Grinder Pump

A household-pump system, also known as a grinder-pump system, is a mini sewage pumping station with one pump for individual houses. Grinder pumps are used where gravity sewer lines cannot be used. The single pump sits inside an underground tank and pumps wastewater produced in your home into the sewer line.

How does it work?
A single pump is placed in a tank that is buried in a convenient outdoor location on your property. The tank provides a small amount of wastewater storage capacity. When water is used in the house, wastewater flows into the tank. When the wastewater in the tank reaches a preset level, the pump automatically turns on and pumps the waste out of the tank to the wastewater treatment plant. The pump will normally run for a few minutes and automatically shut off when the tank is emptied. The pump is connected to a control panel usually located on the side of the house.

How do I protect my pump system?

A properly maintained pump system should be able to handle typical wastewater from your kitchen, bathrooms or laundry. Some chemicals and materials might cause operating problems and safety hazards. It is advisable to check labels on chemicals prior to their disposal.  

Never put any of the following materials into sinks, toilets or drains:

  • Glass, metal, wood, seafood shells
  • Papers, socks, rags or cloth of any kind
  • Plastic objects (toys, eating utensils, etc.)
  • Any strong chemical, toxic, caustic, or poisonous substance
  • Degreasing solvents
  • Any explosive or flammable material
  • Lubricating oil grease
  • Cooking fat (lard, oil, grease)
  • Hair clippings or dental floss
  • Clean up wipes or any non-biodegradable material
  • Kitty litter or aquarium gravel

These items can damage the pump system and its controls, cause blockages or backups, might create unsafe conditions in the lines and tank, and might damage the environment.

When installing landscaping, please do not plant trees or shrubs around or near the household pump station. There must be enough space to work on the pump station when necessary. Also, never attempt to open the tank cover or the electrical panel box.

What do I do if the power fails?

If there is a power failure at your home, your pump system will not operate until the power is restored. The pump tank has a small amount of holding capacity, but interior water use should be minimized until power has been restored as continued usage might create a backup and/or a spill.

What do I do if the alarm sounds?

If there is a pump system failure, the tank containing the pump will become too full. An audible alarm and light located in the alarm box on the outside of your home will automatically turn on. If this happens, you should discontinue water use to prevent overflows and backups. To silence the alarm (or if the light is on), please contact Aqua North Carolina at 1.877.WTR.AQUA or 1.877.987.2782.

I’m going on vacation, how do I protect my pump?

If you plan to be away from home for more than seven days, we suggest the following steps be taken to ensure the proper operation of the system:

  • First, run water from an inside tap long enough for the pump system to begin working.
  • After the pump turns on, turn the water off. The pump will run until the tank is empty and will shut off.

This process will clean the pump and leave it filled with a minimum of clean water. Always leave the electrical power on.

By following these guidelines, you can ensure that your household pump system will provide many years of safe, reliable service.