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Sump pump to footing drains


Jeff Beck
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I'm starting to doubt myself here.

1999 house that's a good 20" above curb height.

Sellers told my client that the house flooded once several years ago and that they would replace what they believed to be an undersized sump pump.

When I inspected the house the sump is plumbed with two 2" PVC pipes to the exterior. The one that's connected to the sump pump drains to what appears to be the footing drains (larger pipe on the left).

When the pump is activated the water is pumped out of the sump and immediately drains back in again.

It's possible that there is some type of underground drain system that is damaged and leaking back into the footings but I can't determine that without digging up the drain. Plus the speed with which the water returns is so fast, that if the drain is damaged it must be really whacked.

Does anyone know of a reason to connect the output of a sump pump to the footing drains? (Besides spending more on electricity, pump replacement and the noise of a sump pump going bad?[:-bigeyes

Sorry that the picture isn't better, the other pic that I took didn't turn out.

Jeff Beck

Foresight Inspection Service LLC

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. . . When I inspected the house the sump is plumbed with two 2" PVC pipes to the exterior.

I don't understand. A sump pump has a single outlet connection. How can it be connected to two pipes?

The one that's connected to the sump pump drains to what appears to be the footing drains (larger pipe on the left).

When the pump is activated the water is pumped out of the sump and immediately drains back in again.

It's possible that there is some type of underground drain system that is damaged and leaking back into the footings but I can't determine that without digging up the drain. Plus the speed with which the water returns is so fast, that if the drain is damaged it must be really whacked.

Does anyone know of a reason to connect the output of a sump pump to the footing drains?

No. There's no good reason to do that. Around here, we plumb the sump pump discharge into the rain drain system. If there isn't one, you could run the discharge pipe underground to the street curb, a dry well, the low side of the lot or even a dozen or so feet out into the yard, terminating in a bubbler.

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I'll bet it's a masceration pump that's being used as a sump pump. One pipe is the vent and the other is the outlet. It sure sounds like you've got a broken receiver drain. Anything that comes off the roof, plus what you pump into it is going to return to the basement. Eventually, you'll undermine the danged drain by removing so much soil around it that it will get worse. Or, it might be that they didn't bother to install a check valve on it and what's left in the line simply washes back into the sump well again. They need to have a drainage guy check the pump to ensure water isn't draining back into it from the line because there is no check valve and install one if necessary (You should have seen it); if there is a check valve, he'll need to dig up the drain to check it and ensure it's not broken below grade and make repairs if necessary.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Sorry Jim, I didn't make myself clear[:-paperba

We sometimes see two pipes in a sump here, one for the main pump and another one for a battery back-up pump in case of a power failure.

This sump pump is only connected to one pipe, the one that appears to go to the footings.

The other pipe is the one that I would have expected the pump to have been connected to. That one should have an extension added to carry the moisture away from the building.

The thing that throws me is that the installation looks pretty professional. If it were a happy homeowner job I would have expected some cobbled up piping.

Mike, It is definitely a sump pump with a mercury float and not a maceration pump.

Thanks for the fast follow-up!

Jeff

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  • 1 year later...

No. There's no good reason to do that. Around here, we plumb the sump pump discharge into the rain drain system. If there isn't one, you could run the discharge pipe underground to the street curb, a dry well, the low side of the lot or even a dozen or so feet out into the yard, terminating in a bubbler.

I just inspected very large drainage system. Six catch basins installed around the house to collect surface water, all downspouts tight lined away from foundation, one sump pump in the basement, one sump pump in the crawl space. The crawl space pump is part of a curtain drain which is six feet deep and runs along foundation wall between the crawl space and the basement. Really nice system except that both sump pumps are discharging into the sanitary drain system. This installation was done three years ago. I know it is wrong but am looking for some more facts to base my position. Do cities require permits for drainage repairs? Does the building code regulate the discharge of storm water into sanitary sewers?

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Officially, yes, and absolutely yes. Cities want to know where the storm runoff is being directed, reason being, they don't want it in their sanitary system.

Sounds like a screwed up drain's that's gotta be dug up. I'm really down on the analytical ability of plumbers around here nowadays; just because the system looks well installed doesn't mean the plumber thought about what he was connecting to.

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Hi Rob,

I don't think there is specific discussion of a sump pump to sanitary sewer but there is discussion of maceration and sewage ejector pumps to the sanitary sewer and I bet the same rules would apply.

I think that those connections need to be made on top of the waste line; not the side.

They are connecting a pressurized system to a non-pressurized system. If memory serves, there are rules about waste line size that relate to the capacity of any pressure pump that's connected to and discharging into it.

They'll be pumping silt into the waste line where it's going to settle and eventually clog it up the same way it clogs up catch basins and downspout receivers. When that happens and the sump pump starts trying to force a lot of water into that system, what do you suppose could happen?

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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