Identify this square mass in old ejector pit

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog' started by curious_george, Mar 23, 2014.

  1. curious_george

    curious_george New Member

    Messages:
    13
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    I'm not a plumber or familiar with plumbing but two plumbers I've talked to don't know what this thing is in an ejector pit of a 1950s Chicago house. Anyone know what this is?

    7.jpg

    5.jpg

    Other side of the pit with the inlet for bathroom circled:

    4a.jpg
  2. Smooky

    Smooky Member

    Messages:
    626
    Location:
    NC
    In your case the tank is being used as a small pump tank. But I think the square box is what is called a trapped outlet. The small tank might be able to have been used for a grease trap. The box may have an opening below the water level. There may be a plug in the outside wall of the tank behind this square since it is not flowing out by gravity but is pumped out the top of the tank. In your case I think it serves no purpose unless it was used as an inlet.
  3. curious_george

    curious_george New Member

    Messages:
    13
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    Thanks Smooky. I've been tempted to just clean off all the rust to see if that makes things a little clearer, but also don't wanna cause any leaks if the rust is what's keeping stuff intact. Is there a safe plumbing-approved product I could use to clean the rust off?

    From what I can tell, I don't see how there could be anything on the other side of the square box. The only inlet is the circled one from the third pic (which serves the toilet/sink/shower/floor-drain). But...you mentioned it probably serves no purpose unless it was used as in inlet. Is it possible that this could be a groundwater inlet?

    For reference, this is Chicago where we have combined sewer + storm drains, so it's possible this pit is being used as an ejector + sump. Just have not been able to determine if it is & wondering if by identifying this square box that it'll help.
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2014
  4. Smooky

    Smooky Member

    Messages:
    626
    Location:
    NC
    On the surface of the "square mass" you can see a round clean-out cover. Try to clean it with a wire brush. You may be able to open it and see if the outlet was used or not. Another option might be to pump the water down low enough so you can see up into this traped outlet. You will need to use a mirror and a light. I have an inspection mirror I got at Advanced Auto or somewhere, I use for such things.

    http://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200303701_200303701

    https://www.google.com/search?q=wir...urce=og&sa=N&tab=wi&ei=HTUwU7fyD-Kf0AGeuIDoDg
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2014
  5. nhmaster3015

    nhmaster3015 Master Plumber

    Messages:
    836
    Location:
    The granite state
    Its a baffle. The poo comes in at the top and is forced down to the bottom of the pit. I
  6. curious_george

    curious_george New Member

    Messages:
    13
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    Thanks for the terminology....allowed me to find another thread http://www.terrylove.com/forums/showthread.php?27922-Question-for-SewerRatz in which which the members in that thread called a "catch basin".

    Based on what SewerRatz said, the kitchen sink, laundry, floor drains, and storm water drained into this pit, and this "square mass" which I can now call a baffle or trapped outlet as Smooky indicated, coincides with the above line "there was a trap on the outlet pipe which headed back into the building sewer". Makes sense as the kitchen is directly above this pit.

    So I guess originally this was a pit for the kitchen, laundry, floor drains, and storm water which went to the building sewer via a trap/baffle at the outlet. Then someone came along and tied a basement bathroom into the inlet & threw an ejector pump in which pumped sewage up & out to a different building sewer line.

    I am questioning if the baffle/trap is really just clogged up & rusted or if it may have been intentionally sealed/filled-in once they converted the "catch basin" into an ejector pit? Anyone have any additional info on what common things Chicagoans did with their catch basins?

    Picture of one in the other thread:
    [​IMG]
  7. SewerRatz

    SewerRatz Illinois Licensed Plumber

    Messages:
    1,705
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    The units posted are normally used in garages and have three of these piped in series. They are called separator basins. The water from the garage drains enter the first basin and the oils and such would float up to the top as the water would find it's way up the baffle and flow out to the sewer. Yours having an ejector pump in it makes me wonder if the outlet of that trap was blocked, or someone tied in a basement bathroom to the sink line feeding the separator and decided to use a pump to move the waste out.
  8. curious_george

    curious_george New Member

    Messages:
    13
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    I'm leaning towards your second hypothesis - I think when they decided to add the bathroom, they just "re-purposed" the catch basin into an ejector basin. Just don't know how to really tell that, especially since after the rain from the past two days, the pit fills up with water with no basement use at all (and the furnace condensate line redirected into a bucket).
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