Troubleshooting a Septic Tank Effluent Pump

A septic tank effluent pump is used in many areas where the tank is a long distance from the field lines. Many rural homes where there is ledge, or other obstructions, use this type of pump inside their septic tank. The effluent pump moves the waste in the tank out to the field lines where it can be disseminated into the leeching area.

How It Works

The septic tank effluent pump works when gravity can not. When the height of the ground where the field lines are situated is up higher than the septic tank, then the effluent pump kicks in. It pushes the liquid and the fumes up through the hoses to the fields. Effluent pumps work much like that of a sump pump in a basement. However, it is not designed to carry solids through the lines. For this reason the effluent pump is placed in the second chamber of the tank.

The septic tank effluent pump can work for many years without any problems. There are times when there will be some problems with the pump that need to be repaired. Here are some troubleshooting tips to help you diagnose the problem, and fix it if possible.

Pump Is Not Working

Since the pump works through an electrical power supply, there may be times when it does not work. This can be because there is a disruption of power to the pump itself. Check the grounds to make sure that the electrical line is not severed. You may also want to check that the fuse has not blown in the line.

Pump Is Clogged

If you notice that there is a smell coming from the drain pipes, the septic tank seems to be filling up quickly there could be a problem with the pump being clogged. This can happen when solid waste enters the tube or builds up around the pump itself. You will need to pull the pump from the tank to free up any waste on the pump or in the hose.

Tank Effluent Backs Up in House

When the system fails entirely, the effluent in the tank can back up into the home. This can mean that it is not getting any power, but also that the motor has seized or the bearings in the pump are not working. Again, you will need to pull the pump from the tank to check the motor. If the spool will turn freely then it is not burned up. Check the bearings to make sure they are not fused or warped. If so, then replace them or replace the tank.

Ground Wet

Along the line where the pump moves the effluent from the tank to the leech field you may notice the ground getting wet when it hasn't rained. This is an indication that hose from the pump is cracked and leaking. It is necessary to dig up the hose and to replace the broken piece. You may also need to check the pump to make sure that it did not suffer damage while pumping the sewage out of the broken hose.