What I'm Seeing Now

head_left_image

I'll See Your Sump Pump, And Raise You A Drain

Typically sump pumps drain outdoors.  Most jurisdictions require that.  Every now and then I see one that does not.

Sometimes they drain into the sanitary sewer.  I don't know of any jurisdictions that allow this.  Maybe they did in the past.

Sump pumps are not supposed to drain into the sanitary sewer.  If everyone did that, during heavy or continued rains, the result might be an overload of the sewer system and general indoor flooding!  It's that, or one lucky house that gets the full load from all the others!  Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble.

This is one of two sump pumps in this house.  They had had a company by to install an indoor drain/sump system because of previous leaking into the house.

Draining this one away from the house in this case would not have been easy. They would have had to cut through a foundation wall and layer of brick on the exterior of that. Then the tubing would have had to be extended around a stair well on the outside in order to drain sufficiently away from the house.  Maybe they simply did not want to do that, and plumbed it like this.

In this case, the seller says that this pump was "grandfathered" and allowed to drain into the sanitary system.  It could be that the waterproofing company told them it was grandfathered.

I don't know about that.

There is some checking into it even now. 

My report stated that the County needed to be asked about such "grandfathering..."

Well, at least they used purple primer!

My recommendation:  When you see such an installation, check into it because it may not be allowed and your buyers would be inheriting a possible future problem.

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560

www.jaymarinspect.com


Comment balloon 11 commentsJay Markanich • July 14 2009 03:56AM

Comments

Jay,

This is very much a regional matter!

I've never seen one that didn't go into the sewer. In Michigan the one thing you don't do is pump into a septic tank. Then of course in Las Vegas and Huston we don't have many sump pumps.

Bill

Posted by William J. Archambault, Jr. (The Real Estate Investment Institute ) over 11 years ago

Bill - now and again I will see one drain into the septic, but that is a no-no here too.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 11 years ago

Out here it has become such a problem or actually part of a problem with over loading the municipal sewage treatment facilities. Some towns have taken to trying to inspect individual houses for sump pumps discharging into the house drains.

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) over 11 years ago

Thanks once again for a great tip. I learn something new every day.

Posted by Susan Haughton, Susan & Mindy Team...Honesty. Integrity. Results. (Long and Foster REALTORS (703) 470-4545) over 11 years ago

Jay out here it is allowed if there aren't dual systems installed---one for storm water---one for sewage.  Many cities in the NW have only one system.  Newer devolopements all have dual systems and then sumps have to go into the storm drain.  I HATE sump pumps by the way.  By the way did I say I HATE sump pumps?

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) over 11 years ago

Wow, James - do the brown shirts show up and knock on the door, put a comb over the top lip and ask, in a German accent, if you have a sump pump they can some in and see?

Susan - as you know, out here they are code, but I don't know of a jurisdiction that allows them to drain into the sanitary sewer.  This house was in South Arlington.  Do you know of a grandfather clause that allows that?

Shadow - they have to be installed here, even when the basement has a walk out.  They work well if drained away from the house.  If not, it becomes a circuitous water fantasy trip...  why the severe disregard?

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 11 years ago

Oh just because they are something that has to be maintained and so often they have to do a job that could have been done with gravity and a little planning ahead/proper drainage:)

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) over 11 years ago

They showed up at mother in laws house. She told 'em where to go and the best route to take:) Man I was proud of her!

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) over 11 years ago

That is absolutely incredible!!  And good for her.  I bet they walked around the house looking for a sump exit through the house somewhere...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 11 years ago

Jay,

We see many sump pumps in our wet neck of the woods.

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc.) over 11 years ago

Steve - I would not guess why...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 11 years ago

This blog does not allow anonymous comments