septic tank pump

What is a Septic Tank Pump

What is a Septic Tank Pump?

A septic tank pump often refers to a submersible water pump that is installed either in the final chamber of a septic tank or in a separate pump sump after the septic tank. A septic tank pump is a small electrical water pump that can be submerged in wastewater. A float switch will turn the pump on and off as the chamber fills with water. A small impeller in the pump spins when the pump is on which then pushed the water up through the pipework the pump is connected to.

Why Do You Need a Septic Tank Pump

A septic tank pump is required when you need to pump the effluent from a septic tank or sewage treatment plant up to a higher level. This may be necessary when you either have a raised percolation area or soakaway. It can also be needed in a situation where the final effluent disposal location is located upslope of the septic tank outlet so effluent cannot flow there by gravity.

Installing a Septic Tank Pump in a Septic Tank

A septic tank pump can either be installed into an existing septic tank, or it can be installed in a pump station after the septic tank. If your septic tank is a single chamber septic tank then it is recommended that you do not install the pump directly in the tank. If you install a septic tank pump into a single chamber septic tank then you will pump settled solids out of the tank. These solids can then block up a soakaway or percolation area

If you have a 2 or 3 chamber septic tank then you can install a submersible septic tank pump in the final chamber of the tank. It is recommended that you install a dirty water pump that can handle small solids up to 30mm in size. Failure to do this can result in the pump clogging with small solids.

Installing a Septic Tank Pump in a Separate Pump Sump

Installing a septic tank pump in a separate chamber, or purchasing a packaged pump station is the best option for pumping septic tank effluent. A packaged pump station will generally have a pump preinstalled into a chamber with the necessary gate valves and non-return valves.

Septic Tank Filters

Septic tank filters, which are also known as bristle filters or effluent filters should be installed in front of a pump station where possible. These filters are a very simple and effective way of protecting your pump. As wastewater flows into the pump chamber, any small solids are caught and retained in the effluent filter. This filter should be installed in a 110mm/4” T piece under a manhole, so it can easily be removed and washed 1-2 times per year.

Septic Tank Pump Alarms and Controls

If you install a septic tank pump it is always a good idea to install a septic tank pump alarm. These generally consist of a float switch wired into a small alarm panel. If the pump fails then the water level rises in the pump chamber as no water is being pumped away. The rising water level activates the float switch, which in turn causes an alarm to sound and a beacon to flash. Alarms with a GSM dial-out facility are also available. A septic tank alarm gives you an advance warning of a pump failure of blockage, allowing you to take immediate action in advance if your sewers backing up and flooding.

Septic Tank Pump Costs

A standard domestic septic tank pump is not an expensive item. Typically, they cost £150/€175. If you get a professional septic tank maintenance company to fit the pump then they may charge the same amount again to fit the pump. If you have a large commercial septic system, or if you are pumping a long distance or a significant height then a larger pump may be required.

21 thoughts on “What is a Septic Tank Pump”

  1. I’ve never had any problems with my septic tank backing up but the pump and alarm system was wired thru a ground fault circuit (GFC) outlet and it occasionally would go off and disturb our neighbors. Since this is at my second home on a lake 600 miles away from my primary home, I would have to call and ask a neighbor to turn off the alarm. On one occasion last year we called our septic service to check it out after a “false alarm” and they said there was no problem with the pump or septic tank. All they did was clear the alarm and reset the GFC. Our electrician said a GFC will occasionally test itself and turn off for no reason or cause. He also said there was no reason our septic system had to be plugged into a GFC outlet. So we had our electrician remove the GFC outlet and instead plugged the alarm and pump into a new non-GFC outlet which runs thru the house breaker box (which is GFC protected). Now the pump has been running constantly for the last 24 hours. Is there a problem with the pump running this long? We are not having any drainage or odor issues. Our 1,500 sf lake house and septic system was newly built to meet code in 2009.
    And, because it is a second home it gets very little use from just me and my wife. Should I call our septic service to come check It again??

  2. Can I wire my sump pump directly to the breaker box without a inline alarm system? If I do will the pump run continuously?

    • Hi Larry, gernerally speaking yes you can although it is not recommended. Some pumps may be better suited to this application than others. Get in touch with the pump manufacturer/supplier directly for the best advice.

  3. Hi
    Just wondering how far you can pump? Is there a limit to the length of pipe from the pump to the dispersal area? Not a lot of height but about 200m?

    • Hi Kevin, a standard stock pump wouldn’t be able to pump that distance. But if we know the exact height and distance we can suggest an appropriate pump. Regards.

  4. I need to have my septic tank next to my camp and pump across gravel road to leach field not a lot of elevation but field has to be 100 feet from lake what system is best suited for this installation?

  5. I have been away for four days and my pump has started to make a herendus noise not sure what or who to contact can you help me

    • Hi Pauline, if possible get in touch with your septic tank supplier. If you do not know who this is then try a google search for ‘septic pump repair near me’ and you should find a service that will be of some help to you.

  6. We have just replaced our pump and now each time it kicks in there a nasty smell in the air for a short spell. Any explanation or way to stop this. Wondered if a pH balance needs correcting?

    • Thanks for your question Phil, it’s normal for there to be an odor for a week or two (depending on how long previous pump had been problematic) until waste becomes sufficiently oxygenated for bacteria to recover and begin breaking down the harmful compounds again.

  7. Hello Sir,
    I have a problem with my septic tank when there is a lot of rain it does not evacuate the wast water enough do I need a larger pump?? and where can I purchase a pump that can pump 10,000 Liters of water per hour

    Darwin Greene
    French Guiana

    • Hi Darwin,

      Thanks for your question. Ideally only waste water generated within the house should go to the septic tank. Rain water should go to a separate drain. I would advise investigating if there is a structural issue with the septic tank that is letting ground water in. Find a local wastewater professional in your area to have a look at this for you before purchasing a pump.

  8. So we just put a shop on our land and it will have waterline installed for a sink. We need someway to drain the water into the existing septic system. What type of pump is that??

  9. Is there such a thing as a reasonably priced septic tank pump (3 bedroom house) made for continuous running?

  10. When installing a septic pump in a separate chamber to pump affluence out to the leech field, where do you locate the electrical box to provide power for the septic tank, i.e. in the tank chamber or above ground, outside the tank? Thank you.

    • Thanks you for your question Chuck, above ground – to prevent risk of water damage. If we can be of any more assistance please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Kind Regards, James.


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