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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I desperately need some pro advice - I have a very unique situation - please read all.

1 - Will ball valve on sump pump discharge put too much strain and break or shorten lifespan on the unit?
2 - Will ball valve throttle the flow too much for a 1/3 HP pump to get the waste up a 11-13 foot vertical pipe?
3 - Please read my explanation below, are there any other solutions that come to mind?

I live in a old brewery converted to loft - space, therefore, NOTHING is a normal residential type setup.

The drainage is located on the 2nd floor, my kitchen is on the first floor. At the advice of the maintenance staff (when we discovered a drain pipe we had been using was no longer functional as a drain pipe...) we attached a sump pump to our kitchen sink drain to pump the sewage up to the main drain line on the 2nd floor. We use a sink strainer and are very careful about waste going into it.

One neighbor shares this main drain line with us, and has been having sewage gas and bubbling coming up into the kitchen sink (theirs is on the 2nd floor). I do know that he installed a drainage vent somewhere on his side.

This used to be a problem all the time when we had a 1/2 HP pump, but seemed to get resolved when we downsized to a 1/3 HP pump.

Now, the current pump (Liberty Pumps 404 1/3 HP, 115V Residential Drain Pump) seems to have a broken switch - which we will attempt to fix soon. However, in the meantime, we have to run it manually (plug in / unplug bypassing the switch).

I believe my fiancee was running it for close to 6 seconds at a time, and I believe it normally only runs for 1 - 2 second intervals. AAAAANNNNNNND the sewage bubbling up in our neighbor's sink is happening again. I believe this is as a result of the longer "bursts," my fiancee was doing, but I'm not sure my neighbor is understanding that. We have since shortened to running it in 1-2 second bursts and I haven't heard anything but unsure if it's persisting.

Aside from just running it in shorter bursts / fixing the switch, he's asking us to install a ball valve on the pump discharge line. I'm not opposed to this, however, I want to make sure it won't damage the unit. If we did this, it would appease him and potentially future-proof us from this happening again - keeping peace with neighbors who share a very thin wall.

- Is there any danger in damaging or shortening lifespan of the unit if we install a ball valve?
- Are there different types of ball valves / a particular one we should look into?
- Will a ball valve prevent the waste from getting all the way up to the main drain (approx 11 - 14 feet vertical before the drain pipe goes horizontal and feeds into the main drain line.)
- Any other suggestions which don't involve doing into our neighbor's plumbing or the main drain line?


Collector of tools
172 Posts
Wow, that's a pretty unusual situation. I would think that the harder you ask the pump to work the shorter its lifespan is going to be. I have burned out a pump when the discharge pipe got covered up.

What material is the waste pipe made of? White pvc? Or metal? That will determine what your options are for the ball valve.

Do you own this place or rent? Is there any discussion of a permanent solution that doesnt involve a manually operated pump?

Can you explain why you think your neighbor's problem is related to the velocity or duration of your discharge? I'm not getting that part.

Usually Confused
9,606 Posts
I'm not sure I've unpacked all your information, but are you talking about a sump pump or a sewage injector/lift pump? If you are using a sump pump to move sewage, (a) they are designed to pump water, not water and solids, and (b) all pumps have a designed lift capacity, which you might be exceeding (esp. if you are asking it to move stuff it's not designed for).
Not a plumber, but it sounds like you are trying to have forced (pumped) discharge on a system that was intended for gravity only. Sewage pumps need to be vented, which may be why you neighbour is getting the smell in their drain.

flipping slumlord
5,116 Posts
I live in a old brewery converted to loft - space...
The drainage is located on the 2nd floor, my kitchen is on the first floor.
Well, the current access to it may be on the second floor...
but I'd be very surprised that the drain pipe doesn't run downhill
(that's the 3rd law of plumbing, btw). Follow?

That pipe probably runs straight down and through your space.
Find that pipe. Then connect to it.

Property Mgt/Maint
6,667 Posts
This sounds like a rental and the landlord should be involved.
Your neighbor has a trap or vent issue as mentioned above.
Throttling down the discharge a little will not damage the pump. The pumps use a impeller to move fluid, it is not positive displacement. A much smaller GPM pump could be used. 1-2 second run times is not ideal, and may be the reason your current switch failed.
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