What Is the Difference Between a Lift Station and a Pump Station?

Image of sewer access panel. What Is the Difference Between a Lift Station and a Pump Station?

Lift stations and pump stations are both critical to your commercial plumbing needs. They fulfill similar functions. But there’s a fundamental difference—pump stations move water, while lift stations move sewage.

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What Is a Lift Station?

Gravity alone, in many cases, can’t force wastewater out of a building and into the sewer system. That’s where the lift station comes in—it’s essentially an elevator that can move sewage uphill to a higher elevation.

How it works

The lift station fills with sewage. Sensors monitor the water levels. When the sewage reaches its maximum water height, the sensors trigger pumps that send the water to a higher elevation.

Key facts

  • Wastewater contains lots of solids that need to be ground down. That’s why lift stations have “grinder” pumps that break them down so they can pass freely.
  • When the lift station pump is turned off, this is called “dead time.” You don’t want too much dead time because the wastewater can turn septic. Septic water smells horrible and has lots of dangerous gases. That’s why a well-designed and well-installed lift station and regular maintenance are essential.

What is a Pump Station?

A pump station moves water (often rainwater) from a lower elevation to a higher one. Pump stations are often used in water drainage systems.

How It works

They use the same basic technique as lift stations. The water flows into the tank from a pipe; the tank fills up; it reaches a certain level, then pumps shoot it up and out of the tank.

Key facts

  • Pump stations don’t contain the heavy-duty grinder pumps needed to break down sewage. That’s why it’s important not to confuse them with lift stations—while they’re similar, they can’t handle the same material.
  • These stations don’t operate as frequently (since weather events often trigger them). As a result, some internal parts can wear down and go unnoticed. That’s why maintenance is vital.

How Frequently Does My Lift Station or Pump Station Need Maintenance?

Typically, these systems need a maintenance checkup once every two to three years. AiRCO Mechanical’s licensed plumbers can help restore your Round Rock area commercial plumbing system to working order. We’ll ensure everything is functioning at peak performance and up to code here in Texas.

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Are you looking for a plumbing company in Round Rock, TX, that you can depend on when you need assistance? AiRCO Mechanical is here to help. Call us today at 512-537-1234 or request service online.

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