What are trash pumps?

Trash pumps are designed to pump dirty liquids that contain various solids such as foliage, mud, sand, twigs, pebbles, paper, sewage and other contaminants. Unlike standard pumps, trash pumps can withstand pumping solids through its chamber as they have an open impeller with large clearances between the vanes. Depending on the type of trash pump you’re using, will determine the amount and size of the solids that the trash pump is able to handle..

Pumps Australia trash pumps can handle solids ranging from 20mm to 35mm spheres (RX & WB series) and our heavy duty range (GRT series) can handle the size of cricket balls. Our trash pumps are able to be driven by petrol or diesel engines or electric or hydraulic motors. Trash pumps are very useful for a wide range of jobs, continue reading further to discover more about trash pumps and their functions.

How does a trash pump work?

Trash pumps differ from standard pumps as they are able to handle and transport solids. Size of the solids will depend on the type of trash pump you’re using. Compared with standard pumps, trash pumps have larger impeller veins and pump channels, which enable the transportation of debris without damage. Most have an inspection plate to allow for easy removal of blocked debris. 

The way in which the water is moved by the pump is via the impeller.  The eye of the impeller causes a low pressure point which causes atmospheric pressure to push down on top of the water and causes water motion into the pump chamber.  When the trash pump impeller grabs the water, the pump can produce it’s designed flow and pressure.

All pumps need to have water in their casing before starting, never start or run a pump dry without water. Most trash pumps are self-priming so they are able to re-prime if suction is lost.  However, they still need water in the pump, this water recirculates which evacuates the air from the suction line and allows water into the pump chamber.

Although trash pumps such as centrifugal trash pumps are designed to pump water with solids, be wary of how many solids (and what kind of solids) are passing through. Generally, centrifugal pumps can handle 10 – 25% solids to water. If the water contains more than 25% you will need to invest in the larger diaphragm trash pump. Talk to our team about what kind of job you’re doing before choosing a trash pump. 

RX50 Pumping

When to use a trash pump

Trash pumps are versatile pumps that hold an important place in a variety of industries. If you’re looking for a trash pump, there’s a great chance you’re from one of the sectors below.


If you work within mining, quarrying or hire and civil construction industries you will understand the importance of high quality and heavy duty trash pumps. Standard pumps are not designed to cope with pumping solids.  Selection of the right pump for the right application is critical for long term pumping. So, ensure you speak to one of our pump specialists  at Pumps Australia to ensure you get the right advice.


Trash pumps are heavily used by the agricultural sector.  Farmers in particular have to combat many scenarios such as droughts, floods, fires and chemical use in their day to day operations, trash pumps play a significant role in assisting the farmer with these scenarios. Additionally, pumps can be attached to vehicles such as tractors, using the power of the vehicle to optimise the performance of the trash pump.

SHP80 Trash 3

Types of trash pumps 

There are three different types of trash pumps most of which are self priming, these are as follows:

1. Semi-trash Pumps

As the name suggests, this trash pump is half trash pump and half standard pump. Suitable for jobs where the water will be slightly dense with no solids e.g. mud. There could be issues if stones or larger solids pass through the pump. Make sure you evaluate the job before choosing a semi-trash pump. 

2. Centrifugal Pumps

These small trash pumps are one of the most popular trash pumps on the market. Centrifugal pumps are portable, durable and can come in small and large sizes. Larger centrifugal pumps can handle solids up to approximately 100mm

3. Diaphragm pumps

These are the largest trash pumps on the market and are recommended for jobs which require the passing of various debris. 

4. Vacuum Assisted Trash Pumps 

Used in mine site dewatering and constructed with high quality materials.  These pumps are used due to the depth and distance they are capable of pumping from.  They are quick to reprime as they use an assisted vacuum system incorporated into the diesel pump set. Pumps Australia recommend diaphragm assist as they are more reliable and the pump construction is from hard iron stainless steel and hardened impeller made from high grade stainless steel (CD4Mu) which can withstand months of abrasive abuse.

Trash pump selection 

When choosing a trash pump, keep in mind the job you need the pump for, the size of the pump that’s required, whether you need it portable and what type of pump will suit your needs the best.

If you’re unsure where to start, contact our team at Pumps Australia. Our experienced and knowledgeable Perth-based team are experts in pump equipment. Call us today with your pump questions.

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