Grinder Pump Information

Grinder Pump Fact Sheet

Why am I receiving this letter?

Your household/business sewer is served by a grinder pump and not by gravity.

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.

What can I do to protect my grinder pump?

A properly maintained grinder pump should be able to handle wastewater from the kitchen, bathroom, and laundry. 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:
  • Sanitary napkins or tampons;
  • Diapers, baby wipes, paper towels, disposable toilet bowl scrubbers, disposable floor scrubbers or cloth of any kind;
  • Grease (a byproduct of cooking that comes from meat fats, oils, shortening, butter, margarine, food scraps, sauces and dairy products);
  • Explosive or flammable material;
  • Kitty litter;
  • Aquarium gravel;
  • Strong chemicals or toxic, caustic or poisonous substances;
  • Degreasing solvents, oxidizing cleaners;
  • Fuel or lubricating oil, paint thinner or antifreeze;
  • Plastic objects (toys, eating utensils, etc.);
  • Seafood shells;
  • Disposable or rubber gloves;
  • Dental floss.
These items can damage the grinder pump and its controls, cause blockages and backups and may create unsafe conditions in your lines and tank.
*Never connect a sump pump to sewer lines. Doing so is a violation of the Town of Essex sewer regulations and decreases the sewer mains’ flow capacity while increasing wastewater treatment costs. In the case of a grinder pump, a sump pump connected to the sewer system may raise your electric rates and shorten the life of your grinder pump.
The Board reserves the right to suspend sewer service, impose monetary assessments, or both for continued grinder pump malfunctions caused by misuse of the homeowner or business.
Each grinder pump has a control panel that is mounted to the side of your house or building. The control panel has both an audible and visual alarm. Should there be a problem with your grinder pump that sets this alarm off, notify the Essex Wastewater Dept. at (978) 768-6262 or (978) 768-6431 during normal business hours (Mon. thru Fri. 7a.m. to 3:30p.m.). After hours the alarm should be reported to the Essex Emergency Center at (978) 768-6200.