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  1. #1
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    Question Sump Pump Question

    Can gray water from a bar sink be drained into a sump in a basement floor that is used for the A/C drip line and is drained into the main sewer line with a backflow valve?

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Sump Pump Question

    No, not a standard sump.


  3. #3
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    Default Re: Sump Pump Question

    I don't know if I learned this from some credible source (and since forget it) or just dreamed it up and it's worked so far... but I've always said ANY gray water has to go to a sewage ejection pump (as in a sealed pump with an alarm, etc).

    Probably 5 times a year I'll see a laundry setup in a basement that goes into a sump pump that discharges into the sanitary line. I see it often enough that I've always figured it was allowed (or at least common practice) for a period.... up until about 1960 if I had to stick a date on it.

    I'd be curious if anyone has dates or more info as to if/when any gray water drainage was allowed into open/sump pumps and when sewage ejection pumps became required?


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Sump Pump Question

    I don't know about your area, but here in NJ you cannot connect a sump pump into the sewer line.

    Darren www.aboutthehouseinspections.com
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  5. #5
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    Default Re: Sump Pump Question

    Yikes!!!! You guys are a bit off track here. A sump is a pit, or often called a crock. Because Tony says the pump discharges to the sewer he'd normally be referring to a waste water sump - as opposed to a ground water sump which is generally discharged to the exterior of the building. Now, can you make such a connection such as Tony saw? Obviously that's yes because someone did it. Should it be done is a different question. Should you discharge a sump pump to the sewer line? That depends upon how the sump is being used.

    Some may think that I'm being too picky here but when considering an inspector's exposure to liability I think that proper use of terminology is quite important.

    Last edited by Eric Barker; 12-30-2010 at 10:11 AM.
    Eric Barker, ACI
    Lake Barrington, IL

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Sump Pump Question

    I'm not aware of any variances that allow you to put gray water into a sump. People do it regularly though. You'd really have to check local standards.
    The issue here isn't so much about code but potential health issues. Problems could be highly unlikely or a real issue.
    Sump pits are typically plastic and have unsealed, fairly open lids. You may view the bar sink as no big deal but it could be. Depending on what that bar sink gets used for there could be a lot of organics. If you are using it to rinse whiskey glasses, no big deal. If you have a blender and make a lot of fruit cocktails, there may be a lot of organics going into that sump pit. If the sump takes in a fair amount of ground water, the frequent cycling will probably get rid of enough organics to alleviate any potential problems. If it doesn't cycle much from ground water, you could end up with a fair amount of growth in the pit. On the other hand, acidity from the AC drain might kill any organics enough.
    Chances are the sink will get used just like any other sink over time. You may want to consider how normal usage would work out instead of thinking of it as a bar sink. The pump itself probably won't care. Since many sumps aren't vented to the exterior, you might want to keep that in mind also.

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  7. #7
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    Default Re: Sump Pump Question

    Around here you can not dispose of condensate into the sanitary sewer.


  8. #8
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    Default Re: Sump Pump Question

    Quote Originally Posted by James Duffin View Post
    Around here you can not dispose of condensate into the sanitary sewer.
    It can not be disposed of in an indirect manner into the sanitary sewer or not at all regardless of the setup?

    Scott Patterson, ACI
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  9. #9
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sump Pump Question

    What would be the possible problem of running condensate into a santary sewer, of course indirectly. There is nothing wrong with that at all. Toilet, urinal, sink, garbage etc etc but not condensate


  10. #10
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    Default Re: Sump Pump Question

    No need to treat clean water. The same reason you try to keep rain water out of the sewer.


  11. #11
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    Default Re: Sump Pump Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post
    What would be the possible problem of running condensate into a santary sewer, of course indirectly. There is nothing wrong with that at all. Toilet, urinal, sink, garbage etc etc but not condensate
    If the sewage bill is based upon the amount of water used, you would be sending water to be treated that wasn't paid for.

    The above statements are expressed solely as my opinion and in all probability will conflict with someone else's.
    Stu, Fredericksburg VA

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Sump Pump Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Stuart Brooks View Post
    If the sewage bill is based upon the amount of water used, you would be sending water to be treated that wasn't paid for.
    Being slightly acidic you would be helping out the processing Better than adding this acidic water into the yard and run off into the drain water system and into the lakes and streams. I wonder how many pools and such get drained into the wast water system.


  13. #13
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    Default Re: Sump Pump Question

    Sheesh, no wonder our clients get confused.
    Gray water goes to the sewer. Or the septic tank.
    Rain water and runoff goes to a storm drain, french drain or an open ditch along the road.
    Seepage in a basement sump usually goes to the storm drain.

    If gray water is going into a sump, it should be a sealed pit with a sewage ejector pump or grinder pump to pump it into the sewer line.

    When the big rains hit Seattle recently, raw sewage and toilet paper was spilling out onto the street in some areas. I guess some of the city plumbers are confused too.
    How is rainwater causing sewer lines to overflow in Seattle?

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
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  14. #14

    Default Re: Sump Pump Question

    How is rainwater causing sewer lines to overflow in Seattle?
    The city of Portland still has combination rain drain/ sewer lines in the older parts of town. When it rains heavily, raw sewage flows out into the rivers......


  15. #15
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    Default Re: Sump Pump Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post
    Being slightly acidic you would be helping out the processing....
    AC condensate is acidic?

    "There is no exception to the rule that every rule has an exception." -James Thurber, writer and cartoonist (1894-1961)
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  16. #16
    Widdershins Saunders's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sump Pump Question

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    Sheesh, no wonder our clients get confused.
    Gray water goes to the sewer. Or the septic tank.
    Rain water and runoff goes to a storm drain, french drain or an open ditch along the road.
    Seepage in a basement sump usually goes to the storm drain.

    If gray water is going into a sump, it should be a sealed pit with a sewage ejector pump or grinder pump to pump it into the sewer line.

    When the big rains hit Seattle recently, raw sewage and toilet paper was spilling out onto the street in some areas. I guess some of the city plumbers are confused too.
    How is rainwater causing sewer lines to overflow in Seattle?
    A lot of it has to do with the age of the home.

    There was a time when downspouts, footing drains and basement sumps were allowed to be piped to the sanitary sewer -- At present, there are no requirements to bring these older installations up to present day code.

    Newer construction (25 to 30 years old) require downspouts, footing drains and catch basin to be tied into the storm sewer or day lighted out to the street.


  17. #17
    Widdershins Saunders's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sump Pump Question

    Quote Originally Posted by John Arnold View Post
    AC condensate is acidic?
    AC condensate isn't acidic, but condensate produced from the combustion of NG or LPG is.


  18. #18
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    Default Re: Sump Pump Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Brandon Whitmore View Post
    The city of Portland still has combination rain drain/ sewer lines in the older parts of town. When it rains heavily, raw sewage flows out into the rivers......
    It sure does -- But I still eat the sturgeon and other fish I catch in the Willamette and Columbia rivers.


  19. #19
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    Default Re: Sump Pump Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Widdershins Saunders View Post
    AC condensate isn't acidic, but condensate produced from the combustion of NG or LPG is.
    Right. The OP's question referred to AC condensate, is my point.

    "There is no exception to the rule that every rule has an exception." -James Thurber, writer and cartoonist (1894-1961)
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  20. #20
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    Default Re: Sump Pump Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Barker View Post
    Should you discharge a sump pump to the sewer line? That depends upon how the sump is being used.

    Some may think that I'm being too picky here but when considering an inspector's exposure to liability I think that proper use of terminology is quite important.
    That needs repeating and consideration given to it - especially when Tony said "and is drained into the main sewer line".

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  21. #21
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sump Pump Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Widdershins Saunders View Post
    AC condensate isn't acidic, but condensate produced from the combustion of NG or LPG is.

    Yes you are absolutely right. My post was more of a funny than anything else. I was thinking more toward the end of your comment when I posted.

    Still, more water gets into the sewage system on the way to or at the sewage treatment plant to have to worry about AC condensate getting in.

    As far as the original thread, no sink should drain into the typical sump pump in a basement whether it be just for the AC, heating unit or for ground water.

    If you live out in the counties away from cities in Texas and some other states then you can, in some counties, run gray water outside on the ground or into a barrel and overflow almost anywhere, just not directly into a stream.


  22. #22
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    Default Re: Sump Pump Question

    The other problem I see when discharging AC condensate indirectly into a waste line is when a trapped stand-pipe is being used only for that purpose. The trap can dry out in cooler weather and then you have a sewer gas problem.

    "There is no exception to the rule that every rule has an exception." -James Thurber, writer and cartoonist (1894-1961)
    www.ArnoldHomeInspections.com

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Sump Pump Question

    If you live out in the counties away from cities in Texas and some other states then you can, in some counties, run gray water outside on the ground or into a barrel and overflow almost anywhere, just not directly into a stream.
    We've had a lot of discussion here in Washington State lately about what constitutes Grey Water since the introduction of Brac and similar systems.

    To date, the only sources considered "Grey" and acceptable for reclamation in Washington are bathtubs, showers, lavatories and clothes washers.

    Bar sinks are lumped in with kitchen sinks and laundry sinks, which are all considered sewage.

    The Brac tank in the photo collects water from 3 showers and 1 bathtub and then is used to flush the 3 toilets in the home -- Waste water from the clothes washer was omitted in this installation out of concerns that sudsing might cause the pump to lose its prime.

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  24. #24
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    Default Re: Sump Pump Question

    Quote Originally Posted by John Arnold View Post
    The other problem I see when discharging AC condensate indirectly into a waste line is when a trapped stand-pipe is being used only for that purpose. The trap can dry out in cooler weather and then you have a sewer gas problem.
    The most recent editions of the three primary Plumbing Codes used in the US (UPC, IPC and SPC) now require trap primers on any indirect drain installed for the purpose of capturing condensate.


  25. #25
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    Default Re: Sump Pump Question

    Thanks for the replys, the house is about 85 years old in a rural area and the a/c and bar sink was added 20 some years ago, the sump pump was there before the a/c for water control in the basement with a concrete hole with a loose wood lid. the basement did not appear to have any leaks anywhere and the pump had a float switch with about 6 inches of standing water in the hole.


  26. #26
    Widdershins Saunders's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sump Pump Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Mount View Post
    Thanks for the replys, the house is about 85 years old in a rural area and the a/c and bar sink was added 20 some years ago, the sump pump was there before the a/c for water control in the basement with a concrete hole with a loose wood lid. the basement did not appear to have any leaks anywhere and the pump had a float switch with about 6 inches of standing water in the hole.
    The sump basin in this application should be a sealed and vented basin.


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