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Fred W. Hargis Jr

Basement lift pump

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The basement in our house has a full bath in it. The basement floor is below the level of the septic tank, so there is a lift pump that pumps the sewage up to the drain to flow into the septic. My first experience with one of these. Anyway, I suspect there is some ground water leaking into the sump for this pump since during a hard rain it will run when there is no use at all in the downstairs bath. then after the rainwater has drained off, it normally doesn't run until I take a shower down there. Question: is this necessarily something I should have looked at? I don't like the idea of pumping a lot of rainwater into the septic, but it doesn't seem to cause a problem....this septic has sand filters, so the water is filtered and drains to the local waterway (I guess, it's all approved by the sanitation engineer).

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Any way to seal the sump?

But, then where would the ground water go? How much water we talking about?

A very expensive solution would be to seal outside perimeter of the basement walls. 

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Maybe some more info: our basement has a sump/sump pump for the footers to drain into, and it works quite well (since I installed a new pump). I have no idea how much water gets into the lift pump, my guess is that it holds maybe 5 gallons before it pumps, and when it's raining hard it will pump every 20-30 minutes. Then slow down in cycle after the rain stops. The basement walls do not need to be sealed, I'm certain this is just ground water seeping into the sump. Not knowing how these things are designed/built I can't imagine they will be 100% watertight to outside water, but I have no idea. If they are supposed to be 100% watertight, I might have someone (would that be a plumber?) check it out.

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4 minutes ago, Fred W. Hargis Jr said:

I might have someone (would that be a plumber?) check it out.

Good idea!

John

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59 minutes ago, lew said:

I would think if ground water could seep in, then "enriched" toilet water might seep out. May not be a good thing.

 Well, maybe...or even probably. But the seepage could be above the level of the sewage that's held in the sump. It probably wouldn't hurt to have it inspected if I can find a "real" plumber. Most of them around me are displaced workers who decided to hang out a shingle.

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Can you tell where the water is entering the sump? Lew has a good point about leaking out. 

My main concern would be if you already have a pump for the perimeter, how/where/why is this water getting to the sewer pump?

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Kinda my question as well, is it possible that the thing was designed to work this way? I would open it up and look, but that is not like looking into a footer sump. It's sealed, and there are 2 pipes coming through the top, one I'm sure is the discharge pipe; the second is a bigger mystery. It's larger (3") and seems to be a drain from something upstairs. To inspect the sump, I would have to loosen the Fernco on each pipe and disconnect them, then unbolt the top and hope it just lifts up.  I can't tell what the larger pipe is for since it runs into the finished part of the basement and the ceiling keeps me from seeing where it goes. Looks to large to be a vent, though I suppose that's possible. But it doesn't make sense to me to have something drain down to that sump only to be pumped back up to the septic line. I know nothing about these type of systems and how they are designed, hence my question.

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Can you contact the previous owner to ask about the 3" pipe? also he might know about the recycling of the sanitary water pump.

My guess on the 3" pipe is it is a vent pipe to vent any sewer gases out of the sump that might build up when the pump in not in operation.

Herb

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That's my thought. The PO passed away (the husband) 3-4 years ago, we bought the place from his wife and she wasn't very knowledgeable on stuff like that. They had the house built, so I'm sure if I could have spoke to him he would have known. I'm thinking a good plumber could probably help me figure this out with a service call.

Edited by Fred W. Hargis Jr

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Does it really matter, Fred? Other than curiosity? If all is working , the additional rain water being pumped into the septic tank is the same as an extended shower or bath, and since there is no trace of water in the basement the sumps and drainage systems seem to be working fine.

Herb

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Can you see what it looks like Fred?  I replaced one with a new unit once.  It was what amounted to a five gallon bucket with a sump ump inside.  If this is what yours looks like I can take some pictures if it and post them here.  It is sitting out in the garage as I thought I might use it in my basement someday.

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1 hour ago, Dadio said:

Does it really matter, Fred? Other than curiosity? If all is working , the additional rain water being pumped into the septic tank is the same as an extended shower or bath, and since there is no trace of water in the basement the sumps and drainage systems seem to be working fine.

Herb

 Not really, it is curiosity on my part. There is nothing that would indicate it's not working correctly at the moment. But I do wonder if that running-while-raining is something that needs attention.

 

1 hour ago, HandyDan said:

Can you see what it looks like Fred?  I replaced one with a new unit once.  It was what amounted to a five gallon bucket with a sump ump inside.  If this is what yours looks like I can take some pictures if it and post them here.  It is sitting out in the garage as I thought I might use it in my basement someday.

Not without more work than I want to do....unless I really have too. there's another aspect to this, besides the work there's my lack of enthusiasm to open anything related to the sewer/septic system of, well, anything.

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It does not sound like there is any other vent coming out of the pump pit.  If that is the case it is a vent.    When you pump the water out air has to enter or suck the traps dry.    Water should not be entering other than the normal way but it shouldn't hurt anything.     Sounds like water build up under floor.   If the water cannot get out someway it will attempt to  lift the floor and crack it.    Roly

 

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Thanks Roly, that makes sense, I hadn't thought about the venting need for replacement air.

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I would pretty sure the 3" is a vent since it is larger than the 2" discharge

Edited by Chips N Dust

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