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How does a sewage pump work?

Technician inspecting sewage pit

There are two reasons why you might need a sewage pump for your property; firstly, you live rurally, and your home is not connected to mains sewage services, therefore you must treat and dispose of your sewage yourself. Secondly, your home may be in a low-lying area where the mains sewer is on higher ground than the connecting sewage lines, so you need to pump your wastewater to the mains.

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Grey water (laundry, shower, kitchen sink) makes up around 80-90% of household wastewater. The rest is classified as black water (toilet). While grey water transfers easily from one place to another it’s the chunks in black water which require a special type of pump. 95% of the time a submersible grinder pump will be the pump of choice for household sewage transfer.

Submersible grinder pumps are typically used for heavy duty shredding with a grinding ring at the input point, and have an open impeller, centrifugal design preventing blockages of the pump or pipework. The grinding action helps pump soft organic solids by shredding them into a slurry, making them easy to pump.

Pumping to the mains
Any grey water (laundry, shower, kitchen sink) and black water (toilet) flows from the house into a sewage collection tank. A pump then grinds the solid material up so it can be transferred easily to the mains system.

How a sewage pump works

Crucial tip: If you have a home sewage pump system, never, ever, ever flush wet wipes or sanitary products down the toilet. While your pump may be able to munch up some of this material, it causes excessive wear and tear on the pump and can lead to the pump failing prematurely.

How a septic tank works
Wastewater flows from the house directly into the septic tank (the first chamber collection tank) where a small amount of antimicrobic action takes place to start breaking down the material. The sewage then overflows into middle chamber where it is aerated – this helps speed up the decomposition process. By the time it overflows into the third and final chamber it has become liquid. The liquid is then pumped out (thanks to a float switch) to dripper lines where it is absorbed into the earth. The pump needs to be high pressure to get the fluid out into the dripper lines.

How a sewage pump works

Crucial tip: If you have a sceptic tank, you should only be using organic personal and cleaning products (toilet cleaner, laundry powder, soaps and anything that goes down the drain). Harsh chemicals can kill the bugs which help break down your waste into liquid.

Ross Muggeridge, pump specialist at Davey Water Products says regular sewage pump maintenance is crucial to ensure it is working at an optimal level and prevent breakdowns.

“These pumps are living in a very adverse environment, so they have to be cleaned, at the very least, regularly – it’s best to get someone in to do that who is properly equipped. You also want to make sure you’re using a sewage pump alarm so you are alerted if anything goes wrong,” he says.

Crucial tip: Heavy rain can cause all sorts of problems, especially if it’s been a while since you’ve serviced your sewage pump. Here’s how to avoid pump failure and sewerage overflow in heavy rains.

For more information about sewage pump emergency repair, sewage pump maintenance or sewage pump installation in New Zealand, speak to one of our highly experienced team today.

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