Though it is pretty common to hear the terms used interchangeably, there's actually some pretty significant differences between a sewage pump and a grinder pump. Both are used at elevations where mechanical assistance is needed to move sewage up a grade. But what are those differences between them, and which type of pump should you use in which situation? Here is a quick look at both types of pumps and the environments they should be used in.
Sewage Pump Characteristics
Overall, sewage pumps are able to handle some solids-handling capability, but only to a certain extent. This type of pump is commonly used with basement toilets to pump the sewage up into the sewer lines for the home or utility with the solids still intact, or if a home is located in a low area and sewage must be pumped uphill into the sewer or septic system.
Some sewage pumps are grinder pumps, but not all. Grinder pumps are a subtype of sewage pumps. Generally speaking, sewage pumps that are not grinder pumps can move sewage solids up to two inches in diameter that are easy to break down or dissolve. Harder material will cause clogs and significant wear and tear on the pump. However, a general sewage pump that is not a grinder pump is usually less expensive and draws less power. This also means that the pump is not able to move sewage to as high of a point as a grinder pump can.
Grinder Pump Characteristics
Grinder pumps are always sewage pumps, which is one of the reasons they are confused. Grinder pumps include a cutting mechanism that can chop the harder solids into smaller pieces, creating a slurry that can more easily pass through pipes. Because the slurry is relatively fine, it can be pumped to a higher elevation than general sewage pumps. For this reason, grinder pumps tend to use more power and are more expensive. For this reason, they are more commonly used in institutional and commercial applications. Though they can handle harder solids, they can still break down, so it's important to only flush items that belong in a toilet in the first place. In many situations, depending on the specific pump's configuration, multiple restroom facilities or homes can be connected to a single grinder pump, spreading the overall expense of the pump across the group and lowering the expense for each individual connection.
There are two different types of grinder pumps, a semi-positive displacement or SPC, and centrifugal. Many come with a storage tank and alert system so that if the level of waste rises beyond a particular point because the grinder pump has malfunctioned, an alert or alarm will go off so that action may be taken to correct the situation. The effluent level is determined either by sensors or floats, though in systems that incorporate floats, grease buildup can cause the pumps to run unnecessarily.
By understanding the basic differences between grinder pumps and sewage pumps, you will know better what to look for in your specific situation. If you need help finding the right solution for your wastewater needs, the experienced professionals at Team EJP are ready to help. Please feel free to contact us today for more information, with any questions or to discover how we can help you keep you moving water smoothly.