Sewage Pumping Stations: FAQs

Sewage pumping stations serve an important purpose in servicing properties that can’t access gravity led systems. This blog looks at the common questions people ask about pumping stations.

What is a sewage pumping station?

Sewage pumping stations offer a solution for anyone whose property sits on lower ground than their nearest main sewer, meaning they can’t use gravity to transport their sewage to the main sewer. The pumping station collects sewage in a sump or wet well up to a pre-set level which, when reached, activates a pump to push the wastewater upwards until it reaches a point where gravity can be used to take it to the main sewer.

Installing a sewage pumping station requires planning and investment, and should only be carried out by an experienced company to ensure you receive reliable information and any systems are right for you.

How do sewage pumping stations work?

A sewage pumping station consists of a wet well that collects all of the wastewater from your property. The wastewater collects inside the chamber and, once it reaches a predetermined level, the float switch is activated, and the pump automatically switches on. The pump creates sufficient pressure to move the sewage out of the tank, forcing it uphill, or horizontally, through the pipework towards the main sewer line. This allows the wastewater to travel upwards to the point where it enters a break chamber turning the flow from pumped into gravity to enter the main sewer.

Sewage pumping stations don’t need to be switched on and off manually. Thanks to the addition of a float switch, the system activates when necessary, then turns itself off once the wastewater has moved and the level in the tank is below the set level.

Why is a sewage pumping station needed?

You need a sewage pumping station when gravity cannot be used to move sewage towards the main sewer line. This is usually because the pipework travels uphill or horizontally. Other reasons why you might need a pumping station are:

  • If the cost of the groundworks required to allow sewage to flow by gravity is more expensive than the cost of a sewage pumping station.
  • If the sewer line passes over a ridge.
  • Where basement floors are too low to allow sewage flow by gravity.
  • Where a gravity system doesn’t exist.

Why is sewage pump station maintenance important?

Failure of a pumping station or its parts can lead to unexpected costs and unwanted disruption. The best way to avoid this is through regular maintenance and servicing. Identifying any problems early, and conducting repairs where necessary, will minimise the risk of failures.

Interim maintenance

An interim service consists of a visual and operational check of the pumping station to gauge how it is performing and identify any necessary repairs.

Annual maintenance

It’s important to conduct a full service once a year. An annual service means stripping down and checking all parts, including a full electrical check. It’s best practice to clean the wet well during an annual service too.

Common questions about sewage pumping stations

Do sewage pumping stations smell?

A properly installed station should not smell. All pumping stations are installed with an air vent – this is normally installed a minimum above head height or higher and can be positioned anywhere away from the tank for venting unwanted smells. If the sewage station is not correctly maintained or develops a blockage this could cause a foul sewage smell.

Do sewage pumping stations make a noise?

There are regulations in place to minimise this. These include rules about how close you can build a pumping station to any habitable buildings so that noise and nuisance minimized for neighbours.

Who is responsible for the sewage pumping station?

From October 2016, private pumping stations that served more than one property became owned (‘adopted’) by the local sewerage company. Pumping stations which served a single property but sat outside the curtilage of the property were also transferred. This means the water or sewage company is responsible for repair and maintenance of the station. However, the property owner is still responsible for the sections of pipe between their property/building and the transferred private sewer or lateral drain.

Premier Drainage Solutions can install sewage pumping stations and advise on their upkeep and maintenance. You can read about one of our sewage plant installations here, or look at our Pumping Stations FAQ page here.

If you need further advice on installing or maintaining a sewage pumping station, get in touch and we’d be happy to help. Premier Drainage Solutions offer the installation and commissioning of pumping stations, and once we complete the work, we’ll provide you with full details and a handover document for service options. We would always advise customers to undertake an annual visit or maintenance contract for tank cleaning and inspection.  

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