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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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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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We do plan on moving outlet


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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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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It's the sump pump


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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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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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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Old 03-03-2017, 09:29 PM   #8
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Re: Sump pit keeps filling despite no rain


I'm having the same issues. I know this post is very old, however, I am hoping that someone will see this and reply. Just wondering if Dantam8 ever resolved the sump pump issue. I'm having the same issues with my sump pump running every 10 minutes. What is strange about it is I've been living in this house for over 10 years and have never had the sump operate every 10 minutes when there has been no rain or very little rain. This just started a few days ago. I had the county come out to check if there was any leaks, and there wasn't. He Tested the water and stated that it was groundwater. My backyard is becoming a swamp. I am not a DIY person, and was wondering who I could call to get someone to extend my discharge line out further from my townhome. Do you think that would help? Any other suggestions are welcome.
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Old 03-04-2017, 03:55 PM   #9
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Re: Sump pit keeps filling despite no rain


Has there been any recent construction (new home, road, etc.) nearby. If it is indeed groundwater, something has altered it flow and/or level.
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Old 03-04-2017, 10:30 PM   #10
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Re: Sump pit keeps filling despite no rain


I thought the same thing. I saw some utility men working on something on the road adjacent to my row of townhomes. I am not sure if that's what did it. I know something has changed. I just don't know what It is. My neighbors on either side of me say that they are not having any issues. But I do think that the neighbor two doors down has some water issues.
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Old 03-04-2017, 11:34 PM   #11
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Re: Sump pit keeps filling despite no rain


Hint: When you make a change to a ground water drainage system or a sump pump system, let it run a week before judging whether it helped out or improved anything. It takes that long for a new artificial water table to be established.

If you turned off the sump pump and let the water rise in the pit, will the water go out the pipe to the sidewalk without rising high enough to completely submerge any of the side drain pipes?

Incidentally, if the water level rises in the pit and stops before completely submerging any of the side drain pipes then it can be left that way without running the pump provided the far side of the basement does not flood.
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Old 03-17-2017, 11:41 AM   #12
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Re: Sump pit keeps filling despite no rain


I have continuous water in my sump pit basin as well. I wet vacuumed it all out so it was dry. 8 hours later there is about 3 inches of water that has seeped in. I have 2 french drain pipes that run into the basin but the water is not coming from the corrugated pipes. IT IS NOT CITY WATER, I HAD IT TESTED. How can I get this water level lower so that when it rains, my basement does not flood?

Some extra info
-I live in Colorado and it has not rained in over a month! Bone dry!
-I live close to the top of a bluff or hill. My elevation is 5400', the top of the hill is 5474, and the bottom of the street is 5360', this is in about a mile so the slope is significant.
-It is not back flow from discharge line because I took the pump and line out

Thanks for any thoughts on what could be the problem and solution.
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Old 03-17-2017, 12:11 PM   #13
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Re: Sump pit keeps filling despite no rain


Alan is correct! Some small amount of moisture is not bad and can be very common.

There is no problem if there is water in your sump, even if after a storm passes. That means the sump is doing the job it is intended to. It is actually a good sign that the drainage system is collection water and working as intended.

If you are paranoid, you can lower the sump pump switch or even wipe out the pit to remove any trace of moisture.

I have had several homes in different locations and all had some water residue since our humidity does not get to the arid conditions necessary for a desert climate.

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Old 03-17-2017, 01:45 PM   #14
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Re: Sump pit keeps filling despite no rain


You do not mention if this is a new condition or if you are new to the house. If your sump pit has a gravel bottom, the ground water could be coming from below. Three inches over 8 hours doesn't seem like a huge issue and if it stabilizes at that level then that is the natural level of the ground water. No sump pump will suck the pit dry.

Elevation has nothing to do with ground water. I have seen artesian springs on the top of a hill. It is a matter of the contours of porous layers of the subsurface and hydraulic pressure.
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Old 03-17-2017, 02:56 PM   #15
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Re: Sump pit keeps filling despite no rain


Quote:
Originally Posted by lenaitch View Post
You do not mention if this is a new condition or if you are new to the house. If your sump pit has a gravel bottom, the ground water could be coming from below. Three inches over 8 hours doesn't seem like a huge issue and if it stabilizes at that level then that is the natural level of the ground water. No sump pump will suck the pit dry.

Elevation has nothing to do with ground water. I have seen artesian springs on the top of a hill. It is a matter of the contours of porous layers of the subsurface and hydraulic pressure.
Old house built 1960. Is there any way to reduce that level by just a little bit? When we get saturating rain, the ground water level rises and I get water coming up through a hairline crack at the edge of my floor and wall.

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