The Difference Between a Grinder Pump and a Sewage Pump

June 23, 2021

Some terms are interchangeable, and people often use “grinder pump” and “sewage pump” as synonyms. However, there are significant differences between these two pieces of equipment. Here’s what you need to know to distinguish between these two types of machines.

Grinder pump basics

A grinder pump is a specific type of sewage pump. This means all grinder pumps are sewage pumps, but not all sewage pumps are grinder pumps. A few key qualities make grinder pumps different from other pumps. First, they feature a mechanism that allows the pump to chop (or grind) solid materials into small pieces. This makes it easier for the waste to pass through pipelines. It also makes it possible to pump the slurry to higher elevations than other pumps can handle. The tradeoff with these features is that a grinder pump can only pump low volumes of sewage.

Additionally, a grinder pump is available in two types: a semi-positive displacement pump and a centrifugal pump. Most of these pumps, of either type, feature an alert system that sounds an alarm if the level of waste rises to a certain point.

These extra features push the price of a grinder pump higher than other types of general sewage pumps. Due to their greater capabilities and higher cost, grinder pumps are typically used in commercial settings. For some applications, a single grinder pump can be used for multiple restrooms, which can be ideal for certain commercial properties, to keep costs to a minimum.

Sewage pump basics

General sewage pumps are typically used in residential settings, to pump sewage into utility lines from basement toilets. These pumps have limited solids-handling abilities and pump the waste with the solids intact.

Without the grinding capability, sewage pumps can only move solids that are two inches in diameter or less and that can easily break down. If anything larger or harder enters a sewage pump, the pump is likely to clog or malfunction. However, they can move high volumes of sewage for short distances.

Because these pumps are less powerful, they’re less expensive than grinder pumps. They also use less electricity.

Which pump is right for you?

To determine whether you need a general sewage pump or a grinder pump, consider your sewage pumping application. How much sewage do you need to pump? How far do you need to pump the waste? Will it contain a lot of solids? If you must pump to a pressurized main, you are better off with a grinder pump. If you will be using a septic tank or gravity flow main, a general sewage ejector pump is a better choice.

Learn more

Have more questions? Contact the experts at Enviro-Line Co., Inc. We represent manufacturers of water and wastewater pumping and treatment equipment and are proud to offer high-quality products and exceptional customer service. We work with everyone from single-family homes to commercial facilities, specializing in installations, replacements, repairs and maintenance. Call us today for expert input on your questions or to schedule your next service.

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