If you have a septic system at your home, there is a chance that it includes a lift station. Lift stations are an important part of many residential (and commercial) septic systems. If your septic system includes a lift station, it will not be able to do its job unless the lift station is operating properly.
What Is a Sewer Lift Station?
A septic lift pump is used to pump wastewater from a lower elevation to a higher elevation.
Many residential septic systems rely on gravity to move liquid from the home to a septic tank and then on to a drainfield. However, if the elevation of a property is not conducive to using a gravity-fed septic system, a lift station pump may be installed to push wastewater where it needs to go.
Septic systems with lift stations usually function similarly to a traditional system, but with the added component of a sewage lift pump. Sewage from the home goes into a pit (or wet well), where electrical sensors activate the pump when it reaches a certain level. The pump pushes the sewage out of the pit and on to its next destination.
Lift stations are typically located underground to minimize the potential for toxic gases to be released into the air.
Because of their vital role in a home’s septic system, lift stations must be functioning properly at all times.
Signs Your Lift Station Needs Attention
Knowing that your lift station is working properly is not as easy as flipping a switch, but there are some signs that you can look for that indicate your lift station may need professional attention. If you notice any of these signs, it is important to call a septic professional right away.
Sewage Lift System Alarm
Lift stations are equipped with an alarm that is triggered if the water level in the wet well is getting too high. This is often a sign that the pump is not working efficiently – or that it is not working at all. If the power to the lift station is on but the pump is not operational, the issue should be addressed immediately.
One sign that your lift station may need attention is if you notice sewage backing up into your home. This is obviously a major problem and indicates that the lift station is not functioning properly. Slow draining in sinks, showers, tubs, or toilets can be a precursor sign prior to a complete sewage backup, so it is important to have those evaluated as soon as possible.
Pooling in the Yard
Another sign to look for is if you notice that your yard is flooding or if there is standing water near the lift station itself. Similarly, abnormally lush vegetation growing in the area of the lift station can be a sign of a clog in the lift station or a problem with the pump.
If you notice any strange buzzing noises coming from the lift station, this can also be a sign that something is wrong. Lift stations should be quiet and should not make any strange noises. Additionally, gurgling noises coming from sinks or toilets could be a sign of a malfunction somewhere in your septic system.
If you notice any of these signs, you should call a septic professional right away. These are all indications that there is a problem with your lift station that needs to be fixed. Ignoring these problems can lead to serious damage to your septic system and your home.
Common Lift Station Problems
Any of the signs outlined above can result from some common problems that lift stations experience.
Cracked or Leaking Pipes
Pipes around the lift station can develop leaks or cracks, which could result in the tank no longer draining properly.
The lift station can get out of alignment with other components of the septic system. This is often caused by driving vehicles or equipment in the area of the lift station.
Lift station pumps are electrical, so power issues or mechanical problems can lead to failure of the septic system.
How Can I Tell If My Lift Station Is Working?
Lift stations are a vital part of your home’s septic system, but they are usually buried underground, so it can be difficult to feel confident that they are operating correctly.
The good news is that, generally speaking, if your septic system is functioning normally and the lift station alarm is not sounding, the lift station is working properly.
If you have concerns about your lift station, you should immediately stop using water in the home and call a septic professional for an inspection.
Lift Station Maintenance
The best way of maintaining a lift station is to have regular inspections and maintenance by professionals who have experience with lift stations. This means, in most cases, having a complete lift station service completed every 2 -3 years.
Lift station maintenance should be done by a trained professional. A maintenance visit typically includes the following:
- Visual checks for obstructions and build-up
- Pumping wet wells (similar to septic tank pumping)
- Ensuring that the impeller is free of debris
- Checking and greasing valves as needed
- Evaluation and test of the alarm to ensure that it is functioning properly
- Assessment of all electrical connections and parts
- Cleaning of pipes leading into and out of the wet well
Given the importance of your lift station and the potential costs that can be incurred if it fails, it pays to keep to a regular maintenance schedule.
Septic and Drainfield Depot
When you need lift station services such as maintenance or installation, contact the septic professionals at Septic and Drainfield Depot. Our licensed, insured, and experienced technicians have worked on a wide variety of lift stations for homeowners and business owners alike.
Our other services include septic tank pumping and cleaning, septic system installation, and drainfield installation and repair. We offer septic financing and free estimates.
Contact us today.