Oct 7 2019

Barnes SITHE Chopper Pump – Santa Ynez & Chumash Casino, CA

Application Overview:

Life Before Chopper Pumps: The Santa Ynez Community Services District (CSD) provides community sewage disposal services in the Santa Ynez area. The CSD owns a portion of City of Solvang’s waste water treatment plant capacity in addition to owning and managing a collection system consisting of manholes, gravity lines, force mains and pump stations. The Chumash Mission Indian Tribe owns a 0.2 MGD waste water treatment plant and two pump stations that are maintained by Santa Ynez CSD. These serve the Chumash Casino Resort which includes a resort, a casino and restaurants, and nearby residences in the area.

Lift Station Details:

One of the most problematic pump stations for Santa Ynez CSD was the column sump chopper station at Chumash Casino Resort. The column sump pumps were originally installed in 2015 and were the first pumps in the station. The pumps in the station discharge to a manhole which then flows into the treatment plant

The station’s column sump pumps had been regularly causing problems to Santa Ynez’s CSD staff. The biggest pain point for Mr. Craig Kapner, CSD’s Operations Supervisor, was the exorbitant cost to maintain the column sump chopper pumps. Parts were proprietary, expensive, had long lead times and were not commercially available. The pumps were also extremely difficult to maintain. Since the column pump shaft was longer than the station ceiling, ceiling tiles needed to be removed to pull the pumps. The level control floats were attached to the column. If the floats needed to be changed, the entire pump had to be pulled out or required confined space entry. The column sump chopper pumps’ oil monitors caused frequent oil leaks and made it difficult to service.

When a pump failed due to lack of lubricating oil in July 2019, Mr. Kapner realized it will be less expensive to replace the column sump chopper pumps with submersible chopper pumps than to repair the existing pumps with proprietary parts. Per Mr. Kapner, “the column sump pumps were at the end of their life. Instead of repairing, let’s put in the best submersible chopper pumps in the market now”.

Chopper Pump Installation:

PumpMan SoCal, a municipal distributor of CP&S, worked with the Santa Ynez CSD to size & install two 3” 7.5HP Barnes Sithe submersible chopper pumps in the station in September 2019, without any service interruption which was key to casino and hotel operations The CSD staff like the Sithe chopper’s plug-n-play cord, heat treated stainless steel blades and commercially available high quality parts. They love the Sithe chopper’s ease of maintenance, the pump’s guide rail mechanism which makes it easier to install and pull the pump, and low life cycle cost. Mr. Kapner is extremely pleased with Sithe chopper pumps & with PumpMan SoCal’s passion for solving customer problems and quality of service.

Key Takeaways:


• Column sump chopper pumps in Chumash Casino pump station were very expensive to maintain due to proprietary parts and long lead times.
• The pumps were very difficult to service due to long shaft, oil leakages and float position.


• The Casino and Santa Ynez CSD replaced the column sump pumps with Sithe submersible chopper pumps.
• Sithe chopper pumps are easy to maintain, have high reliability, have low life cycle costs, have commercially available high quality parts and are available in industry lowest lead times.

To learn more about the SITHE Chopper pump:



Chumash Casino, CA Case Study Download