For the first time ever, the wastewater generated by the City is being reclaimed and reused for the betterment of the community and the environment. The reclamation facility consists of a state-of-the-art treatment plant that will produce up to one million gallons per day of “Class A” reclaimed water and a reuse system capable of using 100% of the water generated by the plant.
The city also has approximately 1,200 community STEP tanks. The support services provided by the collections division includes new development inspection, STEP tank maintenance, call-outs for repair, and repair and maintenance of existing collection lines.
Water Reclamation Staff
Tim Petersen, Director of Public Works
Jim Doty, Plant Manager
STEP SYSTEM INFORMATION
This information is for homeowners who are users of the City of Yelm Sewer Department’s STEP System. The STEP (Septic Tank Effluent Pumping) System is a part of our sewage system designed for particular areas, and it is important to have a basic understanding of how the system operates. The STEP System has distinct characteristics, as follows: smaller pipes made from PVC (polyvinyl chloride) can be used; the pipe does not have to be laid as deeply in the ground as the conventional gravity system; intrusion by sand and ground water is virtually eliminated; manholes are not required; and the system allows freedom in site layout of new developments. The system is owned and operated by the City of Yelm. Electrical service is provided by separate utility service or from the house panel. The on-lot equipment consists of the pre-treatment tank, pump, control panel and miscellaneous appurtenances. Wastewater from the house travels through a pipe into the STEP tank. In the tank, the wastewater is treated anaerobically. When the liquid level in the tank reaches the proper height (approximately 75 gallons), the control system turns on the pump, which then runs about 7-10 minutes, pumping a set volume of liquid out of the tank through the service line to the pressure main, and on to the Wastewater Treatment Plant.
DO’s and DON’Ts for the STEP User:
Call (360) 458-8411 whenever the red light and alarm comes on. It sounds like a smoke alarm. The audible alarm can be silenced by pushing the illuminated light located directly above the PUSH TO SILENCE label on the front of the electrical control panel. With normal use, the tank has a reserve storage capacity good for approximately 24 hours.
Call the City of Yelm if your drains are running slow. The problem may be in either the STEP tank or your household plumbing. A City representative will check and correct any problems in the pre-treatment tank. If it is found to be in your household plumbing, you will be advised to call a plumber.
Feel free to place a birdbath, potted plant or other yard decoration on the tank riser lid, as long as it can be readily removed for the sake of maintenance (less than 50 lbs.). Landscaping or permanent structures should be planned prior to installation in order to ensure that the integrity of the system is not jeopardized. Unless you have a steel lid, don’t drive a vehicle over the lid.
Practice water conservation. By reducing the amount of water going into your system, you can extend the life of the system and reduce the power consumption. A toilet float can hang up and result in over 2,000 gallons per day of wasted water. Normal household usage ranges from 100-200 gallons per day. Use water-saving devices in the toilet tank, and don’t flush unnecessarily.
Don’t shut off the breaker marked “Yelm Sewer” in your electrical breaker panel. This would shut down all power for both the pump & the alarm and could cause a back up in your home.
Don’t flush undesirable substances into the sewer. DO NOT FLUSH flammable materials, plastics, cigarette butts, sanitary napkins, contraceptives, excessive grease, coffee grounds, excessive hair or garbage disposal waste.
Don’t enter your tank. Any work on the tank should be done from the outside by authorized personnel. Gases that can be generated in the tank and/or the lack of oxygen can be fatal.