It’s a Toilet, NOT a Trash Can! Preventing Clogged Centrifugal Pumps


Clogged pumps got your systems down? Well, you're not alone! The other day, a customer approached me asking for solutions for a centrifugal pump that was always clogging because of “ragging”, the culprit being wet wipes. Bluntly, he said “It’s a toilet, and not a trash can” as he was describing the problem.

If you haven’t heard yet, clogged pumps in sanitary sewer lift stations are an expensive and common problem for municipalities across the nation. Because of of this, municipalities are forced to deal with sewer back-ups caused by clogs by performing costly and unplanned maintenance, purchasing replacement pumps, or upgrading lift station pumps all together to accommodate the non-woven materials that make up a number of consumer products. These expenses take away from much needed infrastructure upgrades benefiting the municipality.

What can we do as a society to fix this preventable problem? The solution is simple: Stop flushing items that aren't meant for a toilet! But, let’s be realistic because we know that wet wipes are here to stay and people will continue flushing them and other foreign objects down the toilet, which all combine with grease to form solid clumps of material not meant for any municipal pumping system.

Don’t fear the clog, prevent it!

There are solutions municipalities can implement to provide much needed relief from clogged pumps and their related expenses.

  1. Use a non-clog pump designed to pass material up to 3” in diameter to prevent clogging. These pumps aren't guaranteed to never clog, but will help prevent serious issues from occurring.

  2. Install a bar screen or trash basket at lift stations or in the sewage treatment plant. They are designed to prevent unwanted items from reaching the pump. However, these must be cleaned out periodically.

  3. Or, install a grinder before the pump that grinds up solid waste and foreign objects before they even reach the pump.

It’s a fact that foreign objects and un-flushable material are bound to get flushed down the toilet. Municipalities need to modify their systems to accommodate objects that do not disintegrate in usual circumstances by implementing the solutions above, or they risk costly clogs.

Don’t let your municipality be the next big news story!  Contact us today if you’re experiencing problems associated with clogged pumps. We are happy to identify the most appropriate solution based on your situation. 

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