When wastewater leaves our homes it travels through an underground maze of pipes, called the Sanitary Sewer System, to reach the Wastewater Treatment Plant. The Sanitary Sewer System only moves wastewater. There is a separate piping system, called the storm sewer system to carry rainwater runoff to the river or stormwater ponds.
In order to move the wastewater from homes throughout the city, some of which are many kilometres away from the Wastewater Treatment Plant, a pumping system is necessary. This pumping system uses lift stations to help keep the wastewater moving in the sewer system.
Wastewater from our homes first travels through smaller pipes that eventually feed into large neighbourhood pipes called sewer mains. The wastewater in the sewer mains flows by gravity towards the various lift stations. The downward slope of these pipes is sufficient to produce a velocity of two feet per second. This high rate of speed helps to prevent sediment from settling in the pipes and keeps the wastewater from becoming septic, causing odours and corrosion in the collection system.
However, as the Wastewater Treatment Plant is not downhill from every home in the city, pumps in the lift stations are needed to ensure the velocity of the wastewater is maintained even when flowing uphill. A lift station simply lifts the wastewater back up to an elevation where it can begin flowing downhill all over again.
In Saskatoon there are 26 Lift Stations located all over the city. All the lift stations in Saskatoon, other than the Storm Lift on Idylwyld Drive that is used for storm water, are used to help pump wastewater from our homes through the Sanitary Sewer System.