Since few comprehensive sewerage systems existed early on in the United States, pumps were often not needed for conveying sewage. Steam-driven pumping equipment was first developed for wastewater facilities in the early 1800s. One of the earliest sewage pumping systems (steam-driven) was designed and constructed as part of Boston’s main drainage works in 1884. Not long after, the pumping of sewage was also implemented via the installation of major pumping plants in the sewage conveyance systems of Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Chicago, and New Orleans.

Early types of pumps ranged from piston or plunger pumps to centrifugal pumps. Although some screw pumps were used, they generally did not meet with widespread success. Centrifugal pumps required a rather constant volume of sewage, thus requiring a storage basin at the pumps’ suction. Piston pumps usually required the sewage to be screened prior to pumping to reduce the probability of damage to the pump. Overall, centrifugal pumps began to be favored.

See Tracking Down the Roots of Our Sanitary Sewers, Parts 1-5, for more information.

                       

“New Double Plunger Sewerage Pump,” The Manufacturer and Builder, Volume13, Issue 12 (Dec. 1881), p. 273. Courtesy of The Making of America Digital Collection, Cornell University Library.

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“The Shone Hydro-Pneumatic System of Sewerage,” The Manufacturer and Builder, Volume 19, Issue 5 (May 1887), pp. 104-105. Courtesy of The Making of America Digital Collection, Cornell University Library.

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Urban H. Broughton, “The Shone Hydro-Pneumatic System of Sewerage,” Transactions of the American Society of Civil Engineers, Volume XXVII (December 1892), pp. 659-674.

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G. H. Benzenberg, “The Sewerage System of Milwaukee and the Milwaukee River Flushing Works,” Transactions of the American Society of Civil Engineers, Volume XXX (December 1893), pp. 367-385 and plates I-III. Used with permission of ASCE and EWRI.

PDF version – Pages 367-385.
PDF version – Plates I-III.

G. H. Benzenberg, F. P. Stearns, D. J. Whittemore, “The Sewerage System of Milwaukee — Discussion on Paper No. 651,” Transactions of the American Society of Civil Engineers, Volume XXX (December 1893), pp. 709-711. Used with permission of ASCE and EWRI.

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“A Hydraulic Ram Plant for a Public Water Supply,” Engineering News and American Railway Journal, Volume XXXVI, No. 27 (31 Dec. 1896), pp. 429-430.

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“Table Showing Data (for the Fiscal Year 1907) Relative to Sewerage and Sewage Disposal in Certain American Cities and Towns. Parts I-III,” and “Table of Data Relating to the Maintenance of Sewerage Systems,”Journal of the Association of Engineering Societies, Volume 42 (1909).

See Part III for information on pumping.

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Colonel E. C. S. Moore, “Introduction, Chapter I, Chapter II, Chapter III,” Sanitary Engineering, Volume I, 3rd Edition revised by E. J. Silcock (Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott Company, 1909), pp. 1-69.

Chapter III: “Sewage Lifting” (pp. 52-69) PDF version (printer-friendly).

For other chapters, see Design – 1900 and later.

Henry Lemmoin-Cannon, Sewage Disposal in the United Kingdom (London: St. Bride’s Press, Limited, 1912). Digitized by Google Books, thanks to Tom Bates for locating and contributing this book.

See chapter 39 (p. 159) for information about pumps

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Grant M. Olewiler, “Sewer Maintenance,” Sewage Works Journal, Volume IX, No. 5 (September 1937), pp. 808-820.

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Article in the 3 Dec 1887 edition of the Scientific American regarding The Boston Sewer System and Main Drain Works; a description of the involved steam powered pump station, sewer mains, cleaning devices within the sewers, etc.,

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U.S. Patents

Patent for raising sewage, 1899. Patented by A. Priestman. U.S. Patent No. 632,745.

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office at http://www.uspto.gov. Thanks to Tom Bates for finding and contributing this patent.

PDF version (printer-friendly).

Patent for ejector for raising sewage or other liquids, 1900. Patented by I. Shone & E. Ault. U.S. Patent No. 664,183.

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office at http://www.uspto.gov. Thanks to Tom Bates for finding and contributing this patent.

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Patent for automatic sewage ejector, 1903. Patented by E. Yeomans. U.S. Patent No. 735,430.

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office at http://www.uspto.gov. Thanks to Tom Bates for finding and contributing this patent.

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Patent for sewer lift, 1904. Patented by G. V. Ellis. U.S. Patent No. 772,710.

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office at http://www.uspto.gov. Thanks to Tom Bates for finding and contributing this patent.

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Patent for sewage ejector, 1908. Patented by W. McClintock. U.S. Patent No.884,406.

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office at http://www.uspto.gov. Thanks to Tom Bates for finding and contributing this patent.

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Patent for process of elevating liquids, 1914. Patented by A. Priestman. U.S. Patent No. 1,102,683.

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office at http://www.uspto.gov. Thanks to Tom Bates for finding and contributing this patent.

PDF version (printer-friendly).

Patent for pneumatic ejector, 1915. Patented by E. C. Bowden-Smith. U.S. Patent No. 1,144,806.

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office at http://www.uspto.gov. Thanks to Tom Bates for finding and contributing this patent.

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Patent for pneumatic pump, 1918. Patented by J. E. Russell. U.S. Patent No. 1,255,341.

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office at http://www.uspto.gov. Thanks to Tom Bates for finding and contributing this patent.

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Patent for sewage ejector, 1923. Patented by M. J. O’Brien. U.S. Patent No. 1,530,197.

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office at http://www.uspto.gov. Thanks to Tom Bates for finding and contributing this patent.

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Patent for pumping system, 1931. Patented by R. V. Cook. U.S. Patent No. 1,964,034.

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office at http://www.uspto.gov. Thanks to Tom Bates for finding and contributing this patent.

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Patent for package type sewage ejector, 1940. Patented by C. Yeomans et al. U.S. Patent No. 2,300,039.

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office at http://www.uspto.gov. Thanks to Tom Bates for finding and contributing this patent.

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Patent for pumping equipment, 1940. Patented by W. H. Reeves. U.S. Patent No. 2,280,930.

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office at http://www.uspto.gov. Thanks to Tom Bates for finding and contributing this patent.

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