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North Brook Residents

Video of the June 15, 2017 meeting for North Brook residents.

Grinder Pump Frequently Asked Questions


  • What is a grinder pump?
  • How does it work?
  • Why do some homes in Centreville need grinder pumps?
  • Who is responsible for the grinder pump?
  • What can I do to protect my grinder pump?
  • How do I properly maintain my grinder pump?
  • What should I do with my pump when I go on vacation?

What is a grinder pump?

A grinder pump works like a household garbage disposal, but on a larger scale. It grinds up wastewater produced in your home (i.e. toilet use, shower, washing machine, etc.) and pumps it into the public sewer system.

How does it work?

The homes with grinder pumps are on a low-pressure waste water collection system. These homes use a grinder pump to grind the waste into a fine slurry, and pump it through small pipes to the larger sewer lines of the collection system. The pump operates when waste inside the holding tank reaches a specific level.  Low-pressure sewage systems require homeowners to become knowledgeable about proper use.

Why do some homes need grinder pumps?

In most instances, wastewater flows by gravity from a home’s on-property sewer service line to a public sewer main where it travels to wastewater treatment plants. At the plants, the wastewater is cleaned, disinfected and safely returned to the environment. However, because of elevation, gravity may not work in all instances. In situations where a home’s sewer service line leaves the building at a lower elevation than the public sewer main, a grinder pump is sometimes used to grind and pump wastewater to the main. See the attached diagram illustrating typical grinder pump layout.

Who is responsible for the grinder pump?

The grinder pumps are installed on private property and therefore are the responsibility of the property owner. The same is true for the private sewer service line on the home owner’s property. 

The Town of Centreville responsibility for sewer service begins at the termination valve near the curb and the lines in the street.

Who do I contact if I have a grinder pump problem?

Freemire and Associates is the factory authorized representative for this area. Their office number is 302-535-8926 and for 24 hour emergency service, call 888-349-7448.

What can I do to protect my grinder pump?

A properly maintained grinder pump should be able to handle wastewater from the kitchen, bathroom, laundry, etc. However, some chemicals and substances can adversely impact a grinder pump and may cause safety hazards.  Please check the labels on all chemicals before using / disposing.

Also, never pour the following items down drains or flush down toilets:

  • Kitty litter, coffee grinds, gravel, sand (including aquarium stone);
  • Hair clippings, coffee beans, egg shells, cigarette butts;
  • Feminine products, personal cleaning wipes, dental floss;
  • Diapers, socks, rags, cloth;
  • Lubricating oil, grease, cooking oil, cooking fat (lard, oil, grease);
  • Glass, metal, wood, seafood shells;
  • Plastic objects (toys, eating utensils, etc.), rubber or latex;
  • Strong chemicals, toxic, caustic, or poisonous substances (this includes Drano, Mr. Plumber, etc.);
  • Any explosive or flammable material;
  • Gasoline, kerosene, fuel oil, paint, paint thinner, anti-freeze;
  • Degreasing solvents.

These items can damage the grinder pump and its controls, cause blockages and backups and may create unsafe conditions in your lines and tank.

How do I properly maintain my grinder pump?

In addition to following the tips provided above, please follow the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance guidelines.  The pump is a sealed unit and requires no routine maintenance; however, we recommend the cover be removed on an annual basis, so that the inside of the tank may be washed with a garden hose and nozzle.  This will enable the grease and solid accumulation to be washed off the pump, controls and plumbing while the pump pumps out the residue.

** Remember that your grinder pump is powered by electricity. In the event of a power outage, your pump will not work unless it is powered by a generator.

What should I do with my pump when I go on vacation?

If you plan on being away for several days, replace the wastewater in the tank with clean water to help minimize odors. 

To do this:

  1. Run an inside faucet for about 10 minutes – long enough for the grinder pump to start working (you may need to go outside near the pump and listen to verify it has started).
  2. After the pump starts, turn the inside faucet off.
  3. The pump will run until the tank is empty and shut off automatically.

This process will cleanse the pump and keep it filled with a minimum amount of clean water. Remember to always leave the power to the pump on.

Homeowners should ask their insurance agent for a “sewage backup protection rider” to be added to their standard homeowner’s policy.

For more information about your Environmental One Grinder Pump System go to www.eone.com.

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