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Old 12-07-2015, 07:23 AM   #1
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Septic Tank issue


Don't know if this is the best forum but here I go.

I have a septic system with a raised bed drain field. Next to the raised bed is the ejector pit/dosing chamber, what you want to call it. Because of the raised drain field, theres a little tank with a pump that pumps water up to the drain field.

Well theres an electrical feed that goes into the man hole with a plug end, where the pump for the ejector put plugs in. For some reason and it seems to happens during long periods of rain. That feed at times to trip the GFI breaker in the box that it is hooked too. Which turn lets the ejector pit fill up and then the septic fills up.

BY my thinking, is that GFI breaker is either sensitive needs to be replaced, or moisture is getting in the plug connection setting off the breaker.

My question is can should I just swap the GFI, or screw it and go with a regular breaker. Or is there a water right plug connection that I can use. basically the electrical feed that comes in is hook to what looks like an extension cord end.
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Old 12-07-2015, 07:46 AM   #2
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That sounds like a very poor method of powering the pump. While GFCI breakers do fail more often than regular breakers, the problem is likely due to water getting into the plug connection. In any case DO NOT replace the GFCI breaker with a regular one.

There are weatherproof plug connectors (I have one on my solar panel array), but I don't know of any truly waterproof ones. Being a design engineer (albeit a retired one), I'd probably replace the pump's power cord with a longer length of appropriately rated cord and hardwire the power connection inside a weatherproof junction box located somewhere outside the manhole. As a final elegant touch, I'd use waterproof wirenuts (yes, there is such a thing, and they are available at most big box stores). I used to design military tactical shelter systems (field kitchens, laundries, showers, latrines, water purification equipment, etc., and waterproof wire nuts were often used.
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Old 12-07-2015, 08:54 AM   #3
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All electrical connections need to be above grade in a weatherproof electrical box not in the pit.
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Old 12-07-2015, 10:03 AM   #4
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I thought about hard wiring a box outside of the pit and going that route with it. Buts its December and in northern NY, don't have that time to monkey right now. I was looking online and they do have like a shell where you put both ends of a plug in and snap it close.

I do think the GFCI is probably a little finicky as well, and might replace it with another GFCI breaker.

Now question, if I wire a box outside of the pit and its already ground faulted at the breaker, do I need to ground fault the outlet as well.
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Old 12-07-2015, 10:49 AM   #5
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I am not familiar with New York State code for electrical connections to a septic pump chamber. I have a similar setup to yours in Massachusetts. My system was installed by a professional installer, and permitted by the Town, so I assume it is code compliant. The pump is powered from a control box in the house, which has an alarm to warn of high liquid in the septic tank. The wire that feeds the pump chamber is inside buried PVC conduit. The pump is connected to the feed wire in a liquid tite box located inside the pump chamber, which is underground. The box is accessible if you open the manhole cover to the pump chamber, but the box is certainly not above ground.

I have never seen a pump connection that is above ground for a septic system. Not saying it isn't code somewhere, but it certainly is not around here. The actual connectors used to connect the feed wire to the pump wire are special water resistant wire nuts, they are orange with some sort of gel inside. And the connections are inside a liquid tite box. I have never seen a plug in septic pump in a chamber, always been hard wired. Again, not saying it isn't code somewhere, but certainly not common around here or I probably would have seen it (I used to do septic installation inspections, not anymore). Also, my pump is on a regular breaker, not sure why you would need or want a GFCI breaker for a pump that is not in a readily accessible location.
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Old 12-07-2015, 12:01 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Holzman View Post
I am not familiar with New York State code for electrical connections to a septic pump chamber. I have a similar setup to yours in Massachusetts. My system was installed by a professional installer, and permitted by the Town, so I assume it is code compliant. The pump is powered from a control box in the house, which has an alarm to warn of high liquid in the septic tank. The wire that feeds the pump chamber is inside buried PVC conduit. The pump is connected to the feed wire in a liquid tite box located inside the pump chamber, which is underground. The box is accessible if you open the manhole cover to the pump chamber, but the box is certainly not above ground.

I have never seen a pump connection that is above ground for a septic system. Not saying it isn't code somewhere, but it certainly is not around here. The actual connectors used to connect the feed wire to the pump wire are special water resistant wire nuts, they are orange with some sort of gel inside. And the connections are inside a liquid tite box. I have never seen a plug in septic pump in a chamber, always been hard wired. Again, not saying it isn't code somewhere, but certainly not common around here or I probably would have seen it (I used to do septic installation inspections, not anymore). Also, my pump is on a regular breaker, not sure why you would need or want a GFCI breaker for a pump that is not in a readily accessible location.
Yeah the way it was set up and done, looks professional. So I don't think it needs to be above grade either. I just think with 20 years of use, the connections are getting bad and I need to seal it up so I don't have to deal with it.
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Old 12-08-2015, 08:28 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nards444 View Post

Now question, if I wire a box outside of the pit and its already ground faulted at the breaker, do I need to ground fault the outlet as well.
I wouldn't install a receptacle. As I explained in my earlier post, I'd hardwire the connections in a weatherproof junction box. Easier and cheaper. I see no point in having a receptacle for your situation.
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Old 12-08-2015, 05:40 PM   #8
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Replace the GFI breaker as they age they start tripping for no real good reason. I have replaced mine twice in 12 years.
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