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Old 12-15-2008, 04:11 PM   #1
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Sump/perimeter drain issues


I have a newer house (two years old) that has two 4" perimeter drains feeding into a sump pit in the basment. Both drains pour water constantly into the sump pit - 365 days a year. My sump pump was running every two minutes 24 hours a day and I've burned through two high quality sump pumps in two years. After threatening legal action, the builder had a local plumber come over to look at the situation and he said the water table was just too high in the area and there was nothing that could be done. He did raise the pump above the perimeter drains so that the drains have to backfill entirely before they raise up to the pump level. Now the pump runs every 30 minutes to an hour for four minutes at a time. even after two weeks of no appreciable precipitation, the drains continue to feed water at this rate. I don't know what is going on and am at a loss as to what to do. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

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Old 12-15-2008, 04:43 PM   #2
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Sump/perimeter drain issues


Does the pump outlet send the water far enough away and to a lower elevation so the same water is not coming back into your drainage system?

There is no solution other than reducing the quantity of water arriving or pumping it out faster than it arrives.

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Last edited by AllanJ; 12-15-2008 at 04:46 PM.
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Old 12-15-2008, 04:45 PM   #3
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Sump/perimeter drain issues


It was draining into a swale about 40 behind the house but we have since piped it directly into my interior sewer line. After three weeks of that set-up, still no reduction flow.
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Old 12-15-2008, 04:47 PM   #4
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Sump/perimeter drain issues


And since we piped it into the interior sewer line, I now get some kind of water hammer effect every time the pump shuts off and it sounds like a small explosion in the basement.
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Old 12-15-2008, 06:49 PM   #5
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Sump/perimeter drain issues


Maybe you are sitting on top of an artesian spring! Maybe you can supply water to you neighbors and make a buck!
Water veins can be detected from the surface by various means. If you found out where the water source is coming from, you could dig a well, there and use the water to advantage, while keeping it away from your foundation!

"An artesian well allows water to rise to the surface that has traveled through porous rock from a higher elevation. This pumpless well seems to defy gravity because the pressure that builds up between layers of rock gets relieved when the water finds a path to the open air. For nearly a thousand years, people have drilled wells to drink such cold, filtered water that doesn't need to be hauled up from the depths.
An aquifer provides the water source for an artesian well. An aquifer is the layer of permeable rock, like limestone or sandstone, that absorbs water from an inlet path at high elevation such as the top of a mountain. The water source might be fed by snowmelt or precipitation. Porous stone is sandwiched between a top and bottom layer of an impermeable substance like clay soil or shale rock. This keeps the water pressure high, so that when you get to a point below the entryway of the flow, there is enough pressure to bring the water up. Natural springs form in the same way when a gap in the impermeable rock, maybe triggered by an earthquake, allows the water to rise to the surface."
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Old 12-16-2008, 08:07 AM   #6
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Sump/perimeter drain issues


Thanks Wildie. I hadn't thought of something like that. I have a relatively small piece of land in a residential area and I'm on city water/sewer. I figured if I was going to do any serious digging, I would re-route the perimeter drains away from the house (maybe tap the sewer line at the street - if that's even legal).

I was hoping maybe there might be an easier solution than major digging but maybe there isn't.
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Old 12-16-2008, 09:11 AM   #7
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Sump/perimeter drain issues


Is the swale or any part of your property surface lower than your perimeter drain? If not, then running the perimeter drain lines outside is the same thing as installing a sump pump pit outside.

A gravity draining line to the outside and away from the house is better than any sump pump system.

Last edited by AllanJ; 12-16-2008 at 09:14 AM.
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Old 12-16-2008, 09:42 AM   #8
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Sump/perimeter drain issues


My perimeter drains are about six feet below grade (just below the basement slab). The swale is approx. 4 feet below the grade of my property. The sump was pumping the water up about four feet to drain it in the swale. I like the idea of a gravity drain system, but I'm not sure how I would accomplish that.
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Old 12-16-2008, 11:47 AM   #9
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Sump/perimeter drain issues


Does your basement actually flood if the pump is out or does the water level equilibrate below the level of the basement floor when the pump is off?

It sounds like your plumber has done a good job in optimizing your set up. Most Municipalities don't allow pumping sump water into the sanitary sewer but I can see why your plumber did it. It sounds like your discharge swale is above the level of your sump so he was trying to eliminate the possibility of "recycling".

Your best bet now may be to install an emergency back up pump.
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Old 12-16-2008, 11:54 AM   #10
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Sump/perimeter drain issues


Thanks jogr. A backup pump may be our only option. Yes, the basement does flood if the pump doesn't work. Last time the pump failed, I had five inches of water in my basement within five hours (basement is 28' x 44'). I had code enforcement out to my house to take a look and they said the builder should have kept the foundation higher, given the water table, but that he technically did not violate code so there is no legal recourse.

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