Sump pump discharge pipe

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by bakechad, Oct 31, 2005.

  1. bakechad

    bakechad New Member

    Oct 31, 2005
    I have a 1.5†sump pump discharge pipe that comes out of my basement above ground. See photo at:

    It then goes underground into a 4†PVC pipe for about 8 feet. Then it makes a 90 degree turn and runs along the back of the house past our garage. At this point it makes another 90 degree turn and takes about a 60 foot run to the storm drain in the street. The total length of pipe is 130 feet. It is forced to take this route because my backyard has a large hill that slopes towards the house. At the top of that hill is a highway, so I take quite a bit of run off. The pipe cannot go out the front of the house due to local code issues.

    My original problem was that the joint at the first 90 degree turn was seeping water. This went on for about a year and I slowly began to see the pipe as the dirt and grass were washed away. Then I noticed the pipe was cracked.

    I immediately called a plumber. They came out and discovered the pipe was cracked from the house to the first 90 degree turn. They replaced this length of pipe for $350 (the hourly rate is $120 per hour plus parts). They then ran water down the pipe and it flowed for 10 minutes with no problem. Then it began to pool at the first 90 degree turn. They told me I needed a camera inspection of the pipe to determine whether it was being caused by a blockage or pitch problem.

    The next day they came with the camera and charged me $275. They said there is no blockage and that there is not enough pitch in the pipe for the water to make it to the street and it would freeze in the winter time and re-crack the pipe. They said the pipe needs to be dug out and a new pipe buried deeper with more of a pitch. They have given me an estimate of $5000 to complete this. To say the least I suffered sticker shock!

    At this point my plan is to ride out winter and see what happens. While I am no handyman, I figure to save $5000 I can get some people to help me in the spring and dig it out ourselves.

    Can anyone give me their opinion of my situation and the validity of the plumber's assessment and pricing?

  2. Dunbar Plumbing

    Dunbar Plumbing Master Plumber

    Apr 18, 2005
    Service Plumber, Outdoor Temperature Relief Owner
    Northern Kentucky/Greater Cincinnati Area
    Since we cannot see your grade, the layout for the ability for equipment to get in and access the work area, it is almost impossible to gauge if the price is right. Understand that if you want the piping in the same exact spot it lays now, I would venture to say that the old piping will be removed and pitched away. Make sure that when they do the work that grillage is used for instant compaction at the bottom and around the piping so that the backfill doesn't create bellies or low spots in the new piping system. 57's, 6/10's, lime dust, pea gravel, bank run, or lime dust should suffice. There are some escavators that can cut the bottom of the ditch level to the pitch of the pipe, but very rare and the grillage will prove worth every penny to maintain proper pitch of the piping, years down the road.
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  4. chassis

    chassis Engineer

    Sep 12, 2005
    SE Pennsylvania
    I experienced something similar in a previous house. I was charged $2000 to resite 60' of 6" plastic drain tile. 4 non-US citizens of southern North American descent came and spent a total of 4 hours to do the work. So $2000 for 16 man hours works out to $125/hr. I'll bet the hourly wage of the workers was around $10/hr. Materials for the job were $50 max. I was selling the house and the contractor smelled money, and he found it.

    But enough about me. A better picture of your entire site and its grading is needed for the folks here to give you their $0.02 worth of advice. If you can post a sketch or big-picture photos showing your house, your lot and the terrain it would help. Building up your planting beds to cover the pipe is one option to avoid digging it down. You need proper pitch, regardless of the above- vs. below-grade question.
  5. Master Plumber Mark

    Master Plumber Mark Master Plumber

    Feb 6, 2005
    Sensitivity trainer.. plumber of mens souls
    indianapolis indiana - land of the free, home of
    you are getting took

    the pipe is a 4 inch and can literally freeze up
    half way and will still work just fine.....

    this is not brain surgery here......
    pitch is a very easy thing to fix

    you could very easily jsut eliminate that elbow that
    the 11/2 pipie is going into and raise that 4 inch up to
    level with the smaller pipe
    that alone would give you about another foot of pitch
    right from the start....

    I ondt know how deep this is buried in the yard,

    but 5k is a lot of money just for about $350 in pipe
    and a dummie diging on a tractor
    all day.

    again, I dont know how deep the whole line is, but a shovel
    works fiine for shallow digging and I am sure its pretty
    shallow up where it ties into the sump pump line...

    you could almost raise it up a foot on that end with very littel
    effort at all.......use bricks to shim it up to the new hieght.
    with a little work with a shovel, I would bet you could at least
    get the first 10 feet up higher....

    you can rent a small tractor for 150 a day if you really
    want to make a larger dent into it...

    you can buy a great level for 15 bucks....

    the pvc pipe is about $350

    this isnt very hard, just dirty

    or just wait till next spring ,
    its probably oversized
    enough that it will never ever stop up or freeze up either.
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2005
  6. j.moser

    j.moser New Member

    Oct 31, 2005
    some one has had too much to drink!

    :) You know I get real upset when I hear of contractors trying to take people for a ride!!!

    Anyways as most have said already grade is important but even some one without too much knowledge can use a stringline and put a 1/2 inch of fall in a 10' strech or so. do it yourself and save the $. Goto a rental place and rent a small escavator for a couple hundred a day and do it your self for less than a grand...
  7. sumppumppimp

    sumppumppimp New Member

    Sep 23, 2005
    If you have just a little bit of handy man in you, I would dig up the 4" pipe from your house to where it goes behind the garage and turns at this 90 to go the storm drain and replace it with 1 1/2" pipe, your sump pump should be able to handle that run.
    Where ever your 1 1/2" pipe dumps into the 4", the sump pump is done with it, gravity is going to have to take over from there. The sump pump is not going to have enough GPM's to fill the 4" pipe! :D

    Just an Idea for you, hope this helps you out!
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 1, 2005
  8. jeffreyhel

    jeffreyhel New Member

    Nov 4, 2005
    Your problem is not a new one. I see it all the time and I will tell you that if you located where you have freezing temperatures the pipe sooner or later will freeze and damage will occur. With that said sump pumps are to be pumped immediately outside of a building and terminated there. No solid connections to any other piping. If you use a gutter pipe , under gound pvc pipe or any other piping to convey this water away from your building make sure it is has an large air gap so when the line in the underground pipe freezes the pump can still discharge the water outside of the house around the airgap.
  9. uncleal

    uncleal New Member

    May 31, 2006
    Why don't you try snakeing a peice of 1" PEX through the 4"? Doesn't sound like you need the 4" for volume. The PEX will resist the freezing fracture problem. Why is the 4" cracking, the pipe would have to be full when it freezes? Perhaps you can lay pipe just above the low spot.
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