Sump pump pit question

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Old 03-04-15, 11:46 AM
J
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Sump pump pit question

This is a great forum. I've spent some time looking at the threads but have not seen my issue discussed.

I bought a house a few years ago that has two sump pump pits in opposite corners of the house. The larger pit has 1/4 inch holes drilled in that allow water to stream into it. The smaller has a 4 inch PVC pipe as well as holed drilled to allow water to enter. We have a high water table so the larger pit constantly has water coming into it and is discharged by the pump, no problems there at all. The smaller pump rarely kicks on unless we have torrential rains or something.

I have been working from home today and heard the larger pump running often. I checked on the situation and even though it is still below freezing outside, I have a boat load of water coming into the pit. The problem being, my buried discharge hoses are frozen solid and the water is backing up the hoses and splashing all over the foundation of my home, eventually seeping back in.

I turned the pump off to see what happens when the water gets too high in the pit. There is no overflow drain or anything that I can see. The water level rises to cover the last stream of incoming water and then stops. I ran some errands and came back 20 minutes later and the water level had not risen, nor is any water coming into the other pit.

Would anyone out there have an idea of where the water might be going instead? When I drain that pit, water is screaming back into it until it again is covered. I'd leave it this way until the thaw, but I don't want to be surprised with a flooded, finished basement in the morning. I know its a long shot but I'm hoping someone with similar equipment out there might have a clue. - Thanks
 
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Old 03-04-15, 11:54 AM
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Welcome to the forums.

The ground water wants to seek its own level. At this time of year the level may be a little higher than at other times.

You should be able to lift your pump or possibly reset the float level so that the pit fills to a higher level before pumping. You don't want to leave it unplugged as the water level can be unpredictable.

What you can try is to temporarily unplug the pump and as the water rises see how the other pit is affected. You don't want to raise the main pit and have the backup one overflow.
 
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Old 03-04-15, 02:44 PM
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Thanks PJ, I'll work on that and see what happens.
 
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Old 03-05-15, 07:03 AM
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The second pit can continue to be a backup, provided that the pits are interconnected via the 4" perimeter drain pipes.
 

Last edited by AllanJ; 03-05-15 at 07:31 AM.
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Old 03-05-15, 07:21 AM
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How far below the top edge of the pit is the water filling to when the pump is off?

How deep is the second pit? Trying to judge why one corner of the basement would fill most of a pit, but the other corner appears to be lower. If the water table is the problem, it should be the same at both pits.

You will need a surface drain as a temporary solution to the frozen discharge lines and it needs to drain well away from the house, down slope. You will also want to be sure no water remains in the discharge line where it is exposed to freezing temperatures. A typical backflow valve should only hold a water column on the inside of the basement and the pipe should slope down from there on, allowing all outside water to drain.

Bud
 
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Old 03-05-15, 07:40 AM
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It is possible for the water table to vary noticeably over a distance of a few feet. The kind of soil (clay, sand, etc.) contributes to this variance. So the level of water in one of the two pits can be higher than in the other.

Some of the time the water table can be higher than the normal turn on level for the sump pump but lower than the basement floor surface. It is still risky to let the water level rest just below the rim of the pit with the pump off. The system may become unable to respond quickly to a rise in water table a week later, and you could get water up on the floor between the pits even though the pumps are keeping the pits under control.

It is usually undesirable to set the pump turn on level so high that the 4" drain pipes are completely submerged for long periods of time.
 
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