The right solution

By Glynn Williams, Director of Sales, Commercial Building Services for Grundfos Pumps

The whole area of wastewater is a complex one. Increasingly building services places more and more demands on what professionals working within the industry need to have knowledge of. Technology in lots of areas, including pumps, is becoming increasingly advanced and sophisticated. This means it can be difficult to not only stay in touch with all of the changes, but also to understand which advances can be of real assistance within the commercial arena, and if so, in what instances.

Defining wastewater

As a starting point – there are four main application areas within wastewater that can be defined as:

•           Drainage water: this is mainly groundwater, rain and surface water with solids up to 12mm.

•           Surface water: this is rainwater that contains sand, stones, leaves and other dirt with solids up to 50mm.

•           Grey water: this is dirty water from for example washing machines, dishwashers and basements with fibres and solids up to 35mm.

•           Black water: this is untreated wastewater and raw sewerage water with faecal matter, fibres, textiles and other large solids up to 100mm.

The answer to these demands can be found by using a combination of pumps, lifting stations and pumping stations.

Pumps and controls can be combined to suit specific requirements or to create bespoke options. When required, standard ranges are available that can be supplemented to ensure an exact solution.

Due to the number of different pump solution options available within this area we will limit this article to discussing the more commonly used solutions within commercial building services.


Pumps have become increasingly sophisticated and today they have evolved into specialist pieces of technology in their own right. Each variant now performs against their own area of expertise and will deliver against a unique set of demands. For example the Grundfos Unilift range offers solutions that are suitable for lower flow applications such as drainage applications, liquid transfer and submersible pumps for draining water or pumping effluent with flow rates up to 9.44 litres per second.

The KP and AP ranges are suitable for compact portable and permanent wastewater needs. The KP is a lighter weight pump that is designed specifically for drainage jobs. More than one million KP pumps are currently installed globally, which proves their popularity in a range of applications. Their bigger cousins the AP range offer many similar benefits, but can be used in more demanding wastewater applications like for groundwater lowering and in conjunction with black water.

As you move up the scale to the heavier duty wastewater pumps you can choose from various options such as DP pumps that are heavy duty drainage pumps. These can be used with surface water that contain small solids or fibres and can either be permanently installed or kept for flood relief or stand-by purposes. The EF pump family features a single open vane impeller that can handle solids and fibres from a variety of building services applications.

SEG grinder pumps and SEV and SE1 pumps have motors sized from 1.1 to 11kW and can handle even the toughest wastewater task.

Lifting stations

Lifting stations are strong reliable, pre-fabricated all-in-one solutions that handle both grey and black water. There are various ranges that are suitable for both domestic and commercial applications such as the Grundfos SOLOLIFT2 macerator range that represents a big leap forward in wastewater disposal. This new generation are the most powerful, reliable and service-friendly lifting stations on the market today that also offer easy installation – all within the limitations of standard existing pipe work.

From an operational and cost point of view, the simplest way to get rid of wastewater is to use gravity. However, when this isn’t possible a lifting station such as one of the Grundfos MULTILIFT range is a real option. Commercial lifting stations like MULTILIFT are a thoroughly tested technology whose benefits have become increasingly apparent in recent years.

These units are compact and powerful and will collect any kind of wastewater from any commercial application. They will then lift it to a higher level in circumstances where draining is either impossible or where it would be very expensive to do so.

The main benefit MULTILIFT stations deliver is hassle free wastewater disposal in a single, pre-assembled package. All MULTILIFT stations are delivered as complete pre-assembled solutions that are pre-wired, pre-set and ready to go. They have footprints between 0.25 – 2sq m and are able to discharge up to 100 cubic metres of wastewater per hour.

The Grundfos CONLIFT range removes condensate from boilers, air-conditioning systems and cooling systems. These are pre-assembled lifting stations that have been specifically developed for condensate removal and they operate automatically when condensate enters the collection tank.

Pumping stations

To offer a basic explanation on the difference between a lifting station and a pumping station – pumping stations are specifically designed to be buried in a pit.

Modular pumping stations that come as complete units, have been popular in Europe for many years and are now becoming increasingly popular in the UK as these products deliver against a wide range of application options and are very straightforward to install and maintain.

The Grundfos PUST range for example is made from durable polyethylene and work perfectly with a wide range of pumps. These modular pumping stations come complete with all the necessary pipe work (which is either PE or stainless steel), valves and level controls as well as reliable controllers and are recognised as offering efficient and reliable removal of wastewater from commercial buildings of any size. This range is available in a variety of sizes and heights that can be supplemented with customised versions as required.

The right solution

Finding the ideal solution in terms of wastewater applications in commercial buildings is not straightforward, but hopefully this article has put some of the basic signposts in place that will make it easier for you to arrive at the best solution to suits your needs.

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