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CASE STUDY

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John O’Reilly, O’Reilly/DePalma
Telephone: 815-469-9100, extension 302

For the Media: Lake Michigan marina outfits two floating, 600-square-foot bathhouses

It’s Smooth Sailing for Busy Marina Bathhouses, Thanks to Powerful, Reliable Macerating Plumbing

Lake Michigan marina outfits two floating, 600-square-foot bathhouses, each with six bathrooms and a laundry room, and equipped with macerating plumbing to avoid system failures during peak usage by the general public.

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by Julie Reynolds

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— When the Hammond Marina on Lake Michigan opened for the season in May 2009, boaters were greeted with a pair of new dockside conveniences: two floating bathhouses, each with six bathrooms and a laundry room. You wouldn’t know it, looking at them nestled into the dock today, but the ADA-compliant, 15-foot x 42-foot facilities were built in a factory more than 400 miles away and trucked to Indiana on an 18-wheeler.

Installing the bathhouses was a much-needed upgrade to the main dock, and customer satisfaction was the project’s top priority for the Hammond Port Authority. To help meet that goal, the authority brought in Deborah Nattrass to oversee the complex job. Nattrass is co-owner of Product Link, Inc. and Nautical Nature, Inc., both of which specialize in marina products in California and the Great Lakes areas.

Through the years, Nattrass has overseen a range of marine projects that involve installing pump-out systems, docks, floating bathrooms and floating houses. For the Hammond Marina, she recognized that top-notch plumbing was key to customer satisfaction, so she opted to use Saniplus macerating toilets from SFA Saniflo Inc. in all 12 bathrooms, reducing the potential for clogging and other plumbing problems that are common in public restrooms.

“This setup is unique,” says Hammond Harbormaster Keith Carey. “I’m not sure a conventional toilet would have worked. If not for the macerating pumps, I would foresee a lot of problems.”

Up to 1,000 People Daily: With more than 1,100 slips accommodating watercraft as large as 80 feet, Hammond’s is the second largest publicly owned marina on Lake Michigan. Two thirds of the marina’s customers will rely on the new facilities. “On an average weekend, the marina will serve 800 to 1,000 people a day,” Carey says.

Adds Nattrass: “I’ve heard of harbormasters saying public baths can be a headache for marina operators, so we try to prevent that. Whenever you do a marina project, it’s good to have macerating plumbing, because you don’t want any issues with a floating structure. Saniflo makes the bathroom error-proof.”

“First-Class Units”: The late Charlie Stricker, former head of operations and maintenance for the Hammond Port Authority, conceived the project. He wanted to avoid building more structures that would block the view of the shoreline, and building on pilings didn’t achieve the aesthetic the authority wanted. “After looking at a number of options, Charlie worked with Nattrass to come up with the modular bathhouses, which look more like the other structures in the marina,” explains Carey, who took over the project after Stricker passed away.

Nattrass had the challenging job of pulling together and supervising multiple subcontractors to carry out the complex project. She contracted with Merco Marine of Wellsburg, W. Va., to supply the platform, floats and decking to support the structures at the Marina’s dock. Jon Meriwether started Merco Marine in 1979 as a part-time operation with his son. Today, the company operates from a five-acre manufacturing plant, offering a wide array of marine products.

It took nine truckloads to transport the float materials to Hammond. Meriwether’s company supplied the float, platform, metal truss frames and decking. “Each bathhouse weighs 39,000 pounds,” he says. “To support them, we built units 130 feet long and 30 feet wide, with 330,000 pounds of flotation. We designed the float so that it sits slightly below the dock. These are first-class units.”

Meriwether, who lives in a floating house himself, was already familiar with macerating systems. In fact, his company now offers a new floating-restroom product that also features the Saniplus toilet. “I’m using maceration because I don’t want the plumbing to clog up,” he says.

It was Meriwether who researched builders for the project, helping Nattrass settle on Modular One in Pulaski, Tenn. That company system-built the bathhouses on-site and handled their transport to Indiana.

Early on, macerating toilets emerged as a key to the project’s success. “I’ve sold floating structures previously, and Saniflo macerating products have the best name and reputation. They are excellent for marine application,” Nattrass explains. “When you have a boating community with lots of people, you don’t want any plumbing problems. A regular toilet wouldn’t be sufficient in that type of application.”

Nattrass recommended using Saniflo’s Saniplus model, which has a built-in grinder, thus “eliminating anything that’s coming off that structure that could back up the system,” she explains. Using small-diameter discharge piping, the Saniplus can pump effluent 15 feet vertically and 150 feet horizontally.

Even that considerable pumping distance falls well short of Hammond Marina’s unusual plumbing configuration, which requires effluent to be pumped 900 feet from the dock to the sewer. Each Saniplus toilet therefore connects to a floating tank. When the tank is filled, the contents are pumped to a larger lift station, which then pumps it to the sewer.

“The plumbing is kind of a complicated, two-stage setup,” says Carey. “I’m not sure a conventional toilet would have worked. If not for the macerating pumps, I would foresee a lot of problems. The grinders seem to do a very good job of breaking down the paper and other solids to allow them to pass easily through the pumps.”

Carey notes that some of the other pumps in the marina have to be cleaned once a month, adding: “I don’t foresee any maintenance issues like that with the two new macerating systems.”

From Pulaski to Hammond: The bathhouses were fully constructed in Pulaski, with the exception of some exterior finish work done after they were placed onto Meriwether’s floats in the marina. Each bathroom has a toilet, sink and shower, and each bathhouse has two handicapped-accessible bathrooms. A laundry room and a mechanical room round out each facility.

The entire construction project took under three weeks, with Modular One’s plumbers installing the Saniflo systems. General manager Tripp Weigel was not familiar with macerating plumbing prior to the project. “We were a little nervous about macerating plumbing, but it was a fairly easy and simple installation.”

Meriwether recommends installing macerating technology in public restrooms that are heavily used on weekends. “We’ve had a positive experience with macerating toilets,” he says. “There’s a call for these in state parks and private marinas. We sell them all over the country.”

“We’ll definitely go with maceration when we do more of these boathouses,” Nattrass agrees. “Saniflo has a great name out there, and their products are very user-friendly, easy to operate and easy to maintain.”

For harbormaster Carey, the proof was in his customers’ response. “I’ve been talking to all of our customers, and the feedback has been outstanding,” he says. “That’s what we’re here for — to please them and serve them. If they’re happy, I’m happy.”

About the author: Julie Reynolds is an associate of O’Reilly/DePalma, an expert in the building and architectural products field. For more than two decades, she has been writing about issues of interest and concern to American consumers. For 15 years, Ms. Reynolds directed public affairs and corporate communications at the National Fire Protection Association. She has worked with the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition since its founding in 1996 and with the Home Safety Council since 2003. Her byline has appeared in AAA World, the Boston Globe, Flightline, NFPA Journal and Sprinkler Age. She also writes Web content and video scripts.

# # #

ABOUT SANIFLO
SFA SANIFLO INC. is the only manufacturer of its kind in North America, offering a complete line of macerating toilet systems and gray water pumping systems for residential and commercial applications. 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 about SANIFLO, call toll-free at 1-800-571-8191; visit the Saniflo website at www.saniflo.com; or visit the Saniflo Media Room at www.LNCcommunications.com/mediaroom-sf.html.

For editorial assistance, including photography, contact John O’Reilly c/o O’Reilly/DePalma:
815-469-9100 or john.oreilly@oreilly-depalma.com.

 

CONTACTS:

End User One: General Contractor for the Project:
Product Link/Nautical Nature
Deborah Nattrass, Co-owner
P.O. Box 225067
San Francisco, CA 94122
415-242-4038
Mobile: 415-609-2904
E-mail: deborah@product-link.com

End User Two
Hammond Port Authority
701 Casino Center Drive
Hammond, IN 46320
Keith Carey, Harbormaster
Milan Kruszynski, Director
Landline: 219-659-7678
E-mail: kruszynskim@hammondmarina.com
Hammond Marina Website: www.hammondmarina.com/Marina/index.htm

Vendor: Supplier:
Merco Marine
60 Merco Road
Wellsburg, WV 26070
Jon Meriwether, Vice President
800-396-3726
E-mail: jon@mercomarine.com
Website: www.mercomarine.com

Installer:
Modular One
Tripp Weigel, General Manager
1884 Mines Road
Pulaski, TN 38478
Landline: 931-424-7305 x134
Mobile: 931-478-1035
E-mail: tweigel@modularone.net
Website: www.modularone.net

 

 

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IMAGE GALLERY

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Deborah Nattrass, co-owner of Nautical Nature, Inc., served as general contractor for the Hammond Port Authority project.  She is pictured here with Tripp Weigel, general manager of Modular One, which built the bathhouses in its factory in Tennessee.  
Deborah Nattrass, co-owner of Nautical Nature, Inc., served as general contractor for the Hammond Port Authority project. She is pictured here with Tripp Weigel, general manager of Modular One, which built the bathhouses in its factory in Tennessee.

File Name: SF0905-HPA-118.tif

 
   
Customer satisfaction was the Hammond Port Authority’s top priority, which is why macerating plumbing was selected for the bathrooms. On the left is Modular One’s Tripp Weigel; Director Milan Kruszynski is on the right.  
Customer satisfaction was the Hammond Port Authority’s top priority, which is why macerating plumbing was selected for the bathrooms. On the left is Modular One’s Tripp Weigel; Director Milan Kruszynski is on the right.

File Name: SF0905-HPA-007.tif

 
   
Installing the bathhouses was a complex job involving several vendors.  Pictured left to right are Tripp Weigel, Modular One; Jon Meriwether, Merco Marine; Deborah Nattrass, Nautical Nature, Inc.; Keith Carey, Hammond Port Authority Harbormaster; and Milan Kruszynski, Hammond Port Authority Director.  
Installing the bathhouses was a complex job involving several vendors. Pictured left to right are Tripp Weigel, Modular One; Jon Meriwether, Merco Marine; Deborah Nattrass, Nautical Nature, Inc.; Keith Carey, Hammond Port Authority Harbormaster; and Milan Kruszynski, Hammond Port Authority Director.

File Name: SF0905-HPA-010.tif

 
   
The Hammond Marina is located on Lake Michigan, 12 miles southeast of Chicago, within view of the city’s skyline.  The Marina serves 800-1,000 people per day.  
The Hammond Marina is located on Lake Michigan, 12 miles southeast of Chicago, within view of the city’s skyline. The Marina serves 800-1,000 people per day. (1 of 2)

File Name: SF0905-HPA-009.tif

 
   
The Hammond Marina is located on Lake Michigan, 12 miles southeast of Chicago, within view of the city’s skyline.  The Marina serves 800-1,000 people per day.  
The Hammond Marina is located on Lake Michigan, 12 miles southeast of Chicago, within view of the city’s skyline. The Marina serves 800-1,000 people per day. (2 of 2)

File Name: SF0905-HPA-011.tif
Image Size: 4" wide x 6" high (1200 x 1800 pixels)

 
   
Two 15-foot x 42-foot modular bathhouses were transported to Indiana from a factory in Tennessee.  Each system-built unit has six bathrooms, a laundry room and a mechanical room.  The Hammond Port Authority opted for Saniflo macerating plumbing to avoid clogging and other problems.  
Two 15-foot x 42-foot modular bathhouses were transported to Indiana from a factory in Tennessee. Each system-built unit has six bathrooms, a laundry room and a mechanical room. The Hammond Port Authority opted for Saniflo macerating plumbing to avoid clogging and other problems. (1 of 3)

File Name: SF0905-HPA-050.tif

 
   
Two 15-foot x 42-foot modular bathhouses were transported to Indiana from a factory in Tennessee.  Each system-built unit has six bathrooms, a laundry room and a mechanical room.  The Hammond Port Authority opted for Saniflo macerating plumbing to avoid clogging and other problems.  
Two 15-foot x 42-foot modular bathhouses were transported to Indiana from a factory in Tennessee. Each system-built unit has six bathrooms, a laundry room and a mechanical room. The Hammond Port Authority opted for Saniflo macerating plumbing to avoid clogging and other problems. (2 of 3)

File Name: SF0905-HPA-064.tif
Image Size: 4" wide x 6" high (1200 x 1800 pixels)

 
   
Two 15-foot x 42-foot modular bathhouses were transported to Indiana from a factory in Tennessee.  Each system-built unit has six bathrooms, a laundry room and a mechanical room.  The Hammond Port Authority opted for Saniflo macerating plumbing to avoid clogging and other problems.  
Two 15-foot x 42-foot modular bathhouses were transported to Indiana from a factory in Tennessee. Each system-built unit has six bathrooms, a laundry room and a mechanical room. The Hammond Port Authority opted for Saniflo macerating plumbing to avoid clogging and other problems. (3 of 3)

File Name: SF0905-HPA-072.tif

 
   
“These are first-class units,” says Jon Meriwether, whose company Merco Marine built the floats to support the bathhouses.  
“These are first-class units,” says Jon Meriwether, whose company Merco Marine built the floats to support the bathhouses. (1 of 5)

File Name: SF0905-HPA-012.tif

 
   
“These are first-class units,” says Jon Meriwether, whose company Merco Marine built the floats to support the bathhouses.  
“These are first-class units,” says Jon Meriwether, whose company Merco Marine built the floats to support the bathhouses. (2 of 5)

File Name: SF0905-HPA-018.tif

 
   
“These are first-class units,” says Jon Meriwether, whose company Merco Marine built the floats to support the bathhouses.  
“These are first-class units,” says Jon Meriwether, whose company Merco Marine built the floats to support the bathhouses. (3 of 5)

File Name: SF0905-HPA-031.tif

 
   
“These are first-class units,” says Jon Meriwether, whose company Merco Marine built the floats to support the bathhouses.  
“These are first-class units,” says Jon Meriwether, whose company Merco Marine built the floats to support the bathhouses. (4 of 5)

File Name: SF0905-HPA-044.tif
Image Size: 4" wide x 6" high (1200 x 1800 pixels)

 
   
“These are first-class units,” says Jon Meriwether, whose company Merco Marine built the floats to support the bathhouses.  
“These are first-class units,” says Jon Meriwether, whose company Merco Marine built the floats to support the bathhouses. (5 of 5)

File Name: SF0905-HPA-082.tif
Image Size: 4" wide x 6" high (1200 x 1800 pixels)

 
   
Merco Marine used 330,000 pounds of flotation to support each bathhouse.  Nine truckloads of materials were transported to the marina for the construction of the floats.  
Merco Marine used 330,000 pounds of flotation to support each bathhouse. Nine truckloads of materials were transported to the marina for the construction of the floats. (1 of 2)

File Name: SF0905-HPA-184.tif

 
   
Merco Marine used 330,000 pounds of flotation to support each bathhouse.  Nine truckloads of materials were transported to the marina for the construction of the floats.  
Merco Marine used 330,000 pounds of flotation to support each bathhouse. Nine truckloads of materials were transported to the marina for the construction of the floats. (2 of 2)

File Name: SF0905-HPA-422.tif

 
   
Each bathhouse weighs 39,000 pounds.  A crane was used to place the bathhouses onto the floats designed and built by Merco Marine.  
Each bathhouse weighs 39,000 pounds. A crane was used to place the bathhouses onto the floats designed and built by Merco Marine. (1 of 5)

File Name: SF0905-HPA-030.tif

 
   
Each bathhouse weighs 39,000 pounds.  A crane was used to place the bathhouses onto the floats designed and built by Merco Marine.  
Each bathhouse weighs 39,000 pounds. A crane was used to place the bathhouses onto the floats designed and built by Merco Marine. (2 of 5)

File Name: SF0905-HPA-053.tif

 
   
Each bathhouse weighs 39,000 pounds.  A crane was used to place the bathhouses onto the floats designed and built by Merco Marine.  
Each bathhouse weighs 39,000 pounds. A crane was used to place the bathhouses onto the floats designed and built by Merco Marine. (3 of 5)

File Name: SF0905-HPA-236.tif

 
   
Each bathhouse weighs 39,000 pounds.  A crane was used to place the bathhouses onto the floats designed and built by Merco Marine.  
Each bathhouse weighs 39,000 pounds. A crane was used to place the bathhouses onto the floats designed and built by Merco Marine. (4 of 5)

File Name: SF0905-HPA-246.tif
Image Size: 4" wide x 6" high (1200 x 1800 pixels)

 
   
Each bathhouse weighs 39,000 pounds.  A crane was used to place the bathhouses onto the floats designed and built by Merco Marine.  
Each bathhouse weighs 39,000 pounds. A crane was used to place the bathhouses onto the floats designed and built by Merco Marine. (5 of 5)

File Name: SF0905-HPA-276.tif
Image Size: 4" wide x 6" high (1200 x 1800 pixels)

 
 

 

 

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