Plumber installs above floor drain-pump and grinder system at riverfront restaurant to comply with FEMA regulations

Case Studies 09/16/2020

Plumber installs above floor drain-pump and grinder system at riverfront restaurant to comply with FEMA regulations


NEW PORT RICHEY, FLORIDA — The Widow Fletcher’s is an 18,000 square-foot restaurant and bar in the historic community of New Port Richey, which is recognized for its cultural heritage and unique riverfront landscape.

The two-story restaurant sits on stilts and is surrounded by 45 boat slips, allowing customers to walk directly from their boats into the newly remodeled Widow’s Den, a Key West-style outdoor bar on the bottom floor. Adding restrooms and an updated bar area were some of the major renovations included in the restaurant’s recent remodeling project.

“FEMA [Federal Emergency Management Agency] dictates where your floodplain is, and it doesn’t necessarily mean your building floods all the time, if ever,” explains Widow Fletcher’s owner Mark Spier.To accommodate up to 600 seats (300 upstairs and 300 downstairs), the restaurant’s facilities have their work cut out for them. The Widow Fletcher’s riverfront location resulted in a unique remodeling scenario. The project involved collaboration with not only the city, but also engineers and architects, to overcome a major obstacle: The building is eight feet below the floodplain.

But according to Florida’s building department, when a building is even one inch below flood plain, the plumbing must be equipped with backflow, and impervious to outside elements.

“A big outside element, of course, is floodwater,” says Spier. “If bay water gets into the local sewer system, it will create havoc throughout the city’s lift stations and sanitary system.”

Plumber Frank Roman of Roman Plumbing says: “If you have a storm surge, the restaurant’s lower level will flood. Therefore conventional plumbing wouldn’t work, because you would be introducing the bay water into the city’s sanitary system.”

With conventional plumbing not being an option, Spier and Roman had to find a cost-effective plumbing solution that would pump the wastewater, coming from the newly added plumbing fixtures, eight feet vertically to the existing upstairs plumbing lines.


As the managing owner of the construction process, Spier had the responsibility to research and decide which product would be best suited for the Widow’s Den’s application. Working with an engineer and Roman Plumbing, the project team considered a couple of different solutions. “Initially, we looked at possibly installing a large lift station to handle all the plumbing fixtures, but it was really cost-prohibitive,” says Spier.

Nor were village officials thrilled by the idea. After several discussions with the plumbing company and local plumbing supply house Hydrologic Distribution Company, the project team decided to move forward with Saniflo’s above-floor plumbing solution.

Hydrologic Distribution had previously sold Saniflo products. But, according to Spier, what really sealed the deal was when he shared the plumbing plan with Saniflo’s technical team.

“We had to go to the building department and show the inspectors and jurisdiction authority what we were planning to do, and why it would follow their criteria,” explains Spier. “Saniflo came back and told us exactly what we needed to make sure that the plumbing plan was engineered correctly and that the setup would work correctly.”

Based on the recommendation from the supply house and product recommendations from Saniflo, Spier felt comfortable installing three Sanibest Pro grinder systems for the male and female restrooms, plus a Sanicom 1 drain pump to handle three hand-sinks and three tub dishwashing sinks for the bar.

The Sanibest Pro’s one-horsepower pump can discharge effluent up to 25 feet vertically and up to 150 feet horizontally. The Sanibest Pro will discharge not only black water from a toilet but also gray water from a sink and a tub/shower.

Designed for both commercial and residential applications, the Sanicom 1 can discharge gray water away from a variety of fixtures up to 25 feet vertically and/or 250 feet horizontally. Small enough to fit inside a kitchen cabinet, the unit was designed to meet the toughest applications, including water temperatures up to 194°F.

Here’s how the Widow’s Den’s plumbing is set up:

  • Three Sanibest Pro grinder units were installed to discharge the wastewater from three toilets and a urinal. The two toilets in the women’s restroom are each connected to a Sanibest Pro unit.
  • A urinal and toilet are connected to a Sanibest Pro in the men’s restroom.
  • A 1-inch PVC discharge pipe is connected to each Sanibest Pro and runs 8 feet vertically to connect to the building’s existing sewage pipe.
  • The Sanicom 1 unit was installed to discharge the gray water from three hand-sinks and three tub-dishwashing sinks in the bar area. The unit’s 1-inch discharge pipe runs eight feet vertically and connects to an existing wastewater line.
  • The discharge line ultimately connects to the city’s sewage system.

According to Roman, this was the first installation of its kind in Florida for his plumbing company. “It was also a first for the building inspector. However, the installation was very simple, and it went smoothly,” says Roman, adding: “It involved basic plumbing. It’s a cost-effective and simple pump system that forces everything up and into the sanitary system.”


As with any construction or remodeling project, the cost is a key consideration. “I felt very comfortable with the cost-versus-benefit comparison,” says Spier. He adds approvingly that installing the three grinders and the drain pump took less than two days.

“It’s still a new installation, so we have yet to determine long-term performance,” he continues. “That said, I have the highest expectations for Saniflo and the associated equipment.”

Roman agrees with Spier and sees himself using the system for a bathroom add-on when a customer prefers to avoid breaking through the concrete to install conventional plumbing.

“In my own house, I have a space in the garage where I could use the system to add a bathroom, so that would be an excellent opportunity to use the Sanibest Pro again.”


SFA SANIFLO U.S.A. – whose parent company originated macerating plumbing technology — offers a complete line of waste and drainage 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 24 subsidiaries in 50 countries and has sold more than seven million units worldwide since 1958. 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