The Town of Jerusalem is located in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York. The region's geography is gashed by several gullies and deep ravines that run down to Keuka Lake; valleys and rolling hills used primarily as farm land; and, steep slopes on the waterfront.
It was precisely the natural beauty and rocky terrain the region prizes that would make it laborious, environmentally disruptive and almost certainly cost-prohibitive to excavate for conventional gravity sewering.
Hundreds of vacation homes (seasonal occupancy is only approximately 20-percent full-time residents) are located very close to the lake, often on small building lots with very little room for septic leach fields. A high water table and ineffective subsurface drainage means the drain fields have poor percolation to begin with, so decline is rapid and inevitable.
The town had required homes to be scrutinized every five years. If an existing septic system flunked inspection, corrections were required which often included the installation of a new tank and drain field at a cost of $20,000 to $30,000 per residence. In many instances there was not enough room to put in an up-to-date replacement.
Constructing a gravity sewer system, back in 1999, was estimated to cost $6 million, whereas an E/One pressure sewer system would cost $3.2 million. The proposed LPS for the Town of Jerusalem eliminated the need for 12 lift stations with a total cost savings of $900,000. Nor did it require a rock excavation outlay pegged at $775,000.