Septic Lift Stations
In a typical septic system the waste water from the tank drains to the leach field using gravity. However, in some cases that is not possible either because the leach field is uphill from the tank or too far from the tank. In these scenarios the system will oftentimes include an additional tank, with a septic pump inside it, called a lift station. The septic pump actively pushes the waste water to the leach field instead of relying on gravity.
When a backup occurs in a typical system, it is usually due to too much waste in your tank (barring a leach field issue) and the course of action is to pump out your tank. In the case of a system with a lift station, a back up could point to the septic pump not functioning properly.
If the alarm on the lift station is going off or you can see into the tank and the water level is above the float, there are a few things you can check before calling a septic company. Oftentimes, the culprit of a pump that is not working is a breaker that has tripped. The first step to diagnose the problem is to check your breakers. If none are tripped and your pump is plugged into an outlet, the second step is to check the outlet to make sure it is working. If both the breaker and the outlet are in working order, the next step is to move on to the pump itself.
In the lift station, a float switch, similar to a buoy, on the pump notifies the pump when to turn on. When the water in the tank reaches a level where the float switch gets turned up, the pump turns on and pumps water out of the tank until the float switch reaches its resting position once again. Sometimes the float switch can get stuck in its neutral position which will prevent it from floating up and turning the pump on. In this case, you can try using the stick end of a shovel or rake to shake the float switch loose.
Once you have checked all the above mentioned scenarios, if your pump is still not working, it may be time to replace your pump. In this case, give us a call at Firehouse Septic and we will be happy to come out and get your system working again.