Hole in sump pit wall and other problems...

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Recently I discovered that there is a tear in the side wall of my sump pit and a small hole where the bottom of the pit meets the wall of the pit.

This was discovered when my home alarm sump monitor went off because my sump pump was not working. It runs and moves water in the pit, but nothing is getting pushed up the pipe. I checked the discharge point of the pipe thinking that it might be frozen over but can stick a long screwdriver up the pipe without hitting any obstruction.

It has been below freezing for over a week now so I'm not certain that the pipe isn't frozen elsewhere, but I don't know much about this having moved recently from California to the Indianapolis area.

We raised the issue of the tear in the pit wall and hole to our home builder and they said "The holes in the pit itself do not pose a problem. They do provide quicker access for water under the slab to get into the pit where it can be pumped away. In fact it is not uncommon to put holes in a sump pit for this reason."

However, it seems to make sense to me that with the pump not running properly, water has been leaking from the pit into the ground underneath my basement floor which would seem to be a really bad thing.

Any info or advice on the above would be appreciated. You can see pictures of the pit at: http://www.kodakgallery.com/I.jsp?c=iysh2g7.a5cj1y0v&x=0&h=1&y=4beewo

Just click on the picture. You don't have to register or anything.


Here's the e-mail I sent my building in case the story adds any value...

Hi Donna,

Hope you had a good weekend and enjoyed the Super
Bowl... unfortunately I had to miss most of it because
of dealing with a failed sump system...

Fortunately we have our home alarm system monitoring
our sump pump and the alarm sounded at 2:00 PM on
Sunday afternoon.

I checked the system and the pit was definitely
approaching full. The pump motor makes noise and
swirls water, but it was not ejecting any water up the
pipe. I checked the pipe outside and there is no ice
or anything obstructing the pipe and I can actually
push a long screw driver into the pipe confirming that
it is free of obstructions. Not that there couldn't
ever be one given the fact that whoever installed it
has it dumping into a hole where the pipe is pretty
much at the bottom of the hole. Guess I was lucky that
it had not rained for awhile before the snow

Now for the fun part, after talking to some people
knowledgeable about sump pumps, it sounds like the
pump is probably bad, but since there isn't any real
rain on the horizon and no way that was I going to get
much done on Sunday, I started trying to empty the pit
by hand. This wasn't working very well so I bought a
small drill powered pump to help. This worked enough
to figure out that something was causing a lot of
water to return to the pit which was weird since there
hasn't been any rain or snow melt to speak of

After buying a much bigger emergency pump I discovered
that the side wall of the sump pit is cracked and
water from outside of the sump system was entering the
sump pit through the crack.

Once we got the stream from the crack to taper off and
get to the bottom of the pit (after about 8 hours of
work) we discovered that there is also a hole in the
bottom of the pit, which was returning water from
outside of the system.

Now, it is my understanding that underneath the
concrete floor of my basement is a gravel/sand base.
From the holes in the side of the sump pit, combined
with the amount of water that came out of the pit, and
the amount of stuff growing in the pit, along with the
amount of rust on the sump pump itself, it is readily
apparent that this hasn't been working for quite some
time, but the water level hadn't risen enough to trip
our alarm system... instead water has been leaking out
of the pit in to the gravel base under the concrete
floor of my basement, which sounds like a really bad

It's about 1:25 AM on Monday, and I have to catch a
plane in the morning, so I'm about finished for the
night. Given the fact that I personally poured about
200 gallons of water down my toilet by hand in
addition to what I ejected outside using the emergency
pump (rated at 1800 GPH, running for about 2 hours)
I'm thinking that my basement won't flood today...
However, somebody needs to look into this ASAP and
figure out a way to tell how much damage has been done
to the foundation and base under my house due to water
saturation in addition to repairing the sump pit

Note, there could be a variety of things clogging the
pump... while pumping the water out it was apparent
that people had been using the pit as a trash can... I
could see orange peels, and there are photos where you
can make out a screwdriver as well as a piece of that
big black flex piping. Which by the way, one of the
two drain pipes going into the sump pit did not have a
cover on it like the other pipe. I understand that
this is standard for keeping crap out of the sump pump
to avoid situations like this. God only knows what is
actually in the pump and pipe.

You can view pictures of some of the highlights at:
you don't have to register to provide any personal
info to view them, just click the picture on the page
that pops up.


Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx
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New England
The water is coming from under the house, so a hole in the pit will make no difference - there are often drain pipes coming into the sides of the pit, as well as water coming up from the bottom. Depending on where and how the line runs from the pump, it could be frozen somewhere along it. The impeller of the pump could be bad if it isn't moving water. The check valve could be stuck. It could be air locked. It might not have enough head pressure to lift the water where you want it to go. It could be sitting down in the mud on the bottom and plugged up with crud.
Hey, wait a minute.

This is awkward, but...

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