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Old 05-20-2009, 10:32 PM   #1
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Sump Drainage Problem

I have a sump pump in my basement that drains out into a dry well. Drainage during heavy seasonal rains has become an increasing problem over the last few years. There have been 3 occasions over the past 2 years where the water has backed up out of my pit into the basement but the sump pump itself has not failed. I believe that my dry well becomes over saturated and is preventing the pump from evacuating the water fast enough.

Although I can route the water out into the lawn, I would prefer to continue to use the dry well. It works 99% of the time and my washer drains into the pit. My fear is that draining into the front yard will be unsightly.

Is there any way to install an overflow valve on the pipe outside so it only drains into the yard if the dry well is full? Should I be looking at installing a new dry well? Any ideas or advice would be appreciated.


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Old 05-21-2009, 03:30 AM   #2
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I am guessing your dry well should NOT be accepting washer water. And yes put an overflow line on that keeps it at a reasonable level and drains to somewhere acceptable, like the curb and gutter system designed for storm water. Are you sure your pump can keep up with PEAK demand?? Do you have room for an overflow pump,backup in case something doesnt work on the first??

do the right thing and plumb the washer to a sewer line. Soap alone can diminish dry well capacity over time


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Old 05-21-2009, 03:10 PM   #3
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I don't have sewer in my neighborhood. I also don't have a standard curb or gutter. I have a septic system so the washer is routed to the drain basin in the basement which drains into the sump pit.

I am fairly sure my sump pump itself keeps up with peak demand. I am planning on installing a battery backup but if the dry well can not drain then the backup wont help.
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Old 05-21-2009, 04:36 PM   #4
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I don't know where you are located, but in MA where I live it is illegal to connect greywater (washing machine) to a drywell, it needs to go to the septic system. There are many reasons for this, not the least is that if you have a potable water well, you may be contaminating it with washing machine water that is flowing from your drywell into the ground, then into your well. Bad news.

It is certainly possible that the drywell has been plugged by washing machine water, which can contain soap, hair, fabric, dirt etc., none of which should be entering a drywell. You can dig another drywell further from your house, then connect the pump to that. Ideally you would like the drywell as far as possible from the foundation, this would minimize the probability of water flowing back into your basement (the short circuiting problem).
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Old 05-21-2009, 06:11 PM   #5
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I can't believe some people drain their washing machines into drywells, wait, that was me. Shoulda, woulda, coulda,, sometimes we get into some problem areas, its easy if it isn't you in that spot. Of course its not the correct thing to do maybe but it happens. Any way, on to your question, I'm a little surpriesed your sump pump keeps up with your washing machine, that is alot of water at one time, must have a good size pit to do that. I'd watch while the machine is emptying to see that the pump is keeping up. Maybe a small load, wouldn't seem so if its a large load, of course if you have a front loader, all bets are off.
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