Dirty Water Pumps

What to Look For in a Dirty Water Pump

When moving water containing debris, mud and sand, choosing the right dirty water pump is critical. Here, we explain how to get it right.

A water pump is perfect if you need to pump just water. But when you mix in debris, mud, sand and other solids, you risk clogging up and damaging your water pump beyond repair.

Enter the dirty water pump. Also known as a trash pump, a dirty water pump is designed to move water that contains solids. So when you need to move sand, sludge, muck and debris, a dirty water pump is the solution.

Here’s what to look for in a dirty water pump:
Dirty Water Pump

YOU NEED TO PUMP: Clear, slightly muddy or sandy water

CHOOSE: Semi-Trash Pump

Semi-trash pumps can move small debris and items no bigger than about 5/8 of an inch. Think sandy and slightly muddy water, rather than water with leaves and pebbles. The pump housing cannot cope with larger items, so we recommend you use a strainer to avoid clogging the hose.

YOU NEED TO PUMP: Water with leaves, pebbles and twigs.

CHOOSE: Trash Pump

Trash pumps are designed with larger impeller veins and pump housing to move leaves, pebbles and twigs with ease. No grinding or pumping – the dirty water pump simply transfers the water (and debris) from one place to another. It’s still recommended to use a hose and strainer though, so you can easily open up and remove larger items from the pump. The debris should be less than 30mm in diammeter.

Dirty Water Pump
This Honda powered Trash pump has a large horsepower engine and a very high flow rate to move dirty water.
YOU NEED TO PUMP: Sludge and very abrasive liquids

CHOOSE: Diaphragm Pumps

If you’re moving sludge or draining a pond, diaphragm pumps have got it covered. Unlike traditional dirty water pumps that use centrifugal force, a diaphragm pump created a vacuum effect that sucks in and ejects the water. Because of this, it can handle water, mud, leaves, twigs and more.

dirty water pump
This hard working and reliable pump is powered by a 6.0hp Subaru engine and is used for septics, wet sandy substances, effluent pits, etc.


Yes. You can also consider a Submersible Pump for moving dirty water. A submersible pump is a pump that can be fully submerged in water. The major advantage to a submersible pump is that it never has to be primed, because it is already submerged in the fluid. The are commonly used for industrial/construction site trash pump applications as they allow debris (up to 25mm) to pass through.

dirty water pump
Here is a Crommelins 6hp Drive Unit with 2″ Crommelins Cast Iron Submersible Flexible Drive Pump and 20 metre 2″ layflat hosing with camlock both ends


While the task at hand will determine the type of dirty water pump you need, always choose a dirty water pump with a quality design, proven reliability and a manufacturers’ guarantee. Don’t opt for a cheap, low quality pump without national service agent support.

Need help choosing the right dirty water pump? Speak to our experts on 1300 400 122 or you can chat with us live at  Mygenerator.com.au

DISCLAIMER* Please note, this advice is general in nature and we strongly recommend consulting the product manual and where relevant, a professional installer.

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