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Continious waterflow in sump pit

Continious waterflow in sump pit

(OP)
I moved to this new house two years back. Never had experience with sump pump. After a month I moved in I realize there is water always in the pit. I checked with neighbours and found they don't have such issue. I raised the concerned to builder and they have sent the plumber. It was found the pump burnt out and got replaced. After new pump got installed, it was running every 15 - 20 mins and eventually after few weeks this was also burnt out. Contact the builder again and another pump get replaced. I raised my concerned to builder the new pumo make noise and it is running very frequently. They decided to put a bigger pit and pump (the sewer one) but no one has mentioned why so much water coming. With the bigger pump it now runs every 25-30 mins and still the continious water flow is there. Builder has checked for main valve leakage.

My neighbours don't have such issue, it is town house (middle one) with 19ft width. Any suggestion what could be the cause for water?

Appreciate any help  

RE: Continious waterflow in sump pit

Your neighbors might not have the same problem because you're pumping their groundwater away for them.

Where's the water coming from?  Do you have any leakage in your foundation walls?  Is it welling up from the bottom of the sump?

Can you describe the country, location, topography, and soils?

Hydrology, Drainage Analysis, Flood Studies, and Complex Stormwater Litigation for Atlanta and the South East - http://www.campbellcivil.com

RE: Continious waterflow in sump pit

Continuous  water flow like this  at a constant rate sounds like a water main leak.  If it were seasonal, with a fluctuating water surface level in the sump it would likely be ground water.  A contractor with specialized equipment for detecting water main leaks should be consulted.  I would get a second opinion from someone besides the builder, who does not want to invest any money to fix this.   

RE: Continious waterflow in sump pit

What do you mean with "burned out" pump?  Motor shot?  Pump mechanism frozen tight?

It may be that your water is carrying silt or sand along that wears the seals, etc.   Or is the level float (or similar) set to have the pump pump air?  That will wreck any pump, generally wrecking the seal and finally seizing up..

Aside from the electric bill, you may have other issues, such as undermining of floors or foundations with this flow.

Your water supply outfit ought to have means for finding a leak there.

RE: Continious waterflow in sump pit

(OP)
Happy New Year Every One.

Thanks for all your replies, Sorry didn't get chance to reply back.
I am in Milton, Ontario, Canada. I was told by builder plumber the water that pump burnt out because it was not working. Not sure what the reason was. My builder did test for leakage. They have turned off the main water box valve for my house from outside for 15mins. The water didn't stopped so they said it is proved to be ground water. Not sure this is the right way of testing. I am still not convince. Attached I have put a video showing the flow. All year round rain or shine I get water with this speed. To me it doesn't seems ground water but I am not an expert. Appreciate any feedback/help.
Regards

RE: Continious waterflow in sump pit

Can you say if your neighbours also have sump pumps and if they are working. Most likely they do. If so then it is likely that your groundwater level is high and hence the need for the sump pump. I presume that this condition gets worse when there is rainfall since the ground is subject to recharge. How old is your house and what is the separation( distance) from the adjacent houses. Take a look around the outside of your house and see whether or not the landscape on the outside is sloped away from the house and is so all around.  Check on the eavestrough of the adjacent homes and determine whether the rainfall water is directed away from your house. This sometimes adds to the problem but not always.

Did the builder get the water sample checked to determine if it is city water. This can be done by sending sample to the environmental lab. What is the location of your home in Milton as this can be Googled to have a look at the location position etc.by others.

I am unable to look at Video as I have to update my real player

  

RE: Continious waterflow in sump pit

15 minutes shut off is way too short a time.  More like half a day or one day is more correct.

There are two "reservoirs for water". You apparently only tried to test one such "reservoir".  One "reservoir" is house plumbing.  The other is the ground under the house ,likened to a "swimming pool size"..

Don't forget you will have water built up in your pipes that will keep that pressure up for a while at least.  When they did the test, did you open any valves to see if the in-house pressure changed?  For a more lengthy shut-off time, you should see your house pressure drop  I'd place a pressure gage on the lowest faucet and open the highest one, then watch the gage.  Of course we have to assume the curb shut-off will be a 100% shut-off.   This total volume of water in your pipes is much less than that "swimming pool" under your house, so maybe a half an hour might be sufficient for that test, maybe more needed.   Keep in mind what a water heater may do to this test if it happens to be high up.

Consider you have a "swimming pool" of sorts in the ground at your place and you have a stabilized condition with your sump pump removing it at the same rate that the fill hose is going.  Then you shut off that fill hose (a long ways from your sump pump) for 15 minutes, stopping maybe 1/10,000th of the quantity of the "pool" for that period.  No way will the minuscule change in flow rate be visible at the sump pump.

I'd be suspicious that testing the water quality will do much, since chlorine and other things in the city water may be filtered out or combined with soil chemically and your ground may be adding things like calcium, etc.

Many city water departments have listening devices, but they only work when general use of water and air noises are not present.  The 2 AM water use usually is nil.

I had a plumber at former location with a mechanic's stethoscope and he has found may a leak in shared well systems using that equipment.  

So now you have more options.

RE: Continious waterflow in sump pit

(OP)
Thanks for responses. Yes, all my neighbors have sump pump installed and I have checked with them and they don't have same flow of water in their pit. I am in a townhouse and have houses attached on both side. The total width is 19ft. What I don't understand why neighbors don't have same issue (may be water table just under my lot), why the water flow doesn't get change when there is rain fall etc. Currently we have well below freezing temperature but the water is still coming with same flow. I have contacted city also but don't know whether they can help. When builder did the test water in my house got stop but the water in pit kept coming with same flow. It seems there can't be much can be done and I accept this as ground water. Any help always appreciated. Below is link to video show how constantly water is coming.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GB8Medb8x5g

RE: Continious waterflow in sump pit

Some comments on issue

It is possible hat you may have a problem related to the construction of drainage discharge and you may be collecting groundwater from the adjacent homes.

It is possible that you can with the help of your neighbours use a dye as a tracer by inserting some in each adjacent home sump pit independently and checking whether the water that enters your sumppit shows the colour of the dye. Not sure of how this will pan out or whether this is feasible but you could discuss this concept with builder and neighbours.

You can also check the water discharge in your sump pit for sediments. Water in video looks very clean and may be so as it is filtered.

Tracking this problem could be time consuming and would require assistance from knowledgeable tradesmen in the plumbing business. Always a task to discover causes after construction.

You could also plug your discharge pipe into your sumppit temporarily and check whether your neighbours flow has increased. However, this is not recommended without proper evaluation since blocked water can find other discharge locations and may cause other problems. Do not attempt this concept without discussion with builder and technical
expertise.

Overall I think that you need to solicit expert assistance on this matter and these may be available through industry checking.

      

RE: Continious waterflow in sump pit

Question:

Have you investigated the situation as I suggest above???

I repeat (from above)  a simple test that will explain a lot.  Most any plumber supply house can sell you a gage.

""Don't forget you will have water built up in your pipes that will keep that pressure up for a while at least.  When they did the test, did you open any valves to see if the in-house pressure changed?  For a more lengthy shut-off time, you should see your house pressure drop  I'd place a pressure gage on the lowest faucet and open the highest one, then watch the gage.  Of course we have to assume the curb shut-off will be a 100% shut-off.   This total volume of water in your pipes is much less than that "swimming pool" under your house, so maybe a half an hour might be sufficient for that test, maybe more needed.   Keep in mind what a water heater may do to this test if it happens to be high up.""
 

RE: Continious waterflow in sump pit

(OP)
Thanks VAD and oldestguy for your responses. Since my warranty on home has expired last November my builder won't help me any more to do any test. After doing that 15min shutoff valve test they have concluded this is ground water uncontrollable and they can't help. However, I have till end of March to challenge them.
When I checked with neighbors they mentioned they don't get a lot of water and there pump don't run that often. Also it will be difficult for me to do test using dye. To clarify on test my builder has done: When they shutoff the valve from outside water in faucets of my house got stopped but I was still getting water in pit. If the water in house got completely stopped then where should I use the guage? Also I need plumber to close the valve from outside again as that need special key. I have brought my concern to town and region who are responsible for water supply but didn't heard any thing back from them yet. I will try to find some plumbing company who can do some test for me however based on your experiences appreciate if you can help me to understand following:

1) Looking at the video and scenarios that neighbors don't have this issue, flow is steady, water is clear. Would this be a ground water?

2) To me it doesn't seem water would stop in future either would that impact foundations of house in future?

3)I have few cracks on wall and floor of basement, that might because of water underneath

4) When my builder dig the basement to put new pit (dig around 4 ft) haven't seen a lot of water from ground however water kept coming from the pipe which feeds into pit. Shouldn't we have seen ground water when they dig?

Because of this I am not only get potentially into other issues in future (e.g basement flooding etc) but also very challenging for me to sale the house. Not sure whether I mentioned or not this is only 2 years old town house with house attached on both sides and every house is 18 ft apart.

Appreciate your help.

RE: Continious waterflow in sump pit

matharsiddiqui - Have you considered hiring a plumber or someone to perform a separate test?  A little money now may prove supportive in your challenge/lawsuit.  At the least it will confirm that it is either groundwater or leaky pipes.

RE: Continious waterflow in sump pit

asking the builder to test is kind of like asking the fox to guard the hen house. Of course they say it is just groundwater. Did you watch and make sure they turned your main valve completely off? It is unlikely that you have shallow or perched groundwater and your neighbor 18 feet away does not. Also, if they built on top of an active spring, I would think that would have been self evident during construction.

Don't expect any help from the town, this is not their problem. You will need to gather the evidence yourself and lodge a complaint. Hire an attorney and a plumber.

RE: Continious waterflow in sump pit

Is the system also connected to an area wide drainage system (sump intended as a backup)?  If it is, there may be an issue with the area wide system in the street, causing the water to back up to the next outlet.  

I have looked at a house where this was thought to be the case, but I am not aware of the outcome. Ground water was well below the foundation drain based on test holes around the house, no one in the area had discovered leaks, no chlorine in the water, etc.  In this case, it was thought that the connection at the intersection was bad, and although he was not the closest, he was the lowest.

RE: Continious waterflow in sump pit

On my suggestion for a simple test, remember the differential head from highest faucet to basement is not much, so any gage range used has to reflect that.  Each foot of water head loss is only roughly about 0.4 psi. Another way to do this test is with a clear plastic hose attached to the drain in your water heater (assuming it is in basement).  Extend that open end up above the height of the highest faucet outlet and fill it with water until it is at the level of the highest faucet or shower head.  Then shut that off.  You don't open any valves until curb valve is shut off.

Then starting with the shower head, open that one and then the basement hose valve.  Then you have a measure of the pressure head in your system at the basement by viewing that hose water height.  There may be a clear plastic garden hose that you can use also.  If seeing water is difficult, add some food colored water in the upper end at the start.  You need to be able to view the pressure head in that hose.  For a typical house and with the rate of flow you observe, this test should not take more than an hour, possibly a few minutes.

For the curb valve (at least in USA) the cap for the valve is held a five sided bolt which wrench is obtained at any plumbing supply place.  The valve key wrench is nothing more than a long rod with "T" Handle on top and a forked bottom end.  Most any plumber would have one.  The depth to the valve top may vary, maybe 4 feet or maybe 8.  The handle orientation is the direction of flow.  A 90 degree turn shuts it off.

Now comes a possible problem.  Suppose you don't find any head loss.  Either it is ground water or the leak is beyond that outside valve.  The test would only test the water line between your house and that curb shut off.  It is possible for the water main in the street to be leaking near your property.  I have seen two situations where that valve has had corrosion and has leaked badly, but not on the side towards the house.

On the subject of ground water has any geologist type looked at the area geology?  For instance, some land forms are prone to have springs and others are not.  Glacial country does have them, but a geotech eng'r or geologist should help on that score.  Are you on a side hill or near a hill?  You are right, it would seem that during construction they would find the steady ground water flow if that is the cause.

Is there any possibility of some day draining that perimeter system to daylight or a street storm drain, say at a back yard?

Cracks in basement floor would only be likely from this water thing if there had been erosion via the tile drain system. For a system that is not properly filtered this can be a major problem. If you pound on the floor with a big hammer does it sound hollow?  Remember, concrete sometimes curls and cracks so it might be hollow at the cracks then, not related to erosion.  You can observe for curling by placing a straght edge across the cracks.

 

RE: Continious waterflow in sump pit

(OP)
Thanks again every one for responses. Apology for late respond. That's what happening now, I am able get some help from regional municipality. What they do first check for chlorine to ensure whether it is treated water or some other. They will also send leak detection contractor to do some test. Not sure whether they do shut off curb valve or not. I am praying hopefully they find some thing. I am very thankful for you guys for all the direction provided which made be able to move further. With regards to cracks I have several on basement wall and floor. Two cracks from wall leaked before and fixed by builder but others are still there. Floor cracked I have observed they expand little more (in mm). Is this some thing I need to worry about?
I have load a longer video of water flow to give better feel how steady the flow is.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Upe-qhdyk64
One more question, what next step I should take if for some reason none of the test result in +ve. If my house is on water table would it possible I will get the water only not my neighbors. As I mentioned out lots size is just 18/19 ft wide. From center of my house I am just 9 ft apart.
As always appreciate any help.
Regards

RE: Continious waterflow in sump pit

(OP)
Hi Everyone,

Just an update. I have water tested what I am getting and have found chlorine in it. I have checked with town and they treat water with chlorine. My next question is do we get chlorine in ground water too? or this test is enough to say I am somehow getting treated water in the pit.

Thanks again for your help.

Regards.

RE: Continious waterflow in sump pit

This means you have a water supply leak and it is now the contractor's or the city's problem and fix.  Call the water provider and get their contractor to find and fix the leak.  They can bill the contractor if it is the contractor's mistake or faulty installation.  The contractor might still have a performance/warrantee bond out for this type of utility work.  

You could call the contractor and give them another chance to fix it, but they will do it the cheapest way possible.  If the building contractor does work on it, insist on a inspection by the water provider.  I would try to get the inspector to sign off on the repair.  What you don't want is this problem to come back in a few years when your home warrantee is up.

RE: Continious waterflow in sump pit

(OP)
I have contacted the builder and waiting for their response. One thing I didn't have written prove yet from the regional municipality water department who have done the past. I have asked them for confirmation. Would it be enough for me if water department confirm that chlorine found in water. They might be hesitant to say it is a leak. Given I have prove of chlorine in water I should be fine to claim what I am getting is not ground. Just thinking all the possibilities builder can think of. Also if the builder do the test, is there any possibility they won't get the same result?

Thanks.

RE: Continious waterflow in sump pit

the builder will drag his heels until the warranty lapses and then you will be hosed. Get somebody else out there soon to locate the leaking pipe and then take the builder to court

RE: Continious waterflow in sump pit

Mathar,

You have already asked for your contractor's help and all he did was turn off the water for 15 minutes and tell you it was ground water.  He should have had the water tested after the first sump pump replacement.  Time to go over their head.  What I am afraid of is the contractor doing an invasive search by trenching, potholing, digging under footings etc, looking for the leak, doing a band aid fix, burying it all back up without proper compaction or inspection.  Two years down the road you have foundation settling, new floor and wall crack issues or the reappearing leak with no warrantee left.  A dishonest contractor could just put a trench dam in the water line trench to your place, and the water will migrate to someone else's basement sump.

Have the water municipality find and fix the leak.  The contractor can coordinate with them to trench, backfill, and fix everything back up.  You shouldn't have to do or prove anything to the contractor now.  The contractor has the right to do his own test, but tell him to follow proper chain of custody procedures if he plans on using these testing results in court.  Your next communication to the contractor if he tries to deny it or stall, should be a copy of your warrantee sent to them along with a letter of the mandatory fix completion date, with letterhead from the lawyer you hired.

RE: Continious waterflow in sump pit

(OP)
Thanks guys. Some more progress .... Regional municipilaty has sent leak detection company and nothing found my house water line. However they check curb valve for my left neighbour and suspect leak is there. No one at home so they can't check further. They have used soem device to hear some thing from outside not sure what. Not sure what is the approach I should take now so my builder can't get away.

RE: Continious waterflow in sump pit

curb valve needs to be fixed by the City, they own the system up to and including the meter. That may stop the leaking

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