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What Is The Difference Between A Lift Station And A Pump Station?

Improving the quality of water we consume is vital for our health, economic development, and our environment.

The supply of adequate safe drinking water has become a challenge because of the rapidly growing population. However, the availability of nontoxic water can be ensured with proper water management systems in place and by curbing pollution.

According to the UN, over 80 percent of the wastewater is released into the environment without proper treatment.

Thus, a sustainable approach towards wastewater management is the need of the hour. Efficiently managing the wastewater will offer water security and also benefit our ecosystem. For this reason, wastewater treatment plants are used to treat water before it is dumped into rivers, seas, and ocean.

Globally, pump stations and lift stations are used as sewage and wastewater treatment plants. Often, these terms are used interchangeably. However, it is important to understand the difference between the two to maintain it efficiently and have them working at an optimum level.

What is a Lift station?

A lift station moves sewage and toxic water from lower levels to the higher level of the treatment plants. It is installed and designed in a way to deal with many issues arising from the treatment of wastewater, like the presence of toxic gases and many solid waste particles.

How does a lift station work?

A lift station generally consists of a wet well (where solids and waste are usually stored), two or more submersible pumps, pump float controls, piping, a control panel, and a backup up generator.

When the excess sewage and solid waste are pumped out, it is sent to the wet well to be stored, after which the control system pumps the excess water out. The lift station uses a pressurized pipe, called ‘the force main,’ to pump the wastewater to a higher level.


Lift stations require frequent maintenance too. The wet well needs to be degreased and cleaned because this is where the sewage is stored. Overtimes there may likely be a buildup of solid debris that impedes the working of the lift station.

In case of a lift station failure, wastewater will accumulate in the wet well. It can cause the wastewater to overflow into the neighboring areas and may also result in sewerage backup in the houses.

These are some of the common lift station plumbing issues that may arise if the system is not well-maintained. Thus, it is important to inspect the system from time to time and call the plumbing service if you detect any malfunction.

What is a pumping station?

Pumping stations take water to the higher levels of the treatment plants. The wastewater and freshwater delivered through the pumping station are generally free of any solid materials or waste. This is why pumping stations do not need a crusher to break down sewage and other solid materials.

How does it work?

The pumping station delivers water from one site to another, i.e., it covers long distances without any direct human intervention. The water these systems transport is free of any sewage material.

Thus it can be released to the canals, used in treatment systems, and can remove water accumulation from the storm in low lying areas.


Regular and timely maintenance by the professional not only ensures that the treatment system is in proper working order, but it will also improve the productivity and efficiency of the process.

Lift Station vs. Pump Station

Although at most places, pump stations are a part of the lift station system, and both words are used interchangeably, there are differences between the two.

Lift station needs grinder and crusher types of pumps because sewage has solid debris, and if the grinder pumps are not installed to break the solid waste down, it may result in clogging of the lift station pipes.

However, pump stations do not require any such grinder pumps because the water they transport is free of solid waste or sewage.

The lift station contains hazardous gases such as methane and hydrogen sulfide that may pose a threat to the living things while the pumping station is free of sewage material and thus do not contain such harmful gases.

Lift stations are automated to start and stop on their own to prevent the pump from overworking. This prevents the pump from processing at all times. However, some pump stations may run round the clock while others run in rotations.

Though the purpose of the lift station and pump station might differ, all electrical mechanisms and wiring of both the treatment plants should be protected from water and sewage to prevent any shorts or damage to any part of the station.

Timely inspection and testing by the professionals will increase the lifespan of your pumps and prevent damage to the surrounding area.

Disclaimer: The information in this article is provided for general education and informational purposes only, without any express or implied warranty of any kind, including warranties of accuracy, completeness or fitness for any particular purpose. It is not intended to be and does not constitute financial, legal, tax or any other advice specific to you the user or anyone else. TurtleVerse does not guarantee the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of the information and shall not be held responsible for any action taken based on the published information.



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