how do you keep the effluent moving swiftly and steadily through that pipeline?

No such thing as ‘perfect’: This was the quandary recently facing Rob Seitz, owner of Kolbi Pipe Marker Company, a maker of mechanical identification products in northwest suburban Chicago. For four decades, Kolbi has provided plumbing, heating and mechanical contractors with tags, tapes, labels, markers and stencils for clearly identifying the piping systems they build in various commercial and industrial settings: schools, hospitals, churches, office buildings, and the like.

After 10 years in Wheeling, Ill., Seitz and his colleagues relocated operations this past spring to more spacious quarters in nearby Arlington Heights, located approximately 25 miles northwest of downtown Chicago. Just about every facet of the new, single-level, 15,000-square-foot operation is a major improvement over the old site, according to Seitz. “But there’s no such thing as a perfect building,” he warns. For Kolbi, the major imperfection was found in a lack of below-floor drainage for a key production process.

Silk-screening is one of the ways the company uses to generate its pipe markers, and the screens from this process must be regularly cleaned before reuse. The company does this in a washout booth, located in the rear section of the new facility and well away from the nearest drain. Okay, so why not move the booth closer to that drain, Rob?

“Washing the screens is a noisy operation, so we prefer to isolate it in the back” – well away from most everyone else.

As Seitz was casting around for a solution to his predicament, he came across a trade advertisement in The Wholesaler magazine: “We work with plumbing and heating distributors and contractors all the time, so we make a point of receiving many of their publications,” he explains.

The ad in question described a “new generation of duplex [pumping] system’ that featured a pair of one-horsepower grinders and the ability to move fluids “…up to 36 feet vertically or 328 feet horizontally,” or some combination of the two. Studying the illustration of the new Sanicubic® Classic Lift Station from Saniflo, Seitz realized almost immediately that he had stumbled upon the solution to his long-distance drainage problem.

“Until that point, our only thought was to rip up the concrete floor and install a new drainage line the length of the building,” says Seitz. “But that would have been so costly, we weren’t thrilled with the idea. On the other hand, the Sanicubic solution was much more affordable, as well as a lot easier and less time-consuming to install.”

What is a Sanicubic? For more than 50 years, SFA Saniflo has manufactured macerating and gray water pumping systems for handling wastewater from multiple plumbing fixtures and appliances within individual bath, kitchen, wet bar and laundry room applications. In 2009, the company unveiled a much different and far more powerful type of grinder system, the Sanicubic, for handling effluent from multiple fixtures not just in one bathroom, but throughout an entire house or even a small commercial facility like Kolbi’s.

Capable of processing 60 gallons of effluent per minute from several outlets, the new system houses its two, 1-horsepower motors inside a compact but durable plastic enclosure, measuring 23-3/4 inches wide x 19-1/4 inches deep x 16-1/2 inches high. Each independently operating grinder has its own fast-rotating cutting blade to reduce solids in the wastewater stream from toilets, tubs and showers, sinks, washing machines and dishwashers.

Effluent enters the Sanicubic through one of five different inlets—one on either side of the unit at the bottom and three along the top. Each adjustable inlet can range in diameter from approximately 1-1/2 inches to 4 inches. As soon as the effluent level reaches the trigger point in the long pickup or dip tube located inside the unit, the pumping system activates.

Effluent is pumped from the Sanicubic through 1-1/2-inch PVC or CPVC piping connected to the top of the lifting station. As required by many local plumbing codes, the device also has a 1-1/2-inch stack vent at the top of the unit for venting to the outdoors.

Perfect solution: In Kolbi’s application, wastewater and chemicals from the washout booth drain directly into the nearby Sanicubic unit. From there, it is pumped through the 1-1/2-inch Schedule 40 PVC piping 18 feet vertically to a horizontal main at the ceiling.

This 3-inch line, also made of PVC, travels the length of the building with a pitch of 4 inches every 10 feet, or roughly 40 inches for the entire 100-foot length. At that point, the main links to another vertical line that drops the effluent into the drain that connects to the municipal sewer system.

Seitz, who purchased the Sanicubic from Wheeling-based wholesaler Michael Wagner & Sons, had his maintenance chief handle the installation. The entire job took roughly 15 hours: five to make the plumbing and electrical connections for the Sanicubic and roughly twice that total to run the 136 feet of plastic piping from the unit to the drain.

“There were no special challenges during the installation,” Seitz reports. “It went very smoothly, and it certainly was much better than pounding through the concrete to run below-floor drainage, and then have to close up the floor again.”

As for the drainage operation itself, that has performed very smoothly as well, handling between five and 10 gallons of effluent each day, on average. “We may not have an absolutely perfect building,” Seitz reports, “but the Sanicubic was a perfect solution to our drainage problems. We have been very happy with the results.”


Rob Seitz
Kolbi Pipe Marker Company
fax 800-596-3057

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SANIFLO U.S.A. is the only manufacturer of its kind in North America, offering a complete line of macerating, upflush toilet systems and gray water pumping systems for residential and commercial applications. Saniflo developed its innovative, “above-floor plumbing” technology more than a half-century ago and has led its commercialization worldwide. Today, the company markets macerating technology through 14 subsidiaries in 50 countries. Saniflo markets through independent sales agents throughout North America, and the product line is currently available at distributor and dealer locations throughout the United States and Canada.

For more information, contact Saniflo at 1-800-571-8191. Or visit the Saniflo website at

For editorial assistance, including photography, contact John O’Reilly c/o GreenHouse Digital + PR:
815-469-9100 or


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