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Pump Selection- When moving liquid there are many pump options to choose

Pump applications can be far reaching … from the general construction dewatering job, to flood control to unique applications in the fishing and recreational industry. These varying applications suggest that contractors and landscapers need to have basic pump knowledge regarding the type of pump needed for their particular job. With such a wide range of pumps available selecting the correct pump for the application is important. The most common pumps available are trash, dewatering, diaphragm and submersible pumps. Each of these pump styles are designed for different applications. Centrifugal trash and dewatering pumps are very versatile and are among the simplest and most efficient.

Dewatering pumps are relatively inexpensive, but do not contain high quality components necessary for durability under general construction conditions. The water being pumped must be relatively clean, containing suspended solids up to1/4 inch in diameter and less than 10 percent by weight. Benefits of detwatering pumps include high volume flow capabilities and a lightweight, compact design. These pumps are best suited to pump unwanted water from, flooded basements, utility vaults, swimming pools, lakes and barge holds. Dewatering pumps are commonly used on water trucks or trailers for jobsite dust suppression and small irrigation projects

Trash pumps contain many high quality components and are well worth the additional cost compared to dewatering pumps. This type of pump is often the preferred choice in the construction industry. These pumps can handle clean, muddy, mucky, or sandy water with solids up to 2 inches in diameter (depending on pump size) and between 10 to 25 percent by weight. Applications include pumping unwanted water from excavations, flooded basements, manholes, utility vaults, mining work, retention ponds, lakes and barge holds. Trash pumps are very popular in the construction industry because of their reliability, versatility, and durability under a variety of site conditions.

Capabilities of Trash and Dewatering Pump
1. 25-ft suction lift at sea level
2. High discharge heads
3. Lightweight and portable 
4. Small investment for large capacity
5. Few parts, easy to maintain


1. High water content to move solids
2. Not for mud,thick slurries, or corrosive material
3. Dewatering pumps: 10 percent solids or less
4. Trash pumps: 10 to 25 percent solids

1. Clearwater
2. Water with algae
3. Water with suspended clay
4. Silt water
5. Abrasive water
6. Fast seepage ditch water

 Submersible pumps offer contractors versatility on the jobsite. These pumps are primarily for water containing solids up to ¼ in. in diameter and less that 10 percent by weight. They are relatively inexpensive, can run unattended and are ideal where quiet operation is mandatory. Pumping unwanted water from well casings, tunnels, shafts, flooded excavations, manholes, and vaultsare some applications appropriate for submersible pumps. Submersible pumps are powered by a variety of single or three-phase electric motors, some equipped with automatic float options, and are lowered directly into the liquid to be pumped:

Capabilities of Submersible Pumps
1. No suction hose required
2. High discharge heads
3. Small investment for large capacity
4. Few parts, low repair and service costs
5. Instant priming
6. Runs dry for short time
7. Does not need constant attention

1. Electric power source required
2. 10 percent solids or less

1. Water with algae
2. Water with suspended clay
3. Abrasive water
4. Slow seepage ditch water

 Diaphragm pumps are effective in muddy applications and are often used where the content of solids is high and/or a condition of seepage exists. Because of this muddy application, diaphragm pumps are commonly referred to as mud hogs, mud suckers or simply mud pumps. While diaphragm pumps do not pump high volumes or distances for their weight, they are very useful because of their versatility. Diaphragm pumps have the capability of pumping water with greater than 25 percents solids by weight. Diaphragm pumps do not require a steady flow of water and can handle large amounts of solids.

Capabilities of Diaphragm Pumps
1. 25-ft suction lift at sea level 
2. Full capacity on each stroke
3. Handles low seepage
4. Keeps pumping in shallow water
5. Pumps mud and large amounts of flowable solids
6. Easy service valves and diaphragm

1. Low discharge head and pressure
2. Small capacity for investment vs. centrifugal models
3. 25 percent solids and above

1. Water with algae
2. Water with suspended clay
3. Mud water
4. Silt water
5. Abrasive water
6. Water with high solid content
7. Slow seepage ditch water
8. Septic tank