Sump Drain System Mystery


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Old 07-27-21, 10:58 PM
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Sump Drain System Mystery

Two concerns: whereís the water coming from (nature or broken pipe?) and more importantly, is there a better way to get rid of it (in-ground mystery pipe vs lawn)?

First, I have a sump pump that works overtime and I think Iím just unlucky enough to have purchased a property that doesnít drain well. When itís particularly wet outside, the pump operates about 10-12 seconds on, one and half minute off. Thatís how quickly the sump area fills up. During lawn dying summer dry spells, 10-12 seconds every 10 minutes. Thereís a pipe emptying into the sump area that sounds like an open running faucet. Iím guessing the pipe is from a weeping tile area? A day or two after a heavy rain period the lawn can still be soft to walk on, which leads me to believe I just have poor drainage and/or a high water table? Is there anyway to verify this? The way the water drains like a running faucet into the sump makes me concerned there might be a broken/leaking pipe somewhere. Additionally, the weeping pipe has a large layer of what appears to be red clay goo that has formed and is evident also in the sump area as well as my lawn where it gets ejected. I donít know if thatís a sign of a concern?

Second and most importantly, the sump ejects out to a 3 or 4Ē pipe in the ground and also overflows out the side which Iíve extended down a slope on my yard that helps the water flow away from my foundation. Needless to say, wherever that pipe in the ground goes doesnít seem to do anything as thereís so much water being ejected it just goes out the side and down my lawn, which is more a swamp in that area then a lawn. Neighbors have similar pipes in the ground by the ejectors, but my house is a bit lower then others, so my question is: where does this under ground pipe go? If it leads to a sewer line or something, then itís definitely not working, or is blocked. If it leads to a small retaining area, then itís to small to accommodate the amount of water Iíve got. If it's leading back to the weeping tile area then I can see why my sump is endlessly filling! Is there any way to find out where the pipe leads? Is it worth renting a main drain type snake from home depot to see if I can unclog this thing? Or is it time to call an expert?

Any help would be greatly appreciated!


Sump pit with main pump, backup battery pump, weeping pipe can clay-ish goo


Weeping pipe with clay-ish sediment goo


Mystery ground pipe and side ejector pipe



My red-ish swamp. Photo doesn't do it justice. This runs down a shallow hill that is completely wet almost all the time!

 
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Old 07-28-21, 06:14 AM
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A day or two after a heavy rain period the lawn can still be soft to walk on, which leads me to believe I just have poor drainage and/or a high water table?
So, it's not uncommon to be getting a lot of ground water, I had a house and every spring the water table would ise, sump pump would run non-stop then by summer it would not run at all.

A broken pipe would be so rare and if so you would see huge water bills, it would be pretty obvious.

As far as proof, it sounds like you have confirmed that by your observation.

One thing you can do to help that is raise the pump up in the pit so it fills more and the pump will un less, all those start/stops will kill the pump. My sump fills to the top of the drain pipe so your way low!

Additionally, the weeping pipe has a large layer of what appears to be red clay goo that has formed and is evident also in the sump area as well as my lawn where it gets ejected. I donít know if thatís a sign of a concern?
That is interesting, usually the water is pretty clean but depending on soil conditions and how the perimeter pipe was installed (pea gravel/fabric/nothing) you are obviously getting some silt.

so my question is: where does this under ground pipe go?
You are the only one who can answer this! If this is a sewer line it is illegal to have sump pumps discharge into them. What they did years ago is different than today.

You need to have this inspected to understand what you have and why it's plugged!





 
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Old 07-28-21, 11:09 AM
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Get rid of as much of the reddish brown mud as possible even if you have to scoop it out with your hands. It will clog the sump pump discharge pipes if not already. It will also shorten the life of the pump


Get Roto Rooter or a simlar company to unclog the discharge pipe that is clogged probably with more of the red mud.


Any house with basement flooding problems should have a perforated subfloor perimeter drain pipe system. Unless this has a (lateral) outlet pipe going away from the house that takes unlimited quantities of water away by a downslope, you need a sump pump.
 
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Old 07-28-21, 08:38 PM
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Thanks Marq1, I've been in this house for just over two years and have noticed more water flow depending on the season. I've thought about raising the pump up to experiment in decrease it's frequency, however the volume of water definitely won't change. Last year I accidentally turned off the circuit breaker for the pump and three days later went down stairs for something and found the pit overflowing and other areas of the basement wet. Another day and there would've been standing water. I added a backup battery pump a few days later! It was after this event that I noticed a buildup of clay-ish silt. I thought maybe flooding the weeping tiles during this accident jarred something loose or damaged something that has created the clay/silt issue. Maybe it was just a coincidence. So to be clear, you have your pump's float set to activate at the top of the weeping pipe? Would having the weeping area constantly filled create any issues? I imagine this would decrease the pump frequency since it would also be evacuating the pipe water too, but increase the volume output during each cycle, since again it would be evacuating the pipe too.

Thanks AlanJ, I was thinking about getting a main drain snake rental from Home Depot to stick down the outside ground pipe, however I have no idea where it goes, which is probably my biggest concern. If it's a drain connected to a sewer, then I should've snaked it over a year ago when I began to take note of the frequency and volume of water I was ejecting. If it goes to a dry well to something else, then I imagine it's just full with all the water I've got coming from the weeping pipe and snaking it would do nothing. If it's routing it back into the weeping tiles, then I should probably cap it and accept my wet lawn destiny.

So, how would a professional determine where the exterior ground pipe leads? The house was built in the 70's, so was it common to plumb sump ejection to sewer line back then? I can't imagine it's common to have a dry well? Neighbors seem to have a similar ground pipe and the two I've asked have no idea what it is or for too? So should I just stick a 50' snake in and see what happens? Would a professional use a camera? It's $50 to rent a snake from Home Depot, or I could use that toward a professional that might tell me who knows?

Thanks guys. I'll work on removing the silt in the next few days either way.
 

Last edited by flyer455; 07-28-21 at 08:56 PM. Reason: added house age
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Old 07-29-21, 01:58 AM
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So to be clear, you have your pump's float set to activate at the top of the weeping pipe?
Yep, I stacked cement patio steps (16" dia) in the pit so the pump sits on that!

Would having the weeping area constantly filled create any issues?
In reality that area is always wet anyway, it's just being removed at a slightly higher level.

That silt is interesting, somewhere dirt is infiltrating the drain tile, the higher water level may help flush it out.

I've asked have no idea what it is or for too?
Start with the cheap first, rent a snake and see what happens, something is plugged or broken, them move up.
 
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Old 08-04-21, 06:10 PM
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New update. Rented a 100' snake, and put all 100' in. Unfortunately the only bit that would go in was the smallest spade. There was a 90' bend toward the back of my house (away from the street storm drains and toward a low common area in the subdivision that gets standing water after heavy rains) approximately 18" down and then something else within 12" out of site that prevented any bit other then the smallest spade from continuing through. As much as I tried nothing but the spade would go through. So I ran it back and forth all the way 3 times. No noticeable resistance at any point, other than the beginning. Water goes down at a snails pace of maybe 1-2 oz a minute. Unfortunately my sump pump is currently kicking out a few gallons a minute. I then tried to block the bypass ejection pipe and see if the sump pump could "force" anything through. No luck. I'm ready to call in an expert, but before I do, any suggestions? When I do call someone, is there anything specifically I should be asking them? Are there tools to help follow the pipe to it's final area?
Thanks guys!!!
 
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Old 08-05-21, 12:45 AM
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They have cameras that can be snaked down to get a look at the situation!
 
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Old 08-05-21, 09:15 AM
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You might want to get an electronic tracer snake, or separate tracer that goes on the end of a snake, You hold the other half of the tracer in your hand and press it on the ground above to find where the tracer end is sitting underground. You want to map out the path of the underground pipe so you can dig and make repairs where needed.
 
 

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