A Brief Guide to Septic Pumps

Septic systems provide waste removal services for many households across the country. Each septic system is made up of several components that work together to store, process, and disperse residential waste. Homeowners need to understand each of these components if they want to maintain their septic systems properly.

Pumps play an integral role in moving waste through a septic system. Learn more about septic pumps so that you can keep your septic system working.

Grinder Pumps

Grinder pumps, also referred to as sewage ejector pumps, help control the movement of waste within your septic system. The grinder pump is usually located in the basement of a home, or just outside the home between the main drain and the septic tank intake.

In a perfect world, your septic system's drain field would be at a lower elevation than the main drain in your basement. Gravity could then help transport waste from the main drain into the drain field for processing.

A grinder pump takes the place of gravity in systems where the main drain is lower than the drain field. Grinder pumps can force waste upward and into the septic tank for processing.

Effluent Pumps

While grinder pumps are installed near the beginning of your septic system, effluent pumps are found near the end of the sewage treatment line. Effluent pumps can be found within the last chamber of a residential septic system.

The primary purpose of an effluent pump is to move effluent (or wastewater) from the septic tank and into the drain field.

Elevation comes into play with an effluent pump. A septic system with a drain field that is lower in elevation than the septic tank will not require an effluent pump. The effluent will simply trickle down into the drain field. When the drain field is at a higher elevation than the septic tank, an effluent pump is the only way to get wastewater where it needs to be.

Maintaining your septic pumps is critical to the success of your septic system as a whole. When a grinder pump fails, lower drains and plumbing fixtures may fill with solid waste. When the effluent pump fails, your septic tank will overflow and may need to be replaced.

Having routine inspections is the best way to prevent pump failure. Work with your septic professional to ensure your pumps are not threatening the efficient performance of your septic system in the future.


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