Grinder Pump Sewer System

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  • This topic has 3 replies, 4 voices, and was last updated 23 years ago by Avatar photoJohn Aldrich1.
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    • #278947
      Avatar photoallan

        Can someone please help me. I own property that has “poor soil” and will not perc. County sewer cannot be extended to our home according to the county. I just found out that we can use a grinder pump to connect to the county sewer which is about 500-600 ft away. The county did not tell us about this nor did our soild consultant. I had to find out on my own after months of research. Can the grinder pump overcome the clay soil problem? How do we estimate the cost? How far can this system go to connect to the county if we cannot connect at the closest point? Please help!

      • #299658
        Avatar photoCallMeChaz


          From the tone of your questions, I’m not sure you understand what a grinder pump system is AT ALL, so you won’t be installing it yourself. In which case you estimate the cost by asking a contractor what it would cost to have it done. He can pump your sewage any distance you want, but the cost goes up–which is why you need to contact the guy that will be putting it in!

          And I’m not sure what you mean when you ask if a grinder pump will “overcome” your clay soil problem. It has nothing to do with your soil. It is a means to pump sewage into the county sewage system, instead of into your poor soil. It will “bypass” your need to install an inground septic system.

          To help you understand: a grinder pump system moves your sewage uphill to the county’s sewer line. In a typical system, your raw sewage, solids and liquids, collect in a tank. A special, submersible pump grinds up any solids and pumps them along with the liquid waste.

          This is a very high maintenance system. Anything that the pump cannot grind will clog it. If you have kids, and they flush a piece of cloth–the grinder will jam. But NOT before it tears off about 50 small pieces that will float around your tank and jam it–50 more times! Then your tank keeps filling until the safety float sets off an alarm. The pump must be retrieved from the flooded tank, the grinder disassembled and cleaned. And you keep doing it until every damn piece of cloth is retrieved. Trust me–been there/done that.

          Picture all that, and shoving your sewage 500-600 feet through a pipe you must install and maintain. Get your wallet out. That is a LOT of pipe to lay, the pumps can cost in the thousand dollar range, plus a tank and all the electronics to run the thing, and the electricity to run a relatively large HP pump.

          I would think three times about installing a grinder pump system in a residential situation.

        • #299659
          Avatar photoKen Zoeller

            I agree with about 95% of what Chaz has to say about the cost and complexity of the installation. The jamming thing is a thing of the past with the right grinder. Go to and find the model 840 reversing grinder. Every time this unit turns on it reverses and rotates in the oposite direction. This unit stops all the jamming that Chaz related to. It will eat and pump out a baby diaper in about 3 to 6 starts.In a non-reversing grinder the diaper just raps itself into a rope around the cutter and when you add more rags the rope gets longer. In the reversing grinder it un-twists that rope and pushes it away and grinds on it again. Thia unit pumps tha same in booth directions. check it out!

          • #299660
            Avatar photoJohn Aldrich1

              Homewood, I recommend that you consider the installation of an alternative sewage “treatment” system. The sewage generated in your home should be considered as a resource to be recovered. By combining some emerging on-site system technologies into a complete “treatment” system, a Resource Recovery System can be created.

              The Georgia clay soil on your site precludes the use of a soil absorption system to “dispose” of the sewage resource from your home. Soil absorption is not the appropriate technology if the soil on the site is unsuitable for its intended function. Systems that rely on soil absorption for treatment and “disposal”, normally do not have the capability to treat the septic tank effluent sufficiently to produce water that can be reused safely, and the nature of the design of this type of system complicates recovery of the treated effluent after treatment.

              It appears that the grinder pump option, with the lift station,
              alarm system, pressure sewage pipeline, and connection to the County Sewerage System is a complex, high cost alternative. Consider the front end capital investment of the installation, the tap fee for connection to the County system, and the monthly service fees that will be there, and increase, forever.

              It is impossible for me to design a specific conbination of new technologies for your specific site without the benefit of a site visit. The site constraints, and the regulatory agency constraints vary widely in different parts of the country, so the most efficient system designs also vary widely.

              Generally, however, the technologies which you should consider are as follows:

              Two compartment septic tank for primary treatment. It is not necessary to convert an existing tank if it has only a single compartment. However, the outlet tee in the tank should be fitted with an effluent filter. In my view, a single compartment septic tank with an effluent filter in the outlet tee, is a better primary treatment unit than a two compartment tank without a filter. Be sure to install risers to the ground surface on both the inlet access hole, and the outlet access hole to facilitate ease of maintenence.

              Subsurface Flow Constructed Wetland Filter System for secondary treatment. Experience has shown that dosing of the effluent into the filter enhances the treatment processes throughout the filter. If adequate slope exists on the site, then I recommend that a floating outlet assembly, or “FLOUT”, manufactured by Rissy Plastics, L.L.C., be used to dose the wetland filter. Some sites require the installation of an effluent pump to lift the effluent into the filter, and this pump will provide a dosed effluent application regime. This filter also provides a wetland landscaping amenity, and creates additional wildlife habitat.

              Subsurface Recirculating Sand
              Filter (SRSF) for further treatment through the removal of ammonia, and nitrates, and to a significant degree, the removal of bacteria and viruses.

              Peat based effluent treatment systems for the same type of treatment capability as the SRSF. The bottoms of these systems can be easily lined with an impervious liner which will allow the collection of the fully treated effluent. This effluent can then be safely used in water features in the landscape, or for irrigation. Some jurisdictions may require additional treatment of the effluent, such as chlorination, ozonation, or ultraviolet light for complete removal of bacteria, and viruses.

              John Aldrich
              Septic System Consultant
              [email protected]

              [Edited by John Aldrich on 12 April 2001]
              [Edited by John Aldrich on 12 April 2001]

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