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Sump pump question - NOT stove related...

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by Gooserider, Apr 2, 2007.

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  1. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Now that the ground is sort of starting to thaw, it is getting to be time to think about other projects...

    Our house has a sump pit and pump that only runs for a while during certain times of the year, typically during the spring thaw and sometimes after one of those multi-day "duck drowning" rains. The pit is totally dry 10 months out of the year, however when it does run, the 1/2hp pump runs about a 15 second cycle every minute or two.

    The problem we have is that some time before we got the home, (we think when it was built) the pump was tied into the house sewer which feeds into the municipal sewer system. We have recently become aware that this is not proper, and would like to fix it, preferably before we get caught... Our town has recently announced that it is going to be cracking down on sump pump tie-ins, and has purchased a bunch of new detection equipment.

    As we are concerned about drawing gov't attention to the basic problem, I can't really ask advice of our local AHJ's or other local sources for advice, however I would like to do something that is reasonably code compliant and all that good stuff. ;-)

    We aren't wanting to spend a lot of money on this, and I would prefer to do it myself. The problem is I'm not quite sure what the best way accomplish the goal. I'm assuming I basically just need to run a pipe out the wall away from the house, but I'm not sure of the details, and as usual, the devil is in the details.

    While the sump normally never runs in the winter, this is MA, and I would rather the line wasn't subject to freezing, and be buried at least enough not to be a trip hazard other than possibly at the discharge point.

    I haven't measured it yet, but I think the ground around the house is mostly flat or slopes only gently away from it. How far do I need to pipe the discharge to ensure that I won't just be 'recirculating' the water? (I think the ground is mostly rock and clay)?

    The foundation walls end about three feet above the ground - This makes me think I have two basic options -
    1. Dig down and run the pipe through the concrete wall (how deep?) and bury the pipe below the frost line (how deep?) except for where it comes up for the discharge, and how do I protect that?

    2. Come through the wall at the sole plate, put a "siphon break" at that point, and run the line just underground, angled so it will drain. (empty pipes can't freeze)

    A question in either case is how to terminate the discharge end so that I don't get any critters crawling back up the pipe, or other clogs. I'd also prefer not to make a mosquito breeding pond... Would it work to have a "dry well pit full of crushed stone or the like that the discharge pipe ended in? I don't really care if the pit overflows during heavy pump sessions, but I figure that a gravel bed woud keep any critters out, not be a mosquito breeder, and not be a trip hazard otherwise.

    In terms of materials, is 1.5" PVC the right material? If not, what is?

    What other sorts of issues do I need to figure out?

    I'd appreciate any suggestions, and / or pointers to other materials on how best to do this, especially code references...

    Gooserider

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  2. keyman512us

    keyman512us Member

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    Goose...
    ...Sounds like you need to call the experts at A&G Services...For "Residential Dewatering Solutions"..."Consult, Design,Build"...lol Err Umm that's me...lol (I'm being jokey/jokey cause I know we aren't suppose to advertise without paying...only problem is I don't know Web's thoughts of this type of service being advertised on his stove forum).

    After "Having said the above Disclaimer"...Some of the answers might be found in some of my posts....refer to some usefull/relevant info from my posts under "rainwater barrels":

    Posts #'s 8,12,13 & 15...would be relevant Goose:
    http://www.hearth.com/econtent/index.php/forums/viewthread/6891/

    Attached Files:

  3. jjbaer

    jjbaer New Member

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    I used what ever size PVC comes out of the sump pump threads. Mine goes upward into a 1-way check valve (when the sump pump shuts off, there's a "head" of water in the pipe that tries to come back down into the sump.....the check valve stops this), then goes up to the basement ceiling and out the side of the house in a hole through the rim joist. from there it goes about 2 inches into the ground and empties in a nearby garden about 15 feet away at a lower elevation. Not even freezing weather freezes the water in this pipe because the sump is only pumping about a few seconds each minute and the water isn't in the pipe long enough to freeze.

    Also, you need to plug your outlet to the sewer in case the sewer ever backs up......
  4. keyman512us

    keyman512us Member

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    Goose:
    I would strongly advise not to do the above. Go with "Your option #2". Reason being first off it is easier to "punch out of the house" through wood versus concrete....and secondly...punching the foundation below ground is an invitation for more water to get in (especially if you know you have water issues). I'm really not going to speculate much further...without more info on your specific situation. Here in MA...usually when the sump pump is discharging into the sanitary sewer line (a problem I see/deal with all the time and is more commonplace than you think)...there is a reason behind it...and not just because it was the quickest easiest way to get the water out of the house. If you know your neighbors fairly well...ask how many of them have sump pumps. As far as "code issues"...for the most part, there are none...(I feel the 'Wrath' of Elk coming on now)lol. I would pipe it straight up from the pump to a check valve. You could use either 1 1/4" or 1 1/2" (both common sizes for sump pumps) The check valve should be of the type with a "rubber boot & hose clamps" (mission coupling style)...it makes for a "union" to easily remove the sump pump for maintenace/replacement. Drill through the rim joist to get outside the house. Place a 90 degree elbow pointing towards the ground with the apropriate length of pipe. "The runoff line" I would recommend 4" Corrugated pipe-SOLID...not Perforated. They sell it at HD for about $38.00 per 100 foot roll. Pitch it at least 1/4" per 10 feet of pipe run (standard industry practice) towards a downhill location...the farther away from the house the better. Get a cap for the end by the house, cut a hole into it big enough for the size pipe coming down from the house pipe. At the other end put a "pop top" discharge cap if you are worried about critters. Try it out...you can always dig a "dry well" later if need be.

    The "one name to know" in drainage/dewatering:
    http://www.ads-pipe.com/en/index.asp

    http://www.hancor.com/pdf/draintech_pdf/Emitters.pdf

    http://www.ndspro.com

    http://www.ndspro.com/downloads/POED_QuickReview.pdf

    http://www.ndspro.com/products/Info.aspx?tab=Overview&cat=13&class=Drainage
  5. restorer

    restorer New Member

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    Man you folks back East have it easy. Living in a desert we find water run off to be a real issue. Before any kind of water removal we need a "perc" test. How much and at what rate will water be absorbed. That sets the solution. If you can't drain at the appropriate rate you need to install a dry well and if necessary laterals. Be kind to your neighbors and avoid the future costs of remediation and hire the pros. Get the engineers/hydrologists plan. Do the install yourself, but have the proof for the community that you did the right thing.

    There is no cheap way. I own a very small piece of land. I have a dry well, because I am lower than the storm drains. It is twenty by twenty two feet, stone and coarse gravel. Handles my run off, and could handle my neighbors, but it was better than $15,000 to hook into the storm drain system and pay an extra $800.00 per year. It ain't cheap, but it is the responsible thing to do
  6. keyman512us

    keyman512us Member

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  7. jims145

    jims145 New Member

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    Gooserider:

    Aside from the municipal sewer portion of your posting, it sounds like I just lived through your situaiton. We bought a house in May 2006 which had a sump pump system and were told by the former owners about the 'heavy snow melt' and 'heavy rain' situations which caused water in the pit. The first few months of living there, we had 14" of rain! So we found this to be very true, only they had a pump with a 1 1/2" discharge reduced down to a 1" water hose above ground. It went up about 9 feet to a "through-the-house" setup which was actually a modified dryer vent system. Being above ground, this bothered the neighbor becasue of the direction of the hose (not expecting that the water would travel that far), so we decided to improve.

    We chose to break through the foundation and had a trench dug ending down-slope about 100' away and I installed 1 1/2" polyethylene coil pipe. I don't have as much lift now to get the water out of the basement (only about 4 feet) and the newly installed pipe ends at a drainage ditch where my curtain/foundation drain already exists. Directly off the pump, I have 1 1/2" PVC pipe, including the 1-way check valve, 1 90 degree elbow and an adapter to transition from the PVC to the coil pipe.

    The ditch begins at the house 3 feet below the surface and continues down-slope, which gets increasingly closer to the surface to end at this drainage ditch. Don't expect that because it's buried that it won't freeze. Mine did!

    This spring, with the snow melt and thaw, our pit began to fill until the pump ran. There wasn't any water moving out though and I found the pipe was frozen a couple of feet in from the drainage ditch. I had to run a garden hose, hooked up to my washer's hot water line, all the way to the end of the run and insert it in to the pipe to melt the ice. I could only go so far because of the length of the hose and then had to work down from inside the basement, running the garden hose down inside the 1 1/2" line. This was not fun becasue due to the water not flowing out of the pipe, it backed up toward me in the basement. Fortunately most of the backflow dumped into the pit, but there was definitely a wet area in the basement from having to do this. I found that there were some frozen spots nearer to the house where the pipe was buried the deepest, so I'm not sure why it froze up there. I will be calling the installer for a "checkup" this spring.

    I can only hope that next winter I won't have to go through what I did. Especially when the pit is filling up!

    Good luck....
  8. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Thanks for all the good info,

    Thought I would share a bit more info...

    Guesstimating I would say the basement is between 4 and 5 feet into the ground.

    The house has an inground pool directly behind it, and the one time I pumped it down to fix a leaky drain pop valve, it would refill back to about the "step" between the deep and shallow ends, so It looks like the "normal" water table is between 5 and 6 feet down, and comes up just deep enough to fill the sump when we have the spring thaw or heavy rains.

    I've been reading the referenced posts, very informative, and have already helped a bit. I have been thinking about saving rain and or sump water off and on, both to top off the pool, and for watering plants... The town is getting nastier about outside water use, so anything might help, though I'm not sure how much the pool would benefit - takes an hour or so with a garden hose to bring the water level up a couple inches, which seems like a lot of water...

    It is going to be a bear getting out of the house both on the inside and the outside. Because of the way the house is laid out there is basically only one place (I think) were I can reasonably come out with the sump outlet. To get to it from the closet where the sump pit is at, I'm going to have to go around a soil pipe, through the closet wall into the finished basement, then up and out the sole plate. Where the outlet will come out is under a porch, with a limited crawl space under it. I will then have to dodge the bulkhead, and cross where the gas line runs, no matter where I go with the drain pipe... However those problems can be dealt with.

    Gooserider
  9. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    One of the things I've thought of is that if I can do this before the town knows about the strange hookup is that I might leave it but put a "Y" in with a shutoff valve so that in case of emergency I could still dump to the sewer until I got the problem fixed...

    I have had to do "while the pit is filling" repairs once, when the (then) single pump quit and I had to do a rapid replacement - one reason we now have two pumps, with the water alarm set so that if the first pump quits, I will get alarms before the second pump cycles...

    Gooserider
  10. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Well had some more fun and games today - NOT! Thought I'd go out and get a rough feel for how the land ran with some roughly measured numbers, as opposed to just eyballing it.

    I confirmed that the ground does indeed slope away from the house. I picked an arbitrary reference point on the wall at the corner of the house. From where I'm going to be coming out with the pump line to the corner of the house is about 23 feet, and I pretty much think I want to run parallel to that wall to get to where I can discharge most painlessly.

    I did crude measurements with a string, line level, and a tape measure, and brought my reference points out away from the corner in 10' increments to 30', and back to where I'd be coming out of the wall.

    At the point where I'd come out of the wall, it is 56" to the ground, 59" at the corner of the house, 66" at 10' 69" at 20', and 75" at 30' or about 1/2" per foot. I didn't go any further because that was the length of my tape, but the ground appears to continue either flat or at about the same slope for a good distance further.

    Of course the day wouldn't be fun without some excitement. The corner of the house is where the gas meter is, and standing next to it, I thought I caught a wiff of gas odor if I stood in just the right place... I decided to be paranoid, so I went in and called the gas co. They sent someone out very promptly, and found that I wasn't imagining anything, I did have a very small leak in one of the pipes (at least it was on their side of the meter) but the gas guy said it was not hazardous, and they would send a crew out when they got a spare moment to fix it, but not a "rush job"... I'm not sure whether to be glad or not!

    Gooserider
  11. reaperman

    reaperman Member

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    The city isn't getting any fancy detection equiptment. There is no way for them to detect this. They would have to put a flow meter on sewer outlet pipe and match it up with the water meter to see if the gallons come out the same. On each house! Many sanitary sewers in most cities take on thousands of gallons of ground water per day that simply leak into older sewer mains, primarily thorough outdated clay pipe. But without a visual inspection, by the city, there is no way to detect this. It may just be a scare tactic, or a rumor. I'd wait for an official announcement before I did anything.
  12. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Last years budget included the purchase of a video pipe inspection system, specifically described by our DPW director as an Inflow and Infiltration detection system, said that they can do monitoring for the content of the pipes and detect which ones are putting in untreated water, at least down to the neighborhood level, then start checking houses.

    I also know that the DPW director has specifically asked the By-law review committee to add a new By-law that provides for mega$ fines and very short time windows to fix any improper connections - He apparently thinks he can find the connections if he's after a law to bite the ones he finds...

    Granted I think the odds are lower for us getting caut than for some, since we only have to pump a month or two out of each year, and that at a time when everyone is pumping but still, we can't afford to take the chance. Aside from the fine, if caught, we'd have to hire an overpriced contractor to do the job on a ru$h basis, rather than taking care of it on my own time and schedule....

    Gooserider
  13. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    Goose where is the closest storm water drain Most towns will allow connection providing you install a one way valve so if the system backs up the valve prevents it from backing up into your house.. Not mentioned here is establishing water table dept and also soils types How good are their soil absorption characteristics.. It really sounds like you have a high water table and porrr drainage soils. adding water outside just recycles it back inside. You need to get rid of it If you water table is high then dry wells and pits will be for limited usage. useless foe soakers

    Before you spend a lot of money you should know soil condition and your water table levels.
  14. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    I am a public works type guy. There is no equipment that can detect sump pump hookups. Less than half of one percent of all sewage is solids meaning that emptying the entire sump pit is only going to add a small incremental dilution. The cameras that the sewer utility runs up the main line can't make the corner to head up your side sewer, the cameras can look up the side sewer but that's it. Maybe they would sit there with the camera and wait for your pump to turn on and then try and guess whether the amount and clarity of the effluent was a wash machine, bath tub, or toilet. If for some reason they suspect that you are illegaly hooked up to the sewer then only an interior inspection will prove it.

    The PW guy would be better serve his utility to pump smoke into the mains and look for smoking gutters. We do that here and always catch people dumping gutter water into the sewer. In the old days dilution was the solution to the pollution and adding clean water was a good thing. Not so anymore since the sewer treatment plants have a limited volume capacity including illicit connections.

    If they were really worried about sump pumps then they would start checking door to door. Make sure your sump pump connection to the sewer is tight to prevent leaking smoke, backed up sewer, or typical sewer gasses into your home. I would tend to leave it be in your situation.

    I installed a sump pump this year and discharged it to the surface at an elevation lower than the pump about 50 feet away from the house. That water won't come uphill to the crawlspace.
  15. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    No storm drains anywhere close, so that option isn't available. I did a crude layout in the direction I'm most likely to go, which I discussed a couple posts back. Won't go over it again, but in short it looks like the water table is normally 2-3 feet lower than the basement floor. Our old sump pit had an open bottom, and was bone dry about 9-10 months out of the year. When a real heavy rainstorm or the spring thaws hit, the water table comes up to a few inches higher than the floor. The basement is sunk about 4-5' into the ground, maybe a little less.

    The ground appears to slope slightly away from the house, ~1/2" / foot for the first thirty feet..

    As to soil type, I'm not sure, but when I backwash our swimming pool on the other side of the house, I get a 3-4" deep puddle which is gone within an hour or two, and the ground never seems to show significant puddles anywhere, so I'm guessing that the drainage isn't to horrible.


    Hmmm... Perhaps I'll challenge the DPW guy at the next Town Meeting and ask him to specifically identify the technology he wants to use to detect the illegal hookups, and how it works!

    Well our DPW guy says that the normal expectation is that the sewer plant should see about 65% of the volume put out by the water treatment plant, but he gets 80-90% after rains, and the pattern in the numbers makes him think most of the extra is coming from illegal sump pumps, and that he is having capacity problems at the treatment plant because of this. He is going to be asking for some significant money at the spring Town Meeting to work on I&I stuff.

    The connections are tight, all PVC except for the rubber one-way valves between the pump and the connection. Of course a fair bit of the time the pit is empty, so I don't have much of a trap, but the valves should stop almost everything anyway. (I hope)

    Well I can't get below the basement level, our land doesn't have that much slope; but I can certainly pump it a good ways away from the house, and to a lower surface than where the house is, hopefully that would be enough to make it keep going the other way...

    What I'm starting to think in terms of is to come out of the house with 1.5" PVC, and go into a 4" length of non-perforated that will take me to 20 or 30 feet away from the house, then keep going with another 20 or 30 feet of perforated pipe in a gravel filled trench, all buried 6-12" and with some sort of overflow outlet at the end... That should be doable without a tremendous amount of work or expense - some pipe, a few yards of stone, and maybe a days rental on a trencher or equivalent...

    Gooserider
  16. Jay H

    Jay H New Member

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    I know I'm late to the party here, but thought I'd chime in anyway. I have a sump well and it has a sump with a 1 1/4" NPT threading threaded to an adaptor running into a check valve and then 1 1/2" PVC up about 20" and then a 90deg angle and then a rubber coupling. In addition to allowing you to remove the PVC and sump, it also isolates any motor vibrations from the sump to the foundation. Then after my coupling, I have a long length of 1 1/2" PVC through my foundation but above ground. It runs underneath my deck so it's not too unsightly and then drains into a very informal drywell with a cheap cover on it. It's not pretty but it works.

    I am going to be designing a backup to my sump but I'm running that out the door and not through the foundation..

    Jay
  17. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    "Well our DPW guy says that the normal expectation is that the sewer plant should see about 65% of the volume put out by the water treatment plant, but he gets 80-90% after rains, and the pattern in the numbers makes him think most of the extra is coming from illegal sump pumps, and that he is having capacity problems at the treatment plant because of this. He is going to be asking for some significant money at the spring Town Meeting to work on I&I stuff. "

    The DPW guy is being silly to compare the water plant output to the sewer plant input. You see, folks don't wash their cars or irrigate when it rains so the two flow rates will be more similar during a rainstorm even before the expected I&I associated with the rainstorm. He would be wiser to compare daily sewage flows to average historical sewage flows adding a factor for population growth. We have I&I problems too and it is usually the result of high ground water and leaky connections either between mainline pipe sections, at the conenction between the mainline and the manhole, between the sections of manhole riser, or even low lying manhole lids. We always get higher flows when a storm blows through.

    Getting money for I&I investigation and repair is smart and typical. Blaming I&I problems on sump pumps is a little on the odd side. His camera can slide up the sewer main and find water pouring in through joints. The groundwater infiltration is easy to spot due to the dissolved minerals staining the pipe in the area. We have lots of iron so our leaks are orange.
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