City of Camas, WA: Residential Onsite Lift Station

city of camas tank installation


The city of Camas Washington uses a system to manage residential wastewater for customers where the city essentially owns the septic system for each residence. This is common among smaller municipalities in the state of Washington. Every home is tied into the City’s sewer main and uses either a Septic Tank Plumbing System (STEP – Pressure) or a Septic Tank Effluent Filter System (STEF – Gravity). When the home is built, the developer determines which system he needs to install per the city and includes the cost in the price of the home. Once the home is purchased, the city owns and manages the system, including the lift pump, all floats, and the tank, and is responsible for maintaining the systems.

Over time, the City incurred some extensive costs associated with the STEP systems as the junction boxes are mounted in the riser and flooding and/or condensation building up and causing the floats to fail. The city began to investigate ways to mitigate these costs. Camas was shown the SJE Rhombus C-Level™ sensor which provides continuous level monitoring. They liked the “no moving parts” feature of the C-Level™ sensor.


Camas is located in the south western part of Washington next to Vancouver. It has become a bedroom community for Vancouver and Portland Oregon and has experienced rapid growth. Since 1990 the city’s population has grown from 6800 to over 21,000 residents today. The city’s stated vision of having a hometown feel, great schools and integration to the outdoors has helped in this growth.


The City of Camas approached a local distributor, H.D. Fowler, seeking an affordable solution. The Engineering team at SJE Rhombus worked closely with both H.D. Flower and the City to develop a custom solution that was both easy to install and highly effective. This resulted in a snap-in, easy to install C-Level™ sensor that provides continuous level monitoring in the tank, thereby avoiding any potential issue with junction box and float concerns. The C-Level™ sensor communicates with the IFS panel which is usually mounted on the house or a post in the yard. The panel is programmed by the city, which has predetermined set points for the pump on-off level and the high alarm level.
This system has proven to significantly reduce maintenance costs for the city, especially in the reduction of overtime. The City was so pleased with the results that this product is now specified into all new residential STEP septic systems.


SJE Rhombus invested significant engineering time and cost to develop the custom solution for Camas. They worked hand in hand with the City Water & Wastewater Supervisor and H.D. Flower to ensure the solution was effective both short and long term. In fact, four years after this project began, they are still working with the city to enhance the design and effectiveness.

  • Owner/Client:
    • City of Camas, WA
  • Distribution Partner:
    • H.D. Fowler (Vancouver, WA branch)
    • Key Contact: Bill Ritter
    • Phone: 503-969-1635
  • Project Start-End:
    • 2016 – ongoing
  • Key Personnel:
    • SJE Rhombus:
      Mark McCollum, Dustin Wirth
    • City of Camas:
      Forest Peremueller (retired), Mike Katzer
  • Products & Services Provided:
    • Project Management Engineering
    • Installer Friendly Series® control panel
    • Custom designed C-Level™ sensor