What Are Lift Stations?

Wastewater lift stations are facilities designed to move wastewater from lower to higher elevation, particularly where the elevation of the source is not sufficient for gravity flow and/or when the use of gravity conveyance will result in excessive excavation depths and high sewer construction costs.

Key elements of lift stations include a wastewater receiving well (wet-well), often equipped with a screen or grinding to remove coarse materials; pumps and piping with associated valves; motors; a power supply system; an equipment control and alarm system; and an odor control system and ventilation system.  Lift station equipment and systems are often installed in an enclosed structure. They can be constructed on-site (custom-designed) or prefabricated.

Lift stations are used to reduce the capital cost of sewer system construction.  When gravity sewers are installed in trenches deeper than three meters (10 feet), the cost of sewer line installation increases significantly because of the more complex and costly excavation equipment and trench shoring techniques required.  The size of the gravity sewer lines is dependent on the minimum pipe slope and flow.  Pumping wastewater can convey the same flow using smaller pipeline size at shallower depth, and thereby, reducing pipeline costs.

United States Environmental Protection Agency Office of Water Washington, D.C. EPA 832-F-00-073 September 2000 Collection Systems Technology Fact Sheet Sewers, Lift Station