Green gunk at the ejector pump outlet

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  #1  
Old 06-10-11, 06:51 PM
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Question Green gunk at the ejector pump outlet

Hello everyone.

This is my first time posting, but I've gathered a lot of useful advice from this forum in the past. So thank you all ahead of time.

While looking over some stuff in the basement, I noticed there is green gunk on the ejector pump plug. This green stuff seems to come from the inside of an outlet. I know that copper wiring will have some green stuff as it corrodes, but the weird thing is that the second receptacle on the same box doesn't have the green gunk. Only the one where ejector pump plugs in.

The ejector pump is there, but never used. There is no plumbing in the basement and as far as I can tell nothing else drains in this well (the one right next to sump pump well). The house is 20 years old and I am guessing this pump is original.

In my previous house, I saw the exact same thing on the outlet where ejector pump plugs in. The pump was also about 20 years old. It had similar use-case, i.e. nothing is draining in that well. Right after I saw it, we moved, so I never investigated it.

Seems like a strange coincidence that in both cases corrosion was only caused on the outlet where pump is plugged in.

Any ideas why only this outlet and what is causing it?

Thanks for your help.
 
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Old 06-10-11, 07:16 PM
Justin Smith's Avatar
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The green gunk is from copper corroding, whether it be a poor receptacle connection heating up, or moisture, or both.
 
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Old 06-10-11, 07:31 PM
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I understand it's a corrosion.

Is that a coincidence that it happened twice ONLY on the outlet that the ejector well pump is plugged into? And in both cases that pump is not really being used.
Sump pump in both cases is plugged into an outlet two feet away that originates from the same junction box. In both cases sump pump runs pretty often (lots of ground water in our area) and the outlets are fine.

Any chance an old pump is messing up an outlet?
 
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Old 06-10-11, 07:47 PM
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If it's a cheap receptacle, it may be making bad contact with the blades, otherwise the pump may have a bad plug on it. It could be just a coincidence that it is the pump. Water could also be wicking up the inside of the cord. I've cut into green cords before.
 
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Old 06-10-11, 08:26 PM
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The contacts in receptacles are brass, not copper. Brass does corrode green though due to its copper content. If this is an unfinished basement that might have dampness issues, the moisture could be aggravating galvanic corrosion. This happens if the receptacle and plug are made of two different metals. As I said, the receptacle contacts are brass, but the plug could be nickel, nickel plated steel, plain old steel, or some other metal. It's rare for nickel and brass to react, but it does happen, especially if there are other air contaminants present (environmental hydrogen sulfide, or hydrogen chloride can both cause/aggravate metal corrosion)
 
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