Lift Station

I am looking at a 40 unit park that has a lift station. Has anyone run into this, and is the upkeep, costs a large part? How do I calculate that into the price? Thanks!

A lift station is required when the sewage needs to be raised to a higher elevation so that it will run downhill to its final destination or to another lift station. Normally, waste lines run at 1/4 inch per foot, this is a 2% slope and causes what is called the ‘scouring’ velocity. So, a 100 foot run will have a ‘fall’ of 25 inches or so for a proper scouring rate of flow. Less than the 2% slope may cause solids to settle into the bottom of the line and may cause partial blockages. Any settling almost always causes gasing, but this is a subject for another day. The bottom line is that a lift station is the very last, and the most problematic, option used when designing sewer systems. Depending on the age of your lift station, you may want to factor repairs or improvements into your offering price. Consult a local professional on this.

Generally, you would want to have at least 2 pumps in the station that would alternate duty. In no event do you want to have a condition where you cannot pump down the station. However, if you contact a design professional you may find that the lift station can be eliminated by re-routing lines; maybe so, maybe no, it depends on elevations and distances.

Also, having a lift station means that tenants can not and must not dispose of sanitary napkins and so-called disposable and flushable ‘wipes’. Ditto diapers. Sanitary sewer systems are designed for only the 3 P’s, these are pee, poop, and (toilet) paper. Now I want to make a big point here, and it applies to all sewer systems: Disposable wipes, no matter what they say on the product package or he company website, are not flushable, period, no matter what anybody says. Often times people confuse the terms disposable and flushable, they do not mean the same thing and the tenants need to be clear on that and held accountable for that. Wipes are never flushable, period.

I work in a medium size hospital-med center complex and this issue of wipes is a constant battle. The hospital associations like CSHE and ASHE say that every single hospital fights the battle of disposable wipes getting flushed. Hope this helps your decision making process.

Jim Allen

I have a lift station, that serves 20 homes and I spend $400-$1200 per year (excluding the $600 yr. electricity to run it).

scs, what is costing 400 - 100 a year? Park I have under contract has a lift station. Seems like a simple setup. 

Jim Allen, thank you for all your valuable information on Lift Stations.  It was very informative!Recently, we had a Tenant that had a sewer issue in a Lonnie Dealer Mobile Home.  Of course the Lonnie Dealer blamed us (the Mobile Home Park) for the issue.  We immediately called in a plumber only to find out it was an issue with the Lonnie Dealer’s plumbing because the Tenant was flushing Baby Wipes and Tampons.I like your explanation:'Sanitary sewer systems are designed for only the 3 P’s, these are pee, poop, and (toilet) paper.'Thank you again for all your comments!

GeorgeNiko, grinder pump impeller, float switches, electical leads, thermo overload breakers, gfci breakers, check valves… and these are the components that need replacing, what is more common is the soap build up on the float switches that prevent them from functioning as designed- these need to be cleaned 4-5 times yr.

SCS is correct on the parts that generally need occasional replacement. However, most or all of those parts can be replaced by a maintenance person of average skill. The float switches, if exposed, can simply be hosed off with a garden hose periodically, weekly to monthly would be a good start. The key to sewer system maintenance is appropriate and periodic maintenance.

In the previous post above I’m not trying to scare anyone away from parks with lift stations. Rather, I think that an informed person will make much better, and less regrettable, buying decisions.

Kristin, I plagarized the 3P’s from the OCSD website. Orange County Sanitation District is the 3rd largest SD west of the Mississippi river, typically processing 200 M gallons per day of effluent. The issue of disposable wipes is a real headache across the entire sanitary sewer path, from the source at a toilet to the head end of a sewer plant. The wipes industry has a website devoted to promoting these things and when I have a chance I will post a link to their website under this thread. Sewer plants screen and rake the wipes out of the effluent stream then truck them out to a landfill as hazardous waste which is costly. So, removing this material from the waste stream actually will save tenants money in the long run since as the cost of sewer plant operation goes down then their cost of living will go down. Park owners can do everyone, from their own tenants to the sewer plant operators, a favor by enforcing the ‘do not flush wipes’ rule. One of the chief problems with these wipes, they are actually called non-woven material wipes and they are made of various plastics, is that they will ‘rag up’ lift station pumps. This forces the removal and cleaning or clearing of the pump.

Jim Allen

The website for the non-woven fabrics industry is You will have to do some digging to find the right material. They say that, as I recall, none of their plastic materials or fabrics are designed or intended to be flushed.

Jim Allen

We have two MHPs under contract with lift stations.  The maintenance costs and electric operating expenses are all the responsibility of the respective Cities.  We pay nothing for that little gem.B-)-Jefferson-