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Grinder Pump Information for Low-Pressure Sewer

Low-Pressure Sewer
Low-Pressure Sewer (LPS) is a type of sewer conveyance method that uses a small pump station (your grinder) to move wastewater through the system. These types of systems are installed where it is not feasible to install a traditional gravity system, such as flat areas that cannot achieve enough slope to benefit from gravity.

Grinder Pumps
Your home will have a grinder pump station in your yard if you are a customer connected to low-pressure sewer. This page will serve as a generic reference for the more important aspects of your grinder station. Additional information regarding your grinder station may be obtained directly from the manufacturer. It is the responsibility of the customer to properly own and maintain their grinder pump station. While HNWS practices the role of the Central Management Entity (CME), it does not accept ownership and maintenance responsibilities of grinder pumps, which is identified in the Service Agreement. Should you have an issue with your grinder station, please call HNWS at (850) 939-2427. HNWS crews will respond to any incident involving a grinder station in order to determine whether or not the issue is on the customer's side of the control valve (located at the property line), or is an issue which HNWS needs to fix. If HNWS crews determine that the issue is on the customer's side, you will be recommended to contract the services of a privately licensed plumber in the state of Florida. Below you will find additional information regarding your grinder pump station.

If you are a new customer and are in the process of installing a new grinder station, or are needing to replace your existing grinder station pump, you will need to hire the services of a private plumber licensed in the state of Florida. It is critical that the pump chosen is able to operate with the given system conditions in your particular area, as the low-pressure sewer conditions can vary widely throughout the franchise. Customers or plumbers can request the system design conditions directly from customer service and should be sure that this is done prior to purchasing a pump.

Recommendations for pump models are provided on the HNWS Detail D-142 Residential Grinder Station. The pump models listed are merely recommendations. It is ultimately the responsibility of your plumber to decide what pump to purchase based on your specific application.

D-142 Residential Grinder Station

If the fluid level in the station reaches the alarm level, an alarm horn and light located in the alarm box on the outside of your home will automatically turn on. In the event of your alarm going off you should take the following steps:
  • Limit water use to prevent overflows.
  • Turn off the alarm by depressing the "silence" button on the side of the alarm box. The alarm horn will silence, but the light will remain on until the issue is remedied.
  • Wait 15 minutes before taking further action. A high level of water usage will sometimes cause the alarm to come on. This situation is self-correcting. If the pump is operating correctly, the wet well will automatically be pumped down and the alarm light will turn off.
  • If the alarm light is still on after 15 minutes, call your service provider.
  • Never attempt to open the tank cover or the electrical panel box.
Electrical shock or damage to the system may occur.

The grinder pump can easily handle any wastewater that is normally discharged to the sewer from the kitchen, bathroom, or laundry. Some chemicals and materials may cause operating problems or safety hazards. It is advisable to check labels on chemicals prior to their disposal. Never connect a sump pump to the grinder pump station.

Never put any of the following materials into sinks, toilets, or drains – they may clog your system or create an unsafe environment:
  • Glass, metal, wood, seafood shells, coffee grounds
  • Paper, socks, rags, or cloth of any kind
  • Tampons or sanitary napkins
  • Plastic objects (toys, eating utensils, etc.)
  • Any strong chemical, toxic, caustic, or poisonous substance
  • Degreasing solvents
  • Any explosive or flammable material
  • Gasoline, kerosene, fuel oil, paint thinner
  • Automotive antifreeze, lubricating oil or grease
  • Cooking fat (lard, oil, grease)
  • Kitty litter
  • Baby wipes and products marked as “flushable”
Alarm sounds when it rains: The unit is a sealed system and should not have any infiltration. Contact HNWS at (850) 939-2427 for further investigation.

My neighbors alarm sound while they are away:
Call the numbers listed in the contact section.

Odor is coming from the unit:
Under normal operation, no odor should be present. The unit may require flushing with clean water the equivalent of half a bathtub volume. If odor persists, call the numbers listed in the contact section.

A wastewater holding tank has been installed underground on your property and a wastewater grinder pump is housed in the tank. The tank cover is round and is the only part that shows above the ground. All of the wastewater from your home flows into the buried tank. When the tank fills to a pre-set level, the grinder pump automatically turns on, grinds the waste, and forces it out of the tank and into the wastewater system.

The grinder pump normally will run for one minute or less and will automatically turn off when the tank has been emptied. The pump is programmed to operate in cycles, rather than continuously. Cycles are determined by the amount of water used, usually after 20 gallons has entered the tank. During a usual day, the grinder pump will turn on and off to empty the tank 10 to 20 times.

The grinder pump is powered by electricity and is connected to the electric service lines usually at a panel box located near your electric meter on the outside wall of your home. However, some are located in a panel inside the home. Grinder pump electricity charges are estimated to be less than a couple dollars a month and are included in your monthly electric bill.

If there is a power failure which affects your home, your grinder pump will also experience a loss of power and not be able to operate. The grinder pump tank has a holding capacity to help avoid alarm or high-level occurrences. Interior water usage should be limited until power has been restored.

Some units are equipped with a factory installed generator receptacle. This allows the pump to be operated in case of power failure. Follow the generator manufacturer’s instructions when connecting a generator to these style panels.

If you will be away from your home for more than a week, the following steps should be taken to minimize the potential for the development of stagnating odors:

First, DO NOT shut off the power to the basin or your main power disconnect. The station should be energized at all times.

Run water from an inside tap long enough for the grinder pump to begin working (the equivalent of half a bath tub volume). The grinder pump will run until the tank is empty and will shut off. This process will cleanse the pump and leave it filled with a small amount of clean water. Dish washing detergent can also be added to the water. Always leave the electrical power to the basin turned on.

For an extended absence and non-use (greater than a few weeks), the above process should be followed two or more times to provide additional cleaning of the system. Another rule of thumb is to drain two bath tubs full of water. An 1/8th cup of liquid dish detergent (i.e. Dawn, Joy, Palmolive) can also be added with the water running to the drain to clean the interior of the basin while not in use. Powered detergents and industrial cleaners are not recommended for this and can damage the system.

Again, always leave the electrical power to the basin on while you are away. At both the alarm panel and interior circuit breaker.

By following these guidelines, you can ensure that your low pressure sewer system will provide many years of safe, reliable service.
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