Submersible Pumps 101

We often get calls with people asking for submersible pumps. They know exactlywhat they are looking for, but submersible pump (the term) covers a broad range of equipment.


The pumps range from small units used to keep your basement dry to large commercial units handling large solids. Knowing the types and uses can help you make a decision on one that will give you the results you want without problems.


What are the types and what job are they best suited for?

This list will provide you with the basics but is not the complete list. These pumps as with most
equipment have options which can be added for specific situations.


The basic pumps are:

Sump/ Effluent – basement draining/ water transfer, dewatering and effluent transfer.

The pump is not designed to handle solids and is typically in an on/ off application.


Dewatering/ effluent – handling dirty waters, draining ditches and pits, excavating in the

building trades, water transfer and industrial water drainage or transfer. The pump can

handle a maximum of 3/8” spherical solid and designed for continuous operation.


Effluent – mound systems, effluent/ dosing systems, low pressure pipe systems,

basement draining and heavy duty sump/ dewatering. The pump can handle a

maximum ½” spherical solid and designed for on/ off service but able to run continuous.



Sewage – sewage systems, flood and pollution control, dewatering/ effluent, farms,

hospitals, trailer courts and motels. These pumps have open or semi-open non-clog

impellers with pump out vanes. They can depending on the pump size handle 2” or 3”

spherical solids and designed for on/ off service but able to run continuous.


Grinder – heavy solids laden sewage. The pump has an impeller with cutter blades and

pump out vanes and a stationary cutter blade to reduce the size of the solids and stringy

materials. The pump is designed for on/ off service but able to run continuous.


Vortex – general drainage, storm run-off, waste treatment plants, building service, power

and utility plants, pollution control. The pump impeller is recessed which allows it to

easily pass solids typically up to 3” and stringy materials. The pump is designed for on/

off service but able to run continuous.


All of these pumps are submersible but depending on the fluid and the solids content one pump

may provide better service.


When you are looking for a submersible pump you should be able to provide the following application information:

What is the fluid?

 What is the size of the solids in the fluid?

 How many gallons per minute is the pump required to handle?

 What is the discharge pressure (ft. of head) required?

 What is the temperature of the fluid?

 Is this a simplex (single pump) or a duplex (two pump system)

 How do you plan to control the pump? Manual? Single float switch - on/ off? Multiple

floats with alarms – on, second pump on, high level alarm?

Armed with this information the applications engineer will be able to provide you with the best solution. 

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Tom Kolling

In my career the customer has always been my focus. I've worked with my staff to provide a level of service that surprises the customer and sets us apart. I've worked to establish new vendors, inventory, pricing and special requirements that are needed by customers.

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