Over the years I have encountered many instances where the discharge pump would burn out, every two years or so, sometimes annually. Really a pump should last much longer (some for 10 years or more). So why do they burn out? There are really, only two reasons for this.

1. The pump is not strong enough for the job.
2. There is excess water getting into the system thereby making the pump work harder or more often than it should (this can lead to problems with the percolation bed also).

A weak pump has an obvious remedy. But excess water in the system is more of a headache as there are several ways this can happen.

• A leak in the unit itself. Common enough issue for the fibreglass units (So if your buying new, aim for PVC or concrete). Repair will most likely require excavation, but replacement may be on the cards.
• Storm water from drains or downpipes entering. These should be directed to sumps & water courses.
• Leaking appliances from within the property. Toilets can be a culprit.
• Tank is not serviced & emptied routinely, resulting in sludge going through the pump.
• Poorly positioned system – surrounding ground slopes towards the septic tank or Manhole & AJ’s, allowing surface water to enter the system.

So, to avoid/correct this problem

• Select a robust tank/unit.
• Make sure only waste water from appliances within the house discharges to the system. Keeping all storm drains and rain water away.
• Make sure appliances are working properly.
• Service the system routinely, leading to a longer life.
• Get the levels & layout right. Lids & covers should just be a fraction over the ground and the ground sloping away from them, keeping all surface water out

Do this and you’ll save money, not just on Pump replacement but on the electricity an overused pump uses (can be quite a bit) as well. Not to mention the problems when a pump breaks down.