Community-focused Coffee Shop Overcomes Kitchen Plumbing Challenge with Commercial Gray Water Drain Pump

Case Studies 04/18/2024

Community-focused Coffee Shop Overcomes Kitchen Plumbing Challenge with Commercial Gray Water Drain Pump


MERCER, PA — Common Grounds Mercer is a volunteer-based coffeehouse and cafe startup that expects to open its doors in early 2024. This faith-based establishment has a passionately devoted mission of “Building Relationships, Inspiring Lives, Serving Community... One cup at a time.”

Common Grounds fulfills its mission by nurturing a welcoming environment where people of all backgrounds and beliefs can come together, find comfort, and relax. This vibrant coffee house acts as a hub for various groups and activities, including book clubs and business meetings.

With its spacious room, the coffee house offers a wide range of enjoyable activities throughout the day that cater to all generations in the community. From engaging board and card games to thought-provoking book studies and Bible studies, as well as uplifting music, there’s something for everyone to participate in and enjoy.

Furthermore, the facility provides a designated space for students to study together. The Mercer Board of Directors has gone above and beyond by welcoming and approving a local organization, which will mentor and tutor children and youth in their school studies for a few hours each week. This initiative particularly focuses on supporting those who are homeless, in foster care, or living in a temporary custody situation.

At Common Grounds Mercer, every aspect of their operations is carried out by dedicated volunteers, making it a true community-focused project that is built with the local citizenry firmly in mind. From brewing your favorite cup of coffee to organizing events and activities, their entire endeavor is fueled by the collective efforts and passion of the community.

“Everything is done by volunteers,” says Denise Orr, President of the Board of Directors. “Truly, this is a community-led project, built for the community.”

The operation spans two separate, but interconnected buildings. In the first, two-story structure, the coffee shop is on the ground floor, while the top level houses various meeting rooms.

The second building is designated for the kitchen and a separate gathering area. However, this building does not have a basement, which means all plumbing must be installed above the floor level.

During the renovation and construction process, the Common Grounds team encountered a major challenge in the kitchen area: insufficient space to accommodate the required slope for drain pipes running from the dishwasher to the grease trap and sink drain lines. This presented a significant plumbing issue, as a properly functioning drainage system is crucial for maintaining an efficient and sanitary environment.

With a limited budget and the opening date quickly approaching, Orr and the Common Grounds team turned to the internet, hopeful of finding a cost-effective plumbing remedy.

“Through our search, we discovered various pumps and sump pumps, but it was Saniflo’s commercial gray water drain pump that caught our attention,” Orr states. “The ability of these pumps to address commercial kitchen challenges similar to ours effectively stood out to us.”


After consulting with the Saniflo support team in the Edison, NJ, headquarters, Orr and her team decided on the Sanicom 1 Commercial Gray Water Drain Pump.

Product Profile: Sanicom 1 Drain Pump

The 1.3 HP Sanicom 1 simplex drain pump from Saniflo is designed to provide drainage for high-temperature gray water in demanding residential and commercial applications. The ability to handle temperatures up to 194°F makes it especially ideal for commercial kitchen dishwashers that must meet exacting health and sanitation standards. In addition, the unit can handle liquids with highly acidic properties.

The heavy-duty pump can provide drainage for multiple water fixtures simultaneously. Gray water enters through one of two side inlets before being discharged up to 25 feet vertically and/or a maximum of 250 feet horizontally

“We did explore various options, as I mentioned earlier,” Orr recalls. “We considered other commercial pumps, including regular sump pumps.

“However, when considering the required capacity and the need to comply with health department regulations, the Saniflo pump stood out among the rest,” she continues. “It was an easy decision for all of us once we took everything into consideration.”

The dishwater discharge process — which primarily focuses on sanitization since all items go through hand-washing first — involves directing the dishwater into the new drain pump. This pump facilitates the upward movement of the water, allowing it to flow into the grease trap and ultimately into the sewage lines.

Through the implementation of this system, the dishwasher’s wastewater is effectively managed, ensuring proper sanitation and compliance with waste disposal regulations. Meanwhile, the entire installation process was completed within a day.


The successful installation of the Sanicom 1 now enables Common Grounds to operate a fully functional kitchen that meets the highest standards of cleanliness and sanitation. With the ability to handle high water temperatures and withstand acidic liquids, the pump ensures efficient wastewater management, guaranteeing proper waste disposal and compliance with regulations.

Common Grounds is now prepared to serve the community with delicious coffee and a warm, inviting atmosphere. They have avoided costly and time-consuming renovations, thanks to the invaluable support provided by the Saniflo team. The innovative solution provided by Saniflo has positively transformed their operations.

“Our success is a testament to the power of collaboration and community. Together, we have accomplished something extraordinary, with every step fueled by the dedication and support of volunteers,” Orr explains, “This project truly reflects the heart and generosity of our community, as every single aspect has been made possible through the donated contributions.”