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Old 04-17-2018, 11:19 AM   #1
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Underground water getting into my sump pit


I have a 25 year old house, The pipe is around the base of the house for drainage but it isn't connected to a storm drain, rather it empties into a sump pump ( under the house just at the front door). This is also the location for the Sewer backflow preventer and the city water entrance. I flooded a few year back and they dug up my pit and it was left opened for a few months. At this time I noticed after a rain, there was a steady stream of water coming in which would last 2-4 days when it would slowly stop. Outside the house, I have a aspaht walk way and there was a noticeable dip developed over the years. The lawn also seemed to have a small dip and all this lines up from the sump pit going towards the road roughtly in line with the city water pipe. The dip doesn't go all the way to the street, maybe clears 10-15 feet before it.

My question is it appears water has found a steady way into my pit, either along the City water pipe or close to it. Is there a way I can get this stopped, can a contractor dig up the lawn and either divert it or find a way to block it? There are no storm drain or ditches.
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Old 04-17-2018, 11:32 AM   #2
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Re: Underground water getting into my sump pit


Where is the water coming from? Water main leak feeding the house?
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Old 04-17-2018, 11:42 AM   #3
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It comes under ground maybe three feet below the grade. Would be maybe 1 foot above the sewer line. About the same level of the drain tile. The attached picture circled in red would show the dip
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Old 04-17-2018, 11:44 AM   #4
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It seems to follow the same line as the sewer pipe and city water
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Old 04-17-2018, 11:51 AM   #5
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Re: Underground water getting into my sump pit


When back filling under ground lines like sewer pipes it is normal to use sand to protect the pipe from rocks in the back fill material.
We would expect any water getting in there would follow the down slope away from the house but in a rain storm it is not hard to believe what ever water that can be handled can be filled up quickly and back up toward houses.
Not sure how you would prove that to be the case. We do expect the sump to collect water that would normally just sit outside the foundation.
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Old 04-17-2018, 12:39 PM   #6
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Re: Underground water getting into my sump pit


Your issue is far more common than most home owners realize. If you removed all of the soft permeable soil around your neighborhood and too a look at the underground drainage (where the water goes after it soaks in) you would see the explanation for your problem. The good part is that your sump pit is picking up the problem before it fills your basement. The bad part is the solution you seek.

Is your neighborhood generally flat?
Is there a decent slope on your property where you can direct both surface and sub-surface water?

Last, what is the soil like down there? To answer this one you need to contact a soil professional. When I go for a septic permit the company I call does some digging, a lot of research, and tells me if the property can support a leach field. I was shocked to see what is available for research material. I don't know what is available to you but basically the entire U.S. has been mapped identifying the typical soils.

Another source of info might come from any local well drillers. They certainly know where the soil stops and the ledge begins.

Your local city engineer may also be able to help.

If soils will accept the extra water then a drain pit might be able to solve your issue.

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Old 04-17-2018, 01:30 PM   #7
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My soil is genrally clay which does drain or is very poor at it. It's good the pump catches it but I get alot of water and the dips in the yard concern me. My thinking is it would be best to try to reduce the water coming towards the house and if there was a way to stop this water. I could see it come into the sump pump pit and after a heavy rain, there would be a steady flow of water for 3 or 4 days then slowly die off.
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Old 04-17-2018, 03:11 PM   #8
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Re: Underground water getting into my sump pit


Barring a leak in a water line, I would suggest that your sump pump is doing exactly what it is supposed to. The foundation of your house is essentially a big hole in the ground and any ground water will want to migrate along a path of lower resistance. All but the heaviest clays are porous to a greater or lesser degree.

The excavating a few years ago that you mentioned has likely loosened the soil in comparison to undisturbed soil making it more porous and, as Neal mentioned, the use of sand or gravel will increase porosity. It may solve itself over time as the soil compacts. Are the 'dips' in the lawn something new? Have you tested the sump and observed to see if it is discharging at the street? If not, the line may be broken and the discharge is finding its way back to the pit.

Unless it is the symptom of a leak or failure, consider yourself lucky. I know several people who's pumps cycle every 10 minutes or so year 'round.
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Old 04-17-2018, 04:44 PM   #9
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Re: Underground water getting into my sump pit


Quote:
My thinking is it would be best to try to reduce the water coming towards the house and if there was a way to stop this water.
Ayuh,.... Does the bottom of the dip, still pitch Away from the house,..??

If Not,.... Fill in the dip, so the grades Do pitch away from the house,.....
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Old 04-17-2018, 04:52 PM   #10
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Re: Underground water getting into my sump pit


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Originally Posted by Bondo View Post
Ayuh,.... Does the bottom of the dip, still pitch Away from the house,..??

If Not,.... Fill in the dip, so the grades Do pitch away from the house,.....
It goes away from the house
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Old 04-17-2018, 05:17 PM   #11
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Re: Underground water getting into my sump pit


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Originally Posted by lenaitch View Post
Barring a leak in a water line, I would suggest that your sump pump is doing exactly what it is supposed to. The foundation of your house is essentially a big hole in the ground and any ground water will want to migrate along a path of lower resistance. All but the heaviest clays are porous to a greater or lesser degree.

The excavating a few years ago that you mentioned has likely loosened the soil in comparison to undisturbed soil making it more porous and, as Neal mentioned, the use of sand or gravel will increase porosity. It may solve itself over time as the soil compacts. Are the 'dips' in the lawn something new? Have you tested the sump and observed to see if it is discharging at the street? If not, the line may be broken and the discharge is finding its way back to the pit.

Unless it is the symptom of a leak or failure, consider yourself lucky. I know several people who's pumps cycle every 10 minutes or so year 'round.
Water line is okay. The dips in the lawn take years to come, a few times I've thrown top soil to level it out. I had a Asphalt walk way installed after a number of year the dip started, its not bad, but It lined up with the dip in the lawn. The sump pump discharges into the sewer, I only installed it 4 year ago after I flooded during a major weather event.


I lived here for 20 some years with no sump pump. After a major weather event I flooded and they dug up the pit to access the sewer back flow, it was covered in sand. They found two small holes ontop of the sewer back flow cover and that's how my pit has been emptying for 20 years. They installed a sump pump at that time, drains to the into sewer. That's when I noticed the water coming in from the front of the house. Looking at the picture, its from the same direction as the drain tile pipe. It would be a steady stream after it rains, over a number of days it would slowly dry up.

I can't seem to add the picture, file size must be too large

Last edited by god; 04-17-2018 at 05:26 PM. Reason: add a comment
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Old 04-17-2018, 05:58 PM   #12
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Re: Underground water getting into my sump pit


water takes path of least resistance...
ground water has found your trench line...
most likely this is also cause of the settling trench...
clay soil always complicates drainage/foundation issues...

you will need eyes and boots on site to come up with
workable plans to redirect the hydrostatics at work now
the fact that it took 20 years to catch/show up at your foundation
does not mean there is now a simple solution to reverse the past...

go slow & start with the most logical & least expensive options 1st
such as gutters, drains, french drains, eying ground water & run off, etc.

you will most likely get many different opinions as to what is truly needed so
edification is real key to discernment & becoming an expert of your property needs

Peace
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Old 04-26-2018, 07:49 AM   #13
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Re: Underground water getting into my sump pit


There is a ground water level called the water table that varies with the season and climate, perhaps month by month, sometimes week by week. Your sump pump and perimeter drain pipe system is meant to keep this water from flooding your basement and the sump pump can run more often or less often as needed.

You need to double check to be sure that surface water including gutter and downspout water does not collect around your foundation. Do not have a depression around the foundation filled with gravel or mulch or sand.

It is okay for the sump pump to remain stopped if the water level stops rising even if the water level partly covers the drain pipes dumping into the sump pit (unless your experiments at one week intervals show that the water level has to be kept lower to keep the far side of the basement from flooding).

There is no easy way to divert water that is already underground and flowing. One possible way to control it is to install another pit with sump pump out in the yard to catch and dispose of that water onto ground sloping away outside before it can get to your sump pump just inside, in your basement
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Stick to your lawn watering schedule until it really starts to pour. After the storm you have only the same number of rest days you always had and then you need to start watering again.

Last edited by AllanJ; 04-26-2018 at 08:04 AM.
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