An ejector pump is a basement-dwelling pump that sits in a deep pit in the basement floor. In some buildings with old plumbing, the waste goes right into the ground under the building. An ejector pump works to remove this waste and push it into the public sewer system. Items flushed down a toilet or drain, like paper towels, can cause clogs that back up the system. If not corrected, the backup could cause flooding, sewage back flow, and damage to your septic system. These ejector pump problems can be easily corrected before damage occurs.

Turn off the pump by turning off the circuit breaker switch to the pump.

Look carefully around the ejector pump for the vent. The vent is near where the pump pipe connects to the public sewer line. If you smell a strong sewage odor, there is likely a clog in your pump.

Remove the vent housing with a screwdriver. Remove debris in the vent and clean with hot water. Replace the vent and housing and test the pump. If it still appears to be flooding or not working proceed to Step 4.Clogged Ejector Pumps can be caused by debris from a toiletCredit: By BrokenSphere (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 ( or GFDL (], via Wikimedia Commons

Remove the lid covering the ejector pump pit (much like a sump pump pit). You may need a screwdriver to remove screws holding the lid down. When you remove the lid you will break the seal. If it is a rubber seal, remove the seal while lifting the lid up.

Inspect the pit for clear signs of debris like paper towels, tampons and food items. Using the heavy rubber gloves remove the debris.

Put the tip of the plumber snake into one of the pipes and carefully work it into the pipe then back out again. Repeat this multiple times in both pipes. Remove any debris that falls out of the pipes.

Apply plumbing caulk around the rim of the pit. Replace the lid and the rubber seal. Add more caulk as needed to create a good seal. Replace any holding screws.

Turn the pump on. Go to a sink or toilet and run it a few times to activate the pump. Listen for noises such as increased gurgling that may indicate a deep clog. If the smell becomes strong quickly the clog is still present and may require the work of a professional plumber.