What Is a Sewage Pumping Station & How Does it work?
Updated: Mar 29
A sewage pumping station is a vital part of any sewage system, responsible for moving waste water from lower-lying areas to treatment plants. It works by using sewage pumps to move the waste water from the wet well to the main sewer line or treatment plant.
Sewage pumping stations began their life in the city of Cambridge in the UK. AS the population of the city grew, the River Cam became beleaguered by sewage which not only caused a horrible stench but also spread diseases such as typhoid.
An environmental campaigner, named Eglantyne Jebb, who fought for improved living conditions, wrote an important policy report advocating proper piping from toilets to sewage pipes and a sewage treatment facility. Her work resulted in the very first sewage pumping station built on the riverside in 1894. Through this sewage pumping station sewage from the city was pumped out to the village of Milton and powered by steam pressure. Although it was closed down in 1968, volunteers still maintain the steam engines and this piece of history is now displayed as part of the Cambridge Museum.
So What Exactly Is a Sewage Pumping Station?
A sewage pumping station is a facility that is used to pump and transport sewage from lower-lying areas to a higher elevation where it can be properly treated and disposed of. These pumping stations are typically located in areas where the natural topography of the land prevents gravity flow of sewage, such as in low-lying neighbourhoods or communities built on hillsides.
The basic components of a sewage pumping station include a wet well, where raw sewage is collected and stored, and one or more sewage pumps. These pumps are responsible for moving the sewage from the wet well to the main sewer line or treatment plant. The pumps are typically powered by electricity, and they can be operated either continuously or on a timed basis, depending on the flow rate of the sewage and the capacity of the treatment plant.
In order to ensure that the pumping station is functioning properly, regular pump service and maintenance is required. This may include cleaning and inspecting the wet well, checking and adjusting the control systems, and performing routine maintenance on the pumps and other equipment. This maintenance can be performed by the municipality or utility responsible for the sewage system, or by contracted pump service companies.
Advantages of a Sewage Pumping Station
Sewage pumping stations have several advantages, including:
Movement of Sewage
Sewage pumping stations allow for the movement of sewage to a higher elevation, allowing it to flow by gravity to a treatment facility. This allows for all areas to receive effective pump service when previously they could not.
Sewage pumps can handle large volumes of sewage, making them useful in areas with high population densities. This is particularly important for towns or cities which are also susceptible to the fast spread of disease if sewage pump maintenance goes awry.
Long distance transportation
Sewage pumping stations allow for the sewage to be transported over long distances, making them useful in areas where treatment facilities are located far away. Due to the nature of the business it is desirable for sewage pumping stations to be located a good distance away from populated areas.
Sewage pumping stations can be automated, reducing the need for manual labour and increasing efficiency. This also means that sewage pumping stations can run 24 hours a day and over holiday periods.
Sewage pumping stations can be designed to handle various types of waste, including solids and liquids, making them versatile and useful for different properties and in different areas.
Long Service Life
Sewage pumping stations can be designed to be durable and resistant to corrosion, ensuring a long service life. As sewage pumping stations are important to maintaining good sewage systems then a long life is crucial.
Common Issues with Sewage Pumping Stations
Some common issues that can arise in sewage pumping stations are often around sewage pump maintenance. These include:
Clogs or blockages
Clogs or blockages in the wet well can cause the pumping station to malfunction, leading to backups and overflow of raw sewage, which can be both unsanitary and environmentally damaging.
Even though pumps are made to minimise the risk of blockages, there is still potential for them to occur. Fats, oils, or any other waxy deposits that are flushed down the drain can solidify and clog up the pumping chambers. If this happens nothing will be able to get through, leading to toilets backing up. Usually, you will be able to smell sewage odour before the toilets start backing up if you do smell this, the best thing to do is call a professional immediately.
Pump Not Turning On
This can be caused by various things including debris jamming the impeller, the pump not getting enough electricity, a blockage in the pump which can mess up the electrics or the pump may just be broken.
Pump Not Turning Off
Usually, this will be due to the control float switch, sometimes it gets stuck in the wrong position causing the pump to stay switched on. If there is an unusual spike in your electricity bills, it could be a sign that your pump is not switching off.
Problems with the control systems
Sometimes there can be problems with the control systems that cause the sewage pumping station to malfunction or even shut down.
Wear and tear on the pumps
Proper sewage pump maintenance is crucial to ensure the longevity of the equipment, and to prevent costly breakdowns and repairs. This may include regular inspections and cleaning of the pumps, checking the oil levels and lubricating the moving parts, and testing the electrical components to ensure they are working properly.
Types of Sewage Pumps
It's also important to note that sewage pumps are also classified into different types. They are all used for different applications, and the selection of the right type of pump depends on the specific needs of the sewage pumping station.
Submersible Sewage Pumps
A submersible sewage pump is a piece of electrical equipment designed to work when it is submerged in water. It is used to transport water by directing the flow of sewage water towards a treatment facility. Not only are they very easy to use but they are also very energy efficient. However it is important that these pumps are fully submerged otherwise they will overheat.
Dry Pit Sewage Pumps
A dry pit sewage pump is a pump that is not submerged in water. It’s installed into a facility below ground which is adjacent to a wet pit filled with waste water. As these pumps are not submerged in water, they can be easier to access than other pumps. However, dry pit sewage pumps can require a longer shaft overhang in order to accommodate the mechanical seal.
End-suction Sewage Pumps
An end suction pump is a centrifugal pump. It has an impeller and the suction comes from the unit and discharges water from the top of it. They are widely used but can be difficult to maintain due to the rotation of the impeller in order to move the fluid.
When Do You Need a Sewage Pumping Station?
You may need a sewage pumping station when gravity cannot be relied upon to move sewage towards the main sewer line. This is usually because the pipework travels uphill or horizontally. In a property, an example of this is the journey from a basement ensuite bathroom up to the first floor of a property.
A sewage pumping station is a vital part of any sewage system, responsible for moving waste water from lower-lying areas to treatment plants. It works by using sewage pumps to move the waste water from the wet well to the main sewer line or treatment plant. However, to ensure the smooth and efficient operation of the pumping station, regular pump service and maintenance is necessary. This includes cleaning and inspecting the wet well, checking and adjusting the control systems, and performing routine maintenance on the pumps and other equipment. Proper maintenance of sewage pumps can prevent costly breakdowns and repairs, and ensure the longevity of the equipment.
How to Find a Sewage Pumping Station That’s Right For You
At H2O Flowtech Ltd, we have the expertise that you need to help find, upgrade and install a sewage pumping station or pump service that’s right for you. Founded in 2013 and with over 70 years of experience, H2O Flowtech Ltd specialises in the sale, supply, installation, maintenance and repair of pumps, pumping stations, sewage treatment plants and water booster pumps.
Not only do we provide a comprehensive range of services but we also have wide experience in the overhaul and refurbishment of older equipment, bringing it up to modern industry standards. If you are looking to upgrade your sewage pumping station or get a brand new one installed then contact our friendly and knowledgeable team through our online contact form or by calling 0161 883 1777. Get in touch with us today!