One of the biggest issues you’ll encounter with wastewater lift stations is clogging. On one hand, this should be expected as clogging is a pretty routine maintenance issue that pops up merely from usage. On the other hand, when it occurs too often – it can increase your management costs, shorten the life of the pump and add a whole swath of additional, unforeseen costs. It’s important to not only stay on top of your maintenance, but also in the event that something bad does happen – you’ll have a quiver of potential solutions handy so that you can move quickly.
The first step to revolving clogging issues is to simply ID the source of the problem. More often than not, the problem is associated with inappropriately flushed items like fats, oils, grease and the like. We like to call it FOG. That being said, you’ll see other issues arise as well. Illegal dumping, animal waste, particulate matter… they can all cause issues as well.
Once you know what the issue is, you can develop a plan to try to mitigate those issues. The first thing you should always do is consider the simple solutions. If you’re experiencing clogging because of flushable wipes, then make sure there’s a trash basket installed that can encourage people to throw waste items in there, instead of the station itself. You can also use bar screens, weir walls and agitators as well – to help clear out the gunk. If that’s not going to work, then it’s time to move along to the pumps themselves.
Pumps are the area of the lift station where clogging is most likely to occur. In a few cases, the pumps themselves can be the culprits for the clogging. It’s important to know that things like grinder pumps can’t pass solids – so if screening or upstream filtering isn’t possible, then changing out the pump might be the best solution.
In the worst situations, you might have to add something like a grinder vault. Many owners are tempted to head straight for that option because it’s reliable and can handle almost any kind of clogging agent and solid. The problem is that they’re super expensive. In addition to the cost of the components, you have to pay for installation, electrical and in some cases – either a whole new control panel or full integration into an existing one. Sometimes, this is your only option – but we’d recommend looking for the simple first, possible pump replacement and or retrofit second – then look at the grinder last.
If you’re experiencing a clog in your lift station, don’t hesitate to call us today and we’ll help fix your problem.