Sump Pumps are one of the causes of improper inflow and infiltration of ground and storm water into the sanitary sewer system. These water types are not intended to enter the sanitary sewer system, as they do not need special treatment by the treatment plant, and in fact can cause problems when the enter the sanitary sewer system. The City of Smithville uses a treatment system that works by placing bacteria in contact with untreated sanitary sewage. These bacteria breakdown the sewage and allow separation of the water from the waste. Once separated, the cleaned water is sent back to our rivers, and the waste is properly disposed of by various means. However, when untreated ground and storm water enters the sanitary sewer system, the amount of water, and the diluted nature of the sewage entering the treatment plant are such that the bacteria introduced to treat the waste are not able to reproduce fast enough to maintain the required levels, and the bacteria die or are washed away. This causes the particular treatment basin to be shut down, and the city must clean the basin, and reintroduce bacteria into the system. Each time this happens, more money must be spent to treat waste, causing higher sewer rates for the customer. The Sump Pump Inspection Ordinance is designed to eliminate the illegal connection of sump pumps to the sanitary system, saving money on restoring these basins when washed out. The following photographs depict various sump pump installations that occur.
The photograph to the right shows a sump pump pit that is installed in a garage. The pit is not currently used, but highlights the problems associated with these pits. While the pit was installed with the initial construction, it was never properly plumbed to the outside. These pits are often installed as a fail-safe to protect basement areas from potential future water infiltration. When a homeowner moves in, there may not be a basement water problem. Over time, basements will sometimes become wet. When that occurs, the easiest method to resolve the water problem is to install a sump pump into the pit to remove the water from under the basement floor, thereby keeping the water from entering the basement.
This is an example of an illegal pit. While it is not currently connected to the sanitary system, behind the drywall in many locations, the homeowner will find a sewer drain, and will often directly connect their sump pump to that drain. The City of Smithville requires, in circumstances such as the one depicted here, to either 1) remove the pit lid, fill the underlying pit with gravel to no more than 4" from the top, and cap the pit with concrete, sealing it from future use, or 2) to install drain lines (no pump installation is necessary) from within 24" of the ground, up the wall or out the wall to the outside of the home, with both ends of the line capped, and the interior cap marked "Sump". This will ensure that the current homeowner, or any future homeowner that encounters water in the basement will not connect the sump pump to the sanitary sewer system. The cost of the materials for either of these two corrections is around $20.00, and can be performed by the average homeowner.
The photographs above show an improperly connected Sump Pump. The pump is installed, but the drain pipe is not discharged to the outside. Instead, the pump discharges to a floor drain. This connection can easily be made legal by installing a drain pipe along the wall and discharging to the outside.
This photograph to the right shows a properly installed pit, pump and plumbing. The pump is plumbed to the discharge line that travels up the outside wall and exits the basement through the sill, instead of connecting to the sewer drain adjacent to the point of exit.