Photo of a community sewage pumping station Inspection & Maintenance Guide for Septic Sewage Pumping Stations

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Here we illustrate a septic pumping station for a small community wastewater handling facility.

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What are Community & Housing Development Septic Pumping Stations?

Sketch of a municipal pumping station

Our sketch (left) illustrates a typical sewage pumping station schematic, including the pumping cvhamber, inlet and outlet piping, an elevated grinder pump and floating pump switch, and a pump control box accessible fdrom the manhole cover.

This article is a section of our online book SEPTIC INSPECTION & TEST GUIDE whose chapters are shown at the left of this page.

Septic pumps used for pumping air in aeration systems and septic pumps used to move effluent in a drip dispersion system are discussed under the appropriate septic system type which are outlined at SEPTIC SYSTEM DESIGN ALTERNATIVES.

Photo of a community sewage pumping station

A community sewage pumping station uses a large centralized chamber to receive wastewater from multiple buildings at a single site or development and then grind and pump the wastewater onwards towards a wastewater treatment facility.

The photo at the top of this page shows a large sewage pumping station serving a shopping complex in southern New Jersey.

The photos at left and below show a sewage pumping station serving a residential community in Pawling New York.

Vertically suspended submersible sewage ejector pumps use a motor secured to the sewage reservoir cover. The pump is basically held in place by the connection of the pump motor shaft to the pump housing which is inside the reservoir.

Closely-coupled submersible sewage ejector pumps use a motor which is secured not to the sewage reservoir but rather directly to the pump mechanism itself - to the housing for the pump impeller which actually grinds and moves the wastewater. A short shaft connects the closely-coupled sewage pump to the impeller housing and impeller, and the entire assembly is submerged in the sewage reservoir.

Sewage pumping stations are needed where all or some of the homes or buildings in a community are located downhill from the greater community's sewage mains. Wastewater drains by gravity (or if necessary by individual building septic pumps) from individual buildings in the community to the local septic pumping station which has a holding tank big enough to act as a receiver for wastewater from the community.

From the receiving station, wastewater passes through one or more sewage grinder pumps through a pressurized sewage force main (pipe) which transports the waste uphill to a location from which the wastewater can drain by gravity through additional piping to the community's wastewater treatment facility.

The septic pumping station will typically use two or more sewage grinder pumps to move wastewater uphill to the larger community's sewage mains where it passes to the sewage treatment plant. Multiplexing pumps helps assure that the community's waste will be handled even if one pump fails, and also permits staging of pump operations to bring more pumps online if the inflow rate increases.

Photo of a community sewage pumping station Photo of a community sewage pumping station

Special Concerns for Municipal Lift Stations & Community Septic Systems

We have some special concerns for community sewage pumping stations or "septic pumping stations" or "force mains" as they may be called in some areas.

  • Child safety The pumping station shown here has an access cover that was not locked - leaving us worried that a neighborhood kid might explore and fall into this deep pit - a nearly certain and quick fatality.

  • Municipal Lift Station Reliability: since a large number of users are affected by a septic system failure and because municipal and community pumping stations are likely to experience surge loads, take a look at  Duplex Septic Pump System Designs

  • Sewage Pumping Station Reliability and Sewage Backups If the system is not maintained or lacks an adequate number of pumps and backup power, the entire community can be without wastewater services. For example, during an unusually heavy rainfall, or during a local power outage, the community served by the pumping station shown in this photograph lost the service of its pumping station.

One unpleasant effect was that homes nearest to the pumping station's receiving chamber suddenly had everyone's sewage backing up into their homes. In addition to omission of a backup generator for the system, the plumbing contractor had not installed check valves in the sewage lines at each home.

Diagnosing sewage backups and how to diagnose clogged drains is discussed at Diagnosing Clogged Drains & Septic System Backups: Is it a blocked drain or the septic system? - A First Step for Homeowners. The contaminants in sewage that may be left behind when sewage backs up in a building are discussed further at Septic system contaminants: identifying water and soil contaminants produced by onsite waste disposal systems.


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