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Old 04-15-2011, 05:52 AM   #1
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Sump pit keeps filling despite no rain


The sump pit in the basement of the house we bought was connected directly to the sewer line, which we recently discovered was a code violation. We disconnected that pipe, and there are two other existing lines out, one to the backyard and one that outlets by the sidewalk in front.

It hasn't rained for a week, but the pit keeps filling and running every five minutes, almost exactly. It is currently discharging to the back yard and it is swampy near the outlet, but it's about 20 feet from the house and down a slope so I don't think it could be seeping back into the footings.

There are three inlets into the sump pit. Only the inlet leading from the back of the house has water coming in, the other two are bone dry.

It seems to me that somehow the water going out is making its way back in, thus the consistent 5-minute interval.

I should also note that there is a high water table in our neighborhood, but the pump didn't run nearly this often when it was discharging directly to the sewer line.

Any advice at what I should be looking at?

Thanks

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Old 04-15-2011, 07:03 AM   #2
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Sump pit keeps filling despite no rain


Underground formations (air pockets) could result in water finding its way back to the house, but there is no way of finding this out easily.

Can you at least temporarily route the sump pump outlet further away to see what happens?

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Old 04-15-2011, 07:22 AM   #3
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Sump pit keeps filling despite no rain


We are planning on digging a well-type structure filled with rock a little further back in the yard. We're hoping this will mitigate the swampy conditions near the outlet. Maybe it will help with the air pockets you mentioned.
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Old 04-15-2011, 07:22 AM   #4
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Sump pit keeps filling despite no rain


Definitely make sure the line from the sump to the sewer is capped on the sewer side. You say sewer, but do you have septic or sewer? Either way water every five minutes 24/7 will be a headache. The high water table is probably the reason for your pump running so much, but if you are on city (metered) water; turn off your main valve for 20-30 minutes and see if the pump run time slows down. Older water lines have been known to corrode through and a high pressure leak, before the valve, would have to be looked at by the city. Of course if you are on a well you could shut the well off at the panel for the same time and determine whether you have a leak between the well and the house, underground, the same way.
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Old 04-15-2011, 08:34 AM   #5
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Sump pit keeps filling despite no rain


I may have used the wrong terminology. I am talking about the pit that takes in rainwater that accumulates around the footings.

I'll try shutting off the water line this morning. Thanks for the advice.
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Old 04-15-2011, 07:38 PM   #6
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Sump pit keeps filling despite no rain


The pit just inside or just outside the foundation that collects water from around the foundation is often called a sump pump pit.

A "sump" per se is a low point where liquid is collected and pumped out. It could be a sump pump pit for a building or the reservoir under a recirculating fountain or the oil pan of an engine.
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Last edited by AllanJ; 04-15-2011 at 07:46 PM.
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Old 04-16-2011, 09:43 PM   #7
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Sump pit keeps filling despite no rain


maybe you should do a second test just to verify your theory. disconnect the sump pump from the backyard and redirect somewhere else and watch the sump go dry. if that works then maybe just pick a new spot in your backyard and install an efficient dry pit that works better.

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