Grinder Pumps

About Grinder Pumps
A grinder pump unit includes the pump, tank and all controls packaged together. They grind most solids into fine particles, which then pass through the pump and smaller diameter pipe lines. Using facilities in your home automatically activates the grinder pump, which has an annual energy consumption not much more than a 40-watt light bulb.

Installation & Approval

When a contractor submits a sewer service application, we will verify whether it is a grinder pump lot. If the lot meets this designation, we will then require a grinder pump acknowledgement form to be completed.

Grinder pumps should be as close to the property line as engineering, design and contractor requirements allow.


The Building Safety & Permits Division ensures the contractors do not back fill the grinder pump until it is verified that the installation meets JCSA and manufacturer’s standards; this includes anchoring the can with concrete, and the installation of bypass, check and gate valves. Upon approval of the JCSA inspection, the contractor or owner may apply for a JCSA maintenance agreement.

Maintenance agreement

The JCSA has a maintenance program that covers all grinder pump services for $375 a year. There are additional requirements associated with obtaining a JCSA Service Agreement, and our Customer Service Department will be happy to answer your questions at 757-253-6800. Should you decide not to have a maintenance agreement for your grinder pump, we recommend establishing a relationship with a local plumber qualified in grinder pump repair.

The JCSA will only give maintenance agreements for Environment One grinder pumps, which are obtained through Commonwealth Engineering and Sales. Any questions concerning the installation specifications should be directed to operations at 757-229-7421.

Operation Guidelines

Do not place any of the following items down toilets or drain lines going to a grinder pump:
  • Petroleum products such as fuels, paint thinner, or alcohol
  • Substances that could clog your system such as ashes, mud, hair, bacon or cooking grease
  • Sharp objects such as fish tank gravel, broken glass or sharp metal objects. Do not put bones in the garbage disposal since they will shatter into small sharp objects
  • Items that impede the operation of the pump such as string or rope
The homeowner should ensure proper voltage and wiring, and maintain the electrical switches. The primary concern should be switch operation and water tightness of the external switch’s housing. Proper grading around the grinder pump and all electrical disconnects can prevent flooding of the can; a grinder pump will not operate if flooded, causing sewage to spill on the lawn or backup into the home.

Additionally, the exposed portion of the grinder pump can should not be obstructed by plants or decorative lawn items, as this could slow a repair crew and reduce the chance of a speedy return to service.