Knowledge Base

Grinder Systems

A grinder system is composed of a collection tank for sewage and a grinder pump, both of which are buried in your yard. There is also a gray control panel on the side of your home. Wastewater from your sinks, appliances, showers, toilets, etc leaves your home and enters the collection tank underground. When enough wastewater has been collected in the tank, the grinder pump will automatically turn on and pump it into the City's sewer line.

  Typically, grinder systems are used when homes sit at lower elevations and wastewater must be pumped uphill in order to enter the City's sewer system.


 Caring for your Grinder System

  • Maintain at least a 3-foot clearance around the tank riser lid and a clear path to the control panel on the side of your home. Without clearance, crews may be unable to perform maintenance.
  • Never drive or park anything on top of your grinder system.
  • Ensure that water, toilet paper, and human waste are the only things that go down the toilet and drains.
  • Do not add septic aid products to your system or put chemicals down the drain.
  • Excessive use of your garbage disposal can clog your system. Throw away or compost excess food, coffee grounds, eggshells, fats, oils, grease, etc.
  • Locate the grinder system's breaker in the home's electrical panel. Make sure this breaker is on at all times. If the breaker is turned off or trips, there will be no power to run the pump and you could experience sewer backup or overflow.
  • If your tank lid becomes damaged, secure the area and report it to the City of Lacey Maintenance Service Center at (360) 491-5644 as soon as possible.
  • Call before you dig. It's the law! Do not dig around your tank unless underground utilities have been located. Homeowners can request utility locates by calling 1-800-424-5555 (or *811 on your cell phone) or online at

If your grinder system alarm goes off

  • You will hear a loud alarm, similar to a car alarm, coming from the control panel located on the side of your home.
  • Press the red button to silence the alarm. The red light will remain on while the alarm is active.
  • Restrict water use by not running your washing machine or dishwasher until City crews can determine the cause of the alarm. As long as sewer is not backing up in the home, brief showers and toilet flushing is okay.
  • Immediately report the alarm to the City of Lacey Maintenance Service Center at (360) 491-5644 during business hours or at (360) 704-2740 during nights/weekends.

If sewer is backing up inside of your home

  • Immediately call the City of Lacey Maintenance Service Center to contact our wastewater staff at (360) 491-5644 during business hours or at (360) 704-2740 during nights/weekends. Technicians are available 24/7, 365 days a year to respond to sewer emergencies.
  • Do not use your washing machine, dishwasher, take showers/baths, or flush water down drains or toilets until crews can determine the cause of the overflow.

If the power goes out

  • Restrict your water use and do not use the dishwasher or washing machine and do not take showers or baths until power has been restored. You can flush the toilet unless you have sewer backing up in your home. If this occurs, call the City of Lacey Maintenance Center immediately for assistance (360) 491-5644.
  • The system's tank has reserve storage capacity that should be sufficient if you limit your water use.
  • If you notice a sewage overflow or experience back-ups, immediately notify the Lacey Maintenance Service Center.
  • When the power comes on again, it is normal for the alarm to go off. Silence the alarm (by hitting the red button on the control panel) and check the alarm panel again after 30 minutes. If the alarm light is still on, contact the Lacey Maintenance Service Center for assistance.

Updated 3/26/2024 11:13 AM
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