City sewer issues creating backfill in home

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bbp

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We did many conversions thru the years, outside pit that house drained into then pumped into city sewer, essentially a "force main". Expensive,yes, effective,yes. BUT it also makes your neighbor the next lowest point.
 

frodo

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We did many conversions thru the years, outside pit that house drained into then pumped into city sewer, essentially a "force main". Expensive,yes, effective,yes. BUT it also makes your neighbor the next lowest point.
Exactly
have a moisture sensor turn off the water till the sewer goes down
inconvenient? YEP. but it would work.
 

Diehard

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Is the washing machine standpipe the only open drain in the basement?

If so, I would try teeing into the existing standpipe with a clear piece of PVC pipe, and extending it up to about a foot from the ceiling or floor joist. Have the sensor mounted in a tee, on the clear pipe, a few inches higher than the existing standpipe.

Securely plug the lower standpipe and remove plug only when in use.
2 in Test Plug.jpg
Never remove plug if in alarm state.

So now, if the back pressure is high enough as to reach the top of the clear pipe, as the result of toilets flushing, etc., you will know it. In which case, then you could use that second pipe to run a hose or pipe from it to your existing sump.

But if the pressure is not high enough to reach the top of that second standpipe(when water fixtures above are used), that means the pressure from the first floor fixtures would exert a higher pressure back against that back water valve, causing it to open.

water-seeks-its-own-level.jpg

A relatively small expenditure but you'd end up with a better idea of amount of back pressure and gain a way of directing flow neatly to the existing sump.o_O
 

Jeff Handy

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What about eliminating the sewer connection to the washing machine?

Cap off that standpipe, and maybe still install the alarm sensor in there to alert for when the backwater valve closes.

Run the washing machine discharge into the sump pump, and you apparently already have a commercial pump down in there.

Washing machine into sump pump is probably not to code, but it is extremely common to do this, and the discharge goes to a combined city sewer anyway.

Put a fairly air tight cover over the sump, just because laundry lint tends to accumulate and rot in there.

Or just rinse it and pump it out twice a year if it gets smelly.

This won’t fix the whole problem, but it eliminates the escape point for backed up
crap.

Does the sump discharge into the sewer?
Maybe you can just discharge it onto the grass, that is what most towns want nowadays, anyway.
Laundry water won’t hurt anything, and legal or not, until they fix the screwy sewer, don’t ask don’t tell, as they say.
 

frodo

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What about eliminating the sewer connection to the washing machine?

Cap off that standpipe, and maybe still install the alarm sensor in there to alert for when the backwater valve closes.

Run the washing machine discharge into the sump pump, and you apparently already have a commercial pump down in there.

Washing machine into sump pump is probably not to code, but it is extremely common to do this, and the discharge goes to a combined city sewer anyway.

Put a fairly air tight cover over the sump, just because laundry lint tends to accumulate and rot in there.

Or just rinse it and pump it out twice a year if it gets smelly.

This won’t fix the whole problem, but it eliminates the escape point for backed up
crap.

Does the sump discharge into the sewer?
Maybe you can just discharge it onto the grass, that is what most towns want nowadays, anyway.
Laundry water won’t hurt anything, and legal or not, until they fix the screwy sewer, don’t ask don’t tell, as they say.
Jeff. Your Idea is a sound one with one draw back.
When you cap off the washer. You really have not done anything. if upstairs flushes the toilet, or takes a shower then instead of the spillage being contained on the floor of the basement. it will overflow the shower up stairs.in the ceiling, walls. yadda yada
The city needs to fix the problem.
in the meantime. I suggest turning off the water so it can not overflow.
MY THINKING. Is the tenants will contact the department of health to complain the landlord is not providing water. Then the landlord, after being summoned to court. can kick the blame back at the city.
If the op was smart, he would also have a news reporter in the courtroom
The city is not going to fix this issue unless it is publically shamed/ forced into doing so
 

Diehard

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Common applications of backwater valves is to protect the basement levels, for obvious reasons. And allow the upper levels to flow separately and connect to the main drain downstream of the basement backwater valve.

The question then follows will the upper level fixtures still flow. In most cases they will. It all depends on the amount of back pressure differential.

Now in our case we have the option(I think) to install a small backwater valve on the washing machine drain line. Trouble is, to do that without first finding out if the back pressure from the street is great enough to cause back up to the toilet and showers can be quite messy. More so than putting up a clear test pipe that can be arranged to overflow to the existing sump.

If you don't understand this design philosophy feel free to laugh OR offer some corrective criticism for discussion.

backwaterValves.jpg
 
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frodo

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You drawing does not solve the problem.

The City sewer plugs up
the building drain backs up. A 4'' pipe with a 10' head exerts 5 pounds of pressure
His building drain is 4' off the floor. so the head pressure is approximately 3 psi AT 1st floor level

If you cap off the washer the 1st floor will back up into the shower

I do not care how many valves you put on the pipe
when you add water to the pipe and it has nowhere to go, it will back up
When you stop adding water The pipe stops overflowing

If you don't understand this design philosophy feel free to laugh OR offer some corrective criticism for discussion.

I already said what needs to be done. You do not agree so you ignore it
 

Diehard

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OK..I see where you are coming from
That would work. now let's talk MONEY
To do what you suggest, Which I agree would work
would cost the Op thousands. do you agree?
instead of that expense. would you agree that spending less than $1000.00 would be a better option?
Changed your mind?

Of course if the sewer gets plugged(depending where it gets plugged) nothing is going anywhere.

All my comments have been suggestions on different approaches and how they could work or at least test what kind of back pressure from the street the OP is being subjected to.

BTW...10 feet of head is 10 x 0.433 = 4.3 psi. Doesn't make any difference what size the pipe is. Head pressure is head pressure.

True..."when you add water to the pipe and it has nowhere to go, it will back up "

Yeah...if the city sewer gets plugged, it wouldn't matter how much distance there is between the upstairs fixtures and the pipe in the basement.

With comments like, "
I do not care how many valves you put on the pipe
when you add water to the pipe and it has nowhere to go, it will back up
When you stop adding water The pipe stops overflowing "
only proves you don't really get the point of my various scenarios and/or you like to make, what you think, are funny comments.

So your saying, I guess, that all the problems were based on a plugged sewer out in the street. That was obvious not the case. Back when I mentioned the use of a sensor to alarm when it's closed, OP mentioned, "the alarm could happen anytime. If it rains really bad overnight...".

I wouldn't say what you suggested is what needs to be done, nor did I ignore it. Of course it's one way of handling it. Whether the OP feels he would want to do that is another thing. But he does have that option to consider, thanks to you.
 

Diehard

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By the way...that drawing, in Post #28, was not meant to solve any problems. It was only to show what is a common approach for protecting the basement level only and letting the upper levels stay in operation. Assuming of course that they are able to.
 

frodo

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Hi all -- I own a duplex that I rent out in Gloucester City, NJ. The city itself has a combined sewer and my duplex is at the end of the street, right where the sh*t, literally, rolls down hill.

I've had the house for about 18 months and there has easily been 10 times where water ends up in the basement.

The other day, the city sewer just inexplicably got clogged and since I'm the first pipe before, my pipe fills up. The checkvalve does its job but it prevents the house waste from exiting to the sewer, and then the backfill just finds the path of least resistance -- typically coming out of the washing machine (gross!) and the drain pipe which is obviously somewhat open for the flex pipe between washer and the drainage.
So your saying, I guess, that all the problems were based on a plugged sewer out in the street. That was obvious not the case.
According to the OP Post #1 Says that IS THE CASE

Re read it, He says the CITY SEWER backs up
He says the backflow preventer is new and is working
He says the sewage is due to TENANTS using the drains WHILE the city sewer is backed up
A backflow preventer ONLY STOPS BACKFLOW
the problem is the city sewer

SO YES Diehard, No amount of backflows are going to fix this problem
he has only 3 choices
1] get the city to fix the sewer
2] stop using the sewer when a sewer backup occurs
3] spend thousands on a sewage pit and sewage ejector
the one he has is inadequate for sewage

the economical of the 3 choices is to turn the water off when the sewer backs up using a sensor and zone valves on the water inlet


bring it on
 

frodo

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1. An alarm on the backwater valve -- I'm not sure if this is what you mean: Deluge Backwater Valve Flood Alarm - - Amazon.com Essentially just creating a loud alarm to warn the tenant to chill out with water.

Problem I see with that is #1, the alarm could happen anytime. If it rains really bad overnight and the alarm goes off, I could see having a tenant being unhappy or even ignoring it.
Per OP...."the alarm could happen anytime. If it rains really bad overnight...".

10-4 good buddy
ANNND
what point are you trying to make? try using a verb or 2,
The OP has rejected the alarm idea.
he clearly says the tenants will ignore it.
try again,
 

Diehard

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ANNND
what point are you trying to make? try using a verb or 2,
The OP has rejected the alarm idea.
he clearly says the tenants will ignore it.
try again,
The point being very simply this...

I said, "So your saying, I guess, that all the problems were based on a plugged sewer out in the street. That was obvious not the case."

Your reply, "According to the OP Post #1 Says that IS THE CASE"

I can't discuss details when they keep changing and for what reason, I'm not sure. If you missed some details, no big deal. Don't keep going in different directions.
So if you don't mind, I think I'll opt out of this discussion and stick to responding to the OP.


 

frodo

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The point being very simply this...

I said, "So your saying, I guess, that all the problems were based on a plugged sewer out in the street. That was obvious not the case."

Your reply, "According to the OP Post #1 Says that IS THE CASE"

I can't discuss details when they keep changing and for what reason, I'm not sure. If you missed some details, no big deal. Don't keep going in different directions.
So if you don't mind, I think I'll opt out of this discussion and stick to responding to the OP.
Only one changing details is you my Friend

The OP. Has CLEARLY stated in his first post. That the city sewer is backing up
That detail has not changed. My opinion has not changed
My ''direction'' has not changed. It has been the same from the first post.
The only one who has changing details is you.
So I guess it is a good idea that you run along.
 

Diehard

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Her you go my friend...
install a hydronic Zone valve on the main water line into the building
Install a moisture sensor at the washing machine stand pipe
have the sensor tell the zone valve to close when moisture is detected
and open when dry
 

misterjoe

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I didn't see the second page of back and forth, so frodo and Diehard, thanks for the passionate discussion. You are both correct -- frodo is saying the backup happens in the city sewer, which is correct. Newly installed backwater valve takes care of that, but then any use inside can overflow if it reaches that point. I assume one shower when the city sewer is clogged is all it's going to take to fill that string of pipes and find the lowest resistance point.

I have been offered a backwater valve on the line with the washer, but then again, it'll just flow back into the house. No thanks -- would rather have it on the basement floor nobody is really using, honestly. Also Diehard is correct in that the existing sump has nothing piped into it and it is there only for floor issues. The sump discharges to the sidewalk outside the house (slight downslope, so any water hits the slope, rolls down the curb, and then down to the sewer).

Essentially, are we all thinking the city must do something, and/or I need a closed sewage tank that would pump sewage from the home into the line out to the sewer -- would all sewage route to that first and then turn on when the level is reached?

I would love for the city to do something, I just don't know what they could do. I've considered speaking to the Mayor directly, but keep in mind I want to do business in this town beyond this home. I only own this one property with a second under contract if this coronavirus dies down. So suing the city or making a mockery of them -- thats affecting people I may come into contact with in the future for permits, inspections, etc. I'm not trying to make enemies, obviously, but I would love to be able to have a conversation with city leaders about my issue and ask how they can resolve it...
 
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frodo

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here is an idea of what you will be looking at
If keeping the property
I would recommend the dual pump with lead lag, It saves wear and tear on the pumps



If you are not keeping the property, go with one pump and let the other guy worry about replacing it.



either way. you are looking at 8 /10 grand
 

Diehard

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@misterjoe... please understand that those examples that frodo was so kind to get for you are just examples. As you can see they are quite different from each other relative to flow vs pressure and shutoff heads.
 
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