Pump Action – a guide to domestic pump stations

Posted On: 11 January 2022

Pump Action – a guide to domestic pump stations

Posted On: 11 January 2022

Building your dream holiday home in a beautiful countryside location without access to the mains sewer? Wondering if there is a simple way to transfer wastewater from your property to the nearby mains sewer? A pump station is what you need. Find out how pump stations can be useful in such situations.

It has been normal practice to build a pump station consisting of a chamber made from concrete rings, which is then fitted with the necessary equipment including pumps, pipes, and valves. But this is very time consuming and can create several challenges. You can now get the same solution built and ready to be installed in the form of a packaged pump station. Packaged pump stations are a much more efficient, cost-effective, and long-lasting solution. They save significant time and cost as they have been being designed, built, and tested to the appropriate standards which means they can be installed in ‘NO’ time.

What is a Pump Station?

A pump station is a collection tank designed to transfer sewage, effluent or surface water to a local drain, private manhole or mains sewer where a gravity fall is not possible. Pump Stations are used to remove wastewater from residential properties that do not have access to the main sewer.

When is it used?

Whenever the main sewer sits on higher ground than the domestic sewage plant, the sewage needs to be transported to the main sewer. This is where sewage pump stations come into the picture. A pump station is used where there is not a sufficient drainage gradient for the liquid to be discharged to the proposed outlet point via a gravity fall. Whenever gravity drainage cannot be relied upon to transfer sewage or wastewater from a property to a nearby sewer or sewage treatment plant, a pump station may be used. Some homes are already connected to a private pump station before they connect to a mains sewer.

How does a pump station work?

A pump station is made up of a large tank also known as a wet well that acts as the receiver for sewage from a house or a group of houses. Sewage from individual houses flows into the tank and sits in it until it reaches a predetermined level. The pump is located inside the bottom of the chamber and is controlled by a float switch when liquid waste enters the chamber. Once it reaches a certain level and engages the float switch, the pump gets activated. The liquid waste is pumped up through an MDPE pipe up to the outlet which is connected to the mains sewer. Once the liquid waste level has dropped below the float switch threshold, the pump then stops. A non-return valve is built into the pump station to ensure that the liquid waste cannot return to this chamber once pumped up to the higher level.

Types of Pump Stations

Single Effluent – Single Effluent pump stations comprise of a single pump, designed for liquid effluent only. They are often used after a domestic sewage treatment plant to pump the treated effluent to a watercourse or field drainage.

Twin Effluent – Twin Effluent pump stations comprise of two pumps and a control panel. Twin pumps can cope with much bigger amounts of liquid. They are often used for surface water on sites where ground conditions aren’t suitable for soakaways, or for larger commercial treatment plant to pump the treated effluent to a watercourse or field drainage.

Single Sewage – Single Sewage pump stations comprise of a single vortex pump, designed for solid and liquid waste. They are mostly used on a single dwelling or an extension to pump sewage to a private manhole cover.

Twin Sewage – Twin Sewage pump stations comprise of two vortex pumps designed to cope with solid and liquid waste. They also include a control panel. Twin pumps are mostly used on larger domestic dwellings or multiple dwellings that are discharging to the mains sewer.

Single Grinder – Single Grinder pump stations comprise of a single pump, designed for heavy solids and liquid waste. They are often used to reduce the amount of liquid entering a mains sewer as the water authorities in certain areas are very strict about the quantity of liquid entering the mains sewer system.

Twin Grinder – Twin Grinder pump stations comprise of two pumps and a control panel. Grinder pumps can cope with bigger amounts of solid matter and liquid waste. They are used in a commercial setting like a campsite where guests tend to flush products that aren’t designed to enter the mains sewer. Grinder pumps are less likely to block and can handle bigger rogue items better than vortex pumps.

How to select the right pump station?

There are a few key criteria that need to be considered while selecting a pump station for your requirements.

  • Distance the pump/s need to travel in metres
  • Uphill lift in metres
  • Capacity of pump stations required
  • Requirement of 24-hour storage to comply with building regulations

Part H Building Regulation – 24-hour storage

Part H of Building Regulation offers guidance on drainage including foul and surface water and rainwater, and sanitary waste disposal, including sewage structures and their upkeep. Approved Document H1 2.39 states that, “Where foul water drainage from a building is to be pumped, the effluent receiving chamber should be sized to contain 24-hour inflow to allow for disruption to service. The minimum daily discharge of foul drainage should be taken as 150 litres per head per day for domestic use. For other types of building, the capacity of the receiving chamber should be based on the calculated daily demand of the water intake for the building. Where only a proportion of foul sewage is to be pumped, then the capacity should be based pro-rata. In all pumped systems the controls should be so arranged to optimise pump operation.”

GRP vs Polyethylene Pump Stations

GRP tanks are manufactured by hand or a semi-automated process. Anything made by hand is subject to human error and discrepancies. GRP tanks are effectively a skin and do not have any structural stability until encased in concrete. The concrete is what gives the chamber its strength. Polyethylene tanks on the other hand are made using fully automated process. This results in a consistent product thickness throughout the chamber which is free of defects. This gives a much stronger and durable finish ensuring it lasts for over 20 years.

Harlequin Pump Stations

At Harlequin, we provide safe and efficient domestic pump stations to meet the needs of our environment. They can be further customised to suit your requirements. We also work with a network of competent installers in UK & Ireland who can help you install the product and provide you with additional technical support.

To find out more about our range of pump stations or to find a reliable installer, contact our team on 028 9261 1077 or email info@harlequin-mfg.com.