Today’s complex wastewater treatment systems sometimes include sewage sump pumps. Depending on the structure and layout of your system, your septic system may include either a sewage grinder pump or a sewage effluent pump. Here’s a brief discussion of how each pump works within your system as well as some care and maintenance tips to keep them properly functioning, even when the power goes out.
Types of Sewage Sump Pumps
Before we discuss the different types of sewage sump pumps, it is important to point out that sewage sump pumps serve a drastically different purpose than basement sump pumps. Modern sump pumps, which work in concert with your home’s drainage system, are installed in a sump in your basement. As ground water finds its way into this pit in your basement, the pump discharges excess water into the storm drain or to your property’s surface, where grading will direct the water away from your home. These pumps are only intended to pump, storm water from your home. Except for silt or fine soil found in groundwater, they are not designed to handle solids.
Sewage sump pumps, on the other hand, work together with your septic system to handle the discharge of wastewater from your home. The two most common types of sewage pumps are grinder pumps and effluent pumps.
Grinder pumps, also known as sewage ejector pumps, are typically installed in your home’s basement or just outside your home. When your home’s plumbing drainage system is at a lower grade than your septic tank or drainfield (for instance, if your septic system is located uphill from your home), a grinder pump is usually necessary for the proper functioning of your septic system. Even in situations where the home and septic system are equally graded, a grinder pump may be required to achieve the ideal sewage drainage rate of 2 feet per second. As the name suggests, a grinder pump will reduce flushable toilet waste to a finely ground slurry (known as blackwater) and pump it out to your septic tank.
Effluent pumps are installed within the septic system’s last chamber. These pumps move septic effluent, up to your system’s drainfield. Typically, these pumps are required when the drainfield is located higher than your system’s holding tank.
Maintenance of Sewage Sump Pumps
Sewage sump pumps do not require much direct maintenance. Properly cared for, the average pump lasts around 7 years. The best way you can ensure the health and longevity of your sewage pumps (and your septic system overall) is to only put flushable toilet waste into your system. This means avoiding putting things like baby wipes, dental floss, feminine hygiene products, kitty litter, etc. down the drains. In short, do not treat your toilets like garbage disposals. These solids will quickly wreck a grinder pump, and when they make their way out to your system’s holding tank, they will cause excess accumulation of solids and possibly even lead to whole system failure. During your routine septic service appointment, your technician will inspect your pumps to ensure they are functioning properly.
Your sewage sump pumps function on electricity, which means a power outage can lead to disaster. If your grinder pump stops functioning, your lowest sinks, drains, or toilets may fill with solid waste. If your effluent pump stops working, it may lead your holding tank overflowing, either causing waste to back up into your home or forcing solids into your drainfield. During a power outage we recommend conserving water as much as possible. Most modern systems today are designed to hold the additional influent until the electricity is reestablished.
Is your sewage sump pump or its plumbing in need of maintenance or are you considering installing a sewage pump? We install pumps of any size and only carry the most reliable, low maintenance sump pumps available. All our technicians are trained to replace, maintain, or install sump pumps. Contact us today to schedule a consultation!