PUMPER TRUCK VACUUM PUMPS - CONTENTS: septic tank pumps, vacuum pump types, capacities, choices, specifications for septic pumper trucks or septic tank cleaning systems & grease trap cleaning systems. We include a look at the la fognatura, the Venice sewer system.
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Septic pumper truck vacuum pumps:
Pump types, capacities, choices, specifications for septic pumper trucks or septic tank cleaning systems & grease trap cleaning systems.
This article series describes the steps in septic pumper truck operation during septic tank or grease trap cleaning and service. We describe the septic pumper truck operator's steps and the septic tank vacuuming procedure.
While most septic tank pumping is performed by a worker using a pumper truck, in Venice, Italy pumper pozzo nero boats have to handle that job as there are no streets passable by motorized vehicles.
The septic pumping boat moors in a canal near the septic tank that needs to be emptied. The pumped-waste is then transported to a disposal site or the sewage treatment plant in Porto Marghera in the 1980's. However for much of Venice sewage continues to empty into the canal system.
Sewage waste pipes within a building typically connect to a pozzo nero or black well (blackwater well) or septic tank that ultimately discharges into a nearby canal.
Fognatura is the Italian term for the complete system of waste piping, pozzo nero, below-ground tunnels or gatoli, essentially huge pipes emptying into canals through foundation wall openings (sbocchi) and ultimately into the lagoon.
Some of these below-ground components have been in place since the 16th century.
Tidal action is relied-upon to keep the canals acceptably clean.
Photo: a small stream of rather clear wastewater is emptying into a canal in the San Marco area of Venice. Generally waste pipes that empty into canals are below water-level.
Tidal action is relied-upon to keep the canals acceptably clean.
Following periods of aqua alta when canal or lagoon water has entered the lower floor of some Venice buildings, cleanup when the hight water recedes includes the use of disinfectants.
A photo of the septic worker connecting the septic pumper boat to the holding tank is shown below and is discussed also at HOLDING TANK SEPTIC SYSTEMS.
Carrera, Fabio, "The Inner Canals of Venice, An Informational Infrastructure for An Informational Infrastructure for Maintenance, Management and Planning", URISA (2005) [Copy on file]
Gianpietro Zucchetta, Una Fognatura per Venezia, Due secoli di progetti, Venezia 1986, ASIN: B006GM6ISE - A sewer for Venice: a story of two centuries of projects, Venetian Institute of Science, Letters and Arts, 1986.
"Sewage disposal", Venipedia, retrieved 2017/07/23, original source: http://www.venipedia.org/wiki/index.php?title=Sewage_disposal
Back on the mainland we'll take a look at more-typical septic holding tanks and their maintenance.
Reader Question: my septic tank is 200 feet horizontally and 20 feet below the septic truck parking spot: will I be able to get the septic tank pumped out?
24 August 2015 Brad said:
Great site, all the info is appreciated. I have a tank, installed over ten years ago but as of yet unused, on a steep hillside roughly 200 horizontal feet away from where a vac truck could park.
To make issues worse, there is probably close to 20 feet of vertical lift as well.
I know this is a very long run, so I am considering laying a dedicated pipe for pumping next to the sewer line running up grade, I'm thinking 1 1/4"
100 PSI poly pipe.
My thought is that the truck to hook onto the top end of the line and pull, and we could put a trash pump at the tank to push.
What are your thoughts?
There is not really a better location for the tank available, or we would have used it.
Local DEQ selected the site and approved the installation, but its tough for sure.
I have installed 3' of 24" riser over the effluent filter access hole to bring it to grade, so there should be room to manipulate a hose or even lower in a submersible pump. Thanks for any advice you can offer.
Good question, Brad.
Typically with a 2-4" vacuum hose and typical septic pumper truck, the horizontal distance that the pumper expects to handle maxes out at about 150 ft. - before considering the reduction in that length for the lift heights involved.
Septic pumpers, at least some of them, use a rotary vane vacuum pump and have a good lift capacity.
Check with your local pumping company to ask what they can lift.
Our photo shows a septic pumper truck used by David Roeder's Superior Septic Service in Two Harbors, MN.
Mike Rost, at National Vacuum Equipment, a producer / vendor of vacuum equipment in the U.S. offered additional help in answering your question.
Typical small pumper truck rotary vane pump capacities
Most septic pumpers with smaller trucks will be close to their pump lift limit but may be able to do the septic tank pumping job using a traditional rotary vane pump (RVP) widely used in the septic pumping industry.
Traditional rotary vane vacuum pumps operate at 200-300 cubic feet per minute (CFM) and with a standard blower obtain about 13" of vacuum.
Without air conveyance these pumps can lift sewage or grease waste about 20-25 feet from pumping source to waste level top in the truck tank.
Factors Limiting a Septic Pumping Truck or Grease Trap Cleaning System's Pumping Capacity
Factors that limit the ability of a septic pumping truck or grease trap cleanout system to pump over distances and high lifts include at least the following:
The ability to use air injection or air assist in the wastage lift. Without air conveyance a typical 13" vacuum 250 CFM septic pumper rotary vane pump can lift about 25 feet of vertical height.
The volume of the receiving tank on the pumper truck: larger truck volume permits use of air injection to improve lift and pumping speed. A 3000 gallon septic pumper truck tank is a 22,000 cubic foot volume (3000 g. x 7.48 cu. ft./gallon). To use air conveyance with a trunk of this size and a typical 3" diameter pumping hose you'd need a 500 cubic feet per minute (CFM) vacuum pump.
One inch of vacuum in these pumping systems can lift about one foot (12"). So we can compute that at least in theory, 13" of vacuum can lift about 26 feet.
Without special measures, older 200-300 CFM rotary vane pups may not be up to the job.
That's because the most widely used 250 cubic feet per minute (CFM) rotary vane pump found on at least the smaller septic pumper trucks are too small to make use of additional air flow to get the added lift capacity needed to pump from depth, but a snorkel or other add-on air injection feature might enable pumping even with these units.
But even if the truck and pump can manage the lift, it will take longer with a typical rotary vane pump used on many pumping trucks.
In sum, yes your septic tank can be pumped from 20 feet below the truck parking area though you will need to discuss the site, distances, lift height and pumping costs with local septic pumping companies in your area. Actually it's probably more like 30 feet of lift when you add the height from ground to pumper truck tank and the depth of the septic tank from top to bottom.
A septic pumper who operates a physically larger truck may be able to make better use of air-assisted pumping and thus to pump more easily, faster, and perhaps at a lower cost than older smaller pumping systems.
Hybrid Air-Conveyance Vacuum Pumping Systems Increase Capacity & Lower Cost
Newer high-RPM, high-vacuum blower hybrid pumps are available that make use of an air assist or blower using special pump port design features and air velocity to improve the pump's capacity. These hybrid vacuum pumps operate in the 560 CFM to 900 CFM (on bigger tank trucks) range and provide about double the lift capacity (about 27" of vacuum) than that of standard RVPs.
Operating at 27" of vacuum and making better use of air flow, these pumps can lift 30 or even 50 feet using a different technology and the assistance of airflow using a tri-load specially-ported pump design developed by National Vacuum Equipment (cited below).
A newer type higher vacuum air velocity hybrid pump and larger capacity septic pumping truck may be needed for higher lifts. According to Mr. Rost, these higher capacity vacuum pumps offer several advantages over the traditional rotary vane pump used on most septic pumper trucks for cleaning septic tanks and grease traps.
While the blower vacuum pump system may cost may be 20-30% more than a traditional RVP the cost should be recovered quickly through pumping speed, longer pump life, and lower operating cost.
Higher lift capacity, 30 to 50 feet of vertical lift
Higher pumping speeds: pumping faster means that the pumping contractor can do the job in less time, increasing their own bottom line.
However don't just divide the septic tank volume by the septic tank pumping rates in cubic feet per minute; the pumping contractor will still need time to break up the floating scum layer and to mix and vacuum up the settled sludge from the bottom of the septic tank.
Reduced maintenance & operation costs for the vacuum pump: the hybrid pumps described by Mike do not require and do not consume oil in pump operation and do not face the same overheating hazards that can shorten the life, increase the cost, and cause emissions concerns with traditional rotary vane pumping systems.
These newer pumps are more noisy however, a concern addressed by the manufacturer by designing sound-reducing enclosures for the pumping system.
I spoke with Mike Rost from my truck - pulled over to make notes, but as the only paper at hand was a cardboard box it'll take me a bit more time to decipher and transcribe what I wrote down. When I can get some vertical lift specifics I'll add them here.
This article is under technical review. CONTACT us with comments or suggestions.
KeevAC, run by Kevin Keegan, 866-789-9440, is a producer of new vacuum service trucks for servicing septic systems or portable toilets.
The company also provides vacuum pumps, hoses, and other sanitation accessories.
Sanitation Journal is an industry publication that
lists portable restroom and septic pumper trucks for sale. Vacuum trucks and portable toilet/restroom service trucks are listed and described.
SewerShopper.com website lists septic pumper trucks for sale under "Vacuum Equipment Septic" as well as
vacuum excavators, jetters, and portable toilet service equipment.
Wastequip provides vacuum trucks and vacuum equipment as well as hydro trenchers and portable toilet trucks.
Check your local telephone listings of other septic service companies to see if they have equipment to sell.
Mike Rost is a technical expert working with National Vacuum Equipment, Inc., a supplier of rotary vane pumps, vacuum pumps, vacuum blowers and related equipment. Special thanks to Mike who provided technical information about rotary vane pumps, RVPs, septic pumping distances, lifts, pump specifications and advanced and high capacity vacuum pumping options & procedures discussed in this article.
National Vacuum Equipment, 2707 Aero-Park Dr, Traverse City, MI 49686, USA, Tel: 800-253-5500, Website: http://natvac.com/ Email: email@example.com National Vacuum Equipment is a U.S. manufacturer of vacuum equipment. The company distributes their own NVE Challenger pumps and Battioni Pagani rotary vane pumps, vacuum blowers, high capacity vacuum pumps, air assist vacuum pumping systems, vacuum system valves, and custom-fabricated vacuum products.
Additional thanks to David Roeder, Superior Septic Service, 524 4th Ave., Two Harbors, MN 55616, USA, Tel: 218 834-6969 for discussion of septic tank pumping procedures, distances, hoses, and levels. May 2017.
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Special thanks to M & O Sanitation, Dutchess County NY (845) 471-0308 for permitting us to photograph steps during septic system service at our demonstration property.
 Battoni & Pagani vacuum pumps,
Battioni Pagani Pompe S.p.A. - Via Cav. Enzo Ferrari n. 2 RAMOSCELLO di SORBOLO Parma (Italy), Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Website: http://www.battionipaganipompe.it/bp/default.asp?sLang=PT
U.S. distributor, NVE National Vacuum Equipment, Inc., PO Box 685
Traverse City, MI 49685 USA, Website: http://www.natvac.com/products/battioni.html
 Conde vacuum pumps, Westmoor Ltd.
P.O. Box 99
906 West Hamilton Avenue
Sherrill, New York 13461
Pumps@WestmoorLtd.com, Website: http://www.westmoorltd.com/
 NVE Vacuum pumps, NVE National Vacuum Equipment, Inc., PO Box 685
Traverse City, MI 49685 USA
 PB Vacuum pumps, PB Pumps
PO Box 142 - 1230 SE 2nd Street
Galva, IL 61434
Phone: 309-932-3311 Fax: 309-932-3155
email@example.com, Website: http://pbpumps.com/
 "International Private Sewage Disposal Code," 1995, BOCA-708-799-2300, ICBO-310-699-0541, SBCCI 205-591-1853, available from those code associations.
 "Manual of Policy, Procedures, and Guidelines for Onsite Sewage Systems," Ontario Reg. 374/81, Part VII of the Environmental
Protection Act (Canada), ISBN 0-7743-7303-2, Ministry of the Environment,135 St. Clair Ave. West, Toronto Ontario M4V 1P5 Canada $24. CDN.
 Manual of Septic Tank Practice, US Public Health Service's 1959.
Pennsylvania State Fact Sheets relating to domestic wastewater treatment systems include
Pennsylvania State Wastewater Treatment Fact Sheet SW-161, Septic System Failure: Diagnosis and Treatment
Pennsylvania State Wastewater Treatment Fact Sheet SW-162, The Soil Media and the Percolation Test
Pennsylvania State Wastewater Treatment Fact Sheet SW-l64, Mound Systems for Wastewater Treatment
Pennsylvania State Wastewater Treatment Fact Sheet SW-165, Septic Tank-Soil Absorption Systems
Document Sources used for this web page include but are not limited to: Agricultural Fact Sheet #SW-161 "Septic Tank Pumping," by Paul D. Robillard and
Kelli S. Martin. Penn State College of Agriculture - Cooperative Extension, edited and annotated by
Dan Friedman (Thanks: to Bob Mackey for proofreading the original source material.)
Books & Articles on Building & Environmental Inspection, Testing, Diagnosis, & Repair
Advanced Onsite Wastewater Systems Technologies, Anish R. Jantrania, Mark A. Gross. Anish Jantrania, Ph.D., P.E., M.B.A., is a Consulting Engineer, in Mechanicsville VA, 804-550-0389 (2006). Outstanding technical reference especially on alternative septic system design alternatives. Written for designers and engineers, this book is not at all easy going for homeowners but is a text I recommend for professionals--DF.
Builder's Guide to Wells and Septic Systems, Woodson, R. Dodge: $ 24.95; MCGRAW HILL B; TP;
Quoting from Amazon's description: For the homebuilder, one mistake in estimating or installing wells and septic systems can cost thousands of dollars. This comprehensive guide filled with case studies can prevent that. Master plumber R. Dodge Woodson packs this reader-friendly guide with guidance and information, including details on new techniques and materials that can economize and expedite jobs and advice on how to avoid mistakes in both estimating and construction. Chapters cover virtually every aspect of wells and septic systems, including on-site evaluations; site limitations; bidding; soil studies, septic designs, and code-related issues; drilled and dug wells, gravel and pipe, chamber-type, and gravity septic systems; pump stations; common problems with well installation; and remedies for poor septic situations. Woodson also discusses ways to increase profits by avoiding cost overruns.
Country Plumbing: Living with a Septic System, Hartigan, Gerry: $ 9.95; ALAN C HOOD & TP;
Quoting an Amazon reviewer's comment, with which we agree--DF:This book is informative as far as it goes and might be most useful for someone with an older system. But it was written in the early 1980s. A lot has changed since then. In particular, the book doesn't cover any of the newer systems that are used more and more nowadays in some parts of the country -- sand mounds, aeration systems, lagoons, etc.
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