The Difference Between Sewage Pumps and Sump Pumps

February 26, 2021


Whilst sump pumps are definitely one of the best and most useful purchases you can make for a property that comes with a basement, it’s easy to understand why someone in the market for a pump might not be too knowledgeable about them. The exact same thing can be said about sewage pumps too, so where should you start if you are in the market for a sewage pump or sump pump?

We are going to do our best to help send you on your way by explaining the difference between a sump pump and a sewage pump, as well as what a sewage pump does and what a sump pump does, and how each can be beneficial for your home.

What Does a Sewage Pump Do?

A sewage pump is a pump that is installed within properties so that sewage liquids and solids can be moved from one place to another. You will often find the sewage pump installed at the lowest point of the sewage basin. This is so whatever is being pumped can complete its journey through the system and get deposited either directly into the sewer system itself, or within a septic tank.

Sewage pumps usually work by having the motor create a centrifugal force, which in turn creates pressure that forces water into the pump and out into the discharge pipe. This methodology means that the pump is very unlikely to become blocked or clogged as solids pass through, making maintenance and reliability a much higher factor in their use.

So, a sewer pump is capable of removing both water and waste at the same time. Now, there are three different types of sewer pumps available, each with a slight degree of variation on that removal of water and waste.

Sewage Ejector Pumps

A solid handling pump (also referred to as a sewage ejector pump) is made to pump raw sewage. This is a specialised pump because raw sewage usually contains too many raw materials for most pumps, so in instances where raw sewage is going to be pumped, then a solid handling pump is best used.

Grinder Pumps

Then you have grinder pumps. Grinder pumps operate in a very similar way to solid handling pump, with the key difference being that the grinder pump is capable of mulching any larger solids into smaller pieces as they pass through.

Effluent Pump

The most common type of sewage pump though is an effluent pump. These are pumps most likely to be used on smaller buildings, and are designed to pump and move the liquids that come out of a septic tank.

These types of sewage tanks don’t have to pump solids at all (the septic tank dissolves most solids within), so they can often pump much faster and efficiently than the other two types of sewage pumps.

When Would I Need a Sewage Pump?

The big question is when exactly would a home owner (or any property owner) need to consider a sewage pump? The answer here isn’t a clean cut one, but there are a few criteria you can look for to figure out if your property would benefit from a sewage pump.

No Gravity System In Place

If for example there is no gravity system in place in your property, then you are going to be in need of a sewage pump. That’s because whilst some properties are capable of draining their sewage away via a traditional gravity based pipe system, some might not have the elevation to take advantage of this system.

In this case, the sewage pump will be capable of pumping the waste upwards, through the drains until it meets the sewer system.

You might find that this solution is cheaper than installing a gravity based draining system too. In many cases, the actual costs of groundwork can outweigh the installation and use of a sump pump, so it could be a valuable way to save on costs in your property.

This can be the case made by having a basement as well. If the basement is dug too low in a property, then it will eliminate the potential of a gravity based drain system.

In this situation, you may need to look into the possibility of installing a sewage pump next to your sump pump, so that the waste can be pumped up and away from your property safely.

Sewage Pump Alarms

These are the key situations in which your property might require the use of a sewage pump. You have to remember also that there are a lot of different advantages to having a sewer pump. For example, sewage pumps are often fitted with alarms, letting you know immediately (or even before) when there is a problem, helping you to avoid disaster.

Automatic Pumps

The sewage pump will also pump automatically, with no need for its end user (so to speak) to interact with it, which means health problems and interference is kept to a minimum. Also, as just mentioned, sewage pumps can help you save on construction costs when the price of digging out a gravity based drain system outweighs installing a pump.

The thing to take away here then is that a sewage pump deals directly and exclusively with sewage, and is designed to keep any property connected to the sewer system safely. To make sure that your sewage pump system is working on a regular basis, we would recommend a 6 month or annual sewage pump service.

What Is a Sump Pump?

Whilst a sewage pump is defined by its ability to pump away sewage and other materials from a property, a sump pumps sole purpose is to make sure that a properties basement does not flood or retain water at any point.

Usually, a sump pump will act as part of a larger basement waterproofing solution. In most cases, the water prevented from entering the basement via the waterproofing solution will be collected and drained towards the sump pump, which in turn collects this water and then pumps it out and away from the property to a safe location.

A sump pump will sit below ground traditionally, and can feature a number of different pumps within it to allow for different levels of flood protection. Here at the Basement Sump and Pump Company, we typically suggest and install a three-pump station solution into homes.

These three pump stations have three pumps within them (as the name suggests). Two of the pumps operate on an AC current, meaning that as long as your property has power you will be protected against water ingress.

If you are subject to a blackout, however, then the remaining pump works on a DC current, otherwise known as a battery-operated sump pump, so even if you are without power in a period of heavy rainfall, for example, you will still have a layer of protection.

Please note, that the sump pump itself differs from the sewage pump in that it is designed to take care of water ingress within a basement only. They are not to be used to pump anything else, and are definitely not capable of controlling or safely removing solids from a basement.

When Would I Need a Sump Pump?

Traditionally, you need only consider a sump pump if your property has a basement. It’s within basements that sump pumps are going to do the most good against water damage and flooding.

It can also work in conjunction with an adequate waterproofing solution you will find that the cost of sump pump installation and maintenance is much lower than repairs and replacements.

If you have a basement then, you are in one of two categories: You have not been subjected to the dangers of water damage and the costs associated, or you have.Existing sump pump system

If you have been spared the hassle of a leaking basement so far, then take the time to ask yourself if that is a situation that is guaranteed to continue.

Having your basement surveyed for potential faults could expose any weaknesses to your property, and acting pre-emptively is going to be a much smarter move (both practically and financially) then leaving it too late.

The other possibility is that you have already suffered a leaking basement, and are now having to contend with factors like damp, mould, rot, and even potentially weakened foundations.

In this situation having a faultless waterproofing solution installed is going to be a no brainer to avoid the same fate in the future and a sump pump is only going to act in your favour.

Similarities Between Sump Pumps and Sewage Pumps

So, you now know that the chief difference between a sump pump and a sewage pump lies with the material it deals with: Sewage pumps force sewage out away from properties that have not been equipped with gravity based waste management, whilst sump pumps only deal with liquid entering a leaking basement.

Both Pumps Need Servicing

However, there are a few ways in which these systems align. Firstly, it should be no surprise that being vital pieces of machinery in your home, they need regular servicing in order to be kept in best running order, helping you avoid a surprise disaster.

Luckily, the Basement Sump and Pump Company offer a range of different sewage and sump pump services that can keep your pumps working safely all year round. If you would like to learn more about these services, you can read all about them on our website, or call us to find out more.

Both Pumps Differ in Design and in Pump Capacity

You will also find that sewage pumps and sump pumps are alike in that they may differ in design and actual pump capacity. You will need to speak with an expert before purchasing and installing either pump.

This is because you will want to know which pump is correct for your property, as well as what might be overkill. There would be no point for example installing a grinder sewage pump where an effluent pump is required.

These are only minor similarities though. The key thing to take away from this article is that a sewage pump and a sump pump are built for different purposes, and that understanding what each does is key to meeting your needs.

If you are having issues with either sewage or water ingress in your property, feel free to give us a call on 0800 019 9949  or contact us online to learn what a sump pump can do for you, or whether a sewage pump could be right for your property.


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