Septic/Effluent plumbing questions

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      Hello,I have a question….My house was built in summer 1995 and after three years the cast iron 1/2 hp effluent pump died in my effluent tank. I though this was premature, but just bought a 4/10hp pump and installed it last summer. Well apparently that pump has failed because my warning buzzer went off and I have effluent coming above ground.I am going to replace the pump with a 1/2hp pump this time because maybe the 4/10 just wore it self out it was plastic cheap one from the local hardware store.I am wondering though if it is plumbed properly by the contractors originally. Should there be a check valve? There is only one outlet that the pump pumps through. I also noticed that there is a 1/2inch drilled hole in the PVC pipe down near the connection at the pump. Is that nessary and what is it for?When I install the new pump I want to install the check valve to prevent the water flowing back in which it does now. Also the plug for the pump is mounted on the inside rim of the effluent tank. It is just a regular household outlet. Is this proper? It looks unsafe and prone to decay.Please reply Thanks Edward

    • #308263

      : Hello,: I have a question….: My house was built in summer 1995 and after three years the cast iron 1/2 hp effluent pump died in my effluent tank. I though this was premature, but just bought a 4/10hp pump and installed it last summer. Well apparently that pump has failed because my warning buzzer went off and I have effluent coming above ground.: : I am going to replace the pump with a 1/2hp pump this time because maybe the 4/10 just wore it self out it was plastic cheap one from the local hardware store.: I am wondering though if it is plumbed properly by the contractors originally. Should there be a check valve? There is only one outlet that the pump pumps through. I also noticed that there is a 1/2inch drilled hole in the PVC pipe down near the connection at the pump. Is that nessary and what is it for?: When I install the new pump I want to install the check valve to prevent the water flowing back in which it does now. Also the plug for the pump is mounted on the inside rim of the effluent tank. It is just a regular household outlet. Is this proper? It looks unsafe and prone to decay.: Please reply : Thanks : EdwardEdward, the size of the pump is determined by the hydraulic head that must be overcome in your particular system. If the original pump performed adaquately for 3 years, and assuming it was properly sized, that size pump should be used when the pump needs to be replaced.I have installed many effluent pump systems in my career over the past 24 years, and have a preference for the Zoeller Sewage Effluent Pump. The hole in the pipe just above the discharge was placed there so that the effluent in the pipe drains back into the pumping pit. This is important in areas that are subject to freezing. It may be that the original pump had a check valve in it, and the design of the system requires that the effluent discharge pipe drains back into the pump pit. The Zoeller pump (model 53) that I use does not have a check valve in it, and therefor, the hole in the pipe is not required. The effluent drains back through the pump after the pump shuts off.On one system that I repaired, the pump was replaced 3 times in 3 years. This particular system had a single gravel-filled leach field, and it was completely saturated. The water level in the leach field was above the inlet elevation of the pressure effluent pipe. Well, the original installer failed to provide a vacuum breaker in the apogee (highest point)of the effluent pipe line, so the pump was siphoning effluent back into the pump pit causing the pump to constantly cycle, thus the pump was running all time, intermittently. I repaired the system by installing a vacuum breaker at the leach field, and installed an alternating leach field system. The effluent flow is alternated annually by manually turning 2-1.5 ball valves. The ball valves and the vacuum breaker valves are in a JUMBO plastic irrigation valve box (approximately 18x15x12). This annual maintenance duty is performed on July 4th, SEWAGE INDEPENDENCE DAY. Celebrate your independence of the sewer grid by performing the various maintenance requirements of your system.The Zoeller pump that I use is controlled by a separate float switch that I connect to the effluent discharge pipe with plastic wire ties at the appropriate elevation. Do not use the plastic tie provided if it has a metal rivet securing the cord holder to the tie. This metal rivet will corrode in a very short period of time. Avoid the use of a pump that has the float switch attached to the side of the pump. The float switch cord, and the pump cord comes with a piggy back plug. I always cut the plugs off the pump cord and the switch cord, and hard wire the switch cord wires in series with the black wire of the pump cord. Corrosion of the plug causes a low voltage situation and eventually the pump motor burns out.Cutting the plugs off the cords voids the warranty on the pump, but the burn out usually occurs after the warranty expires anyway. You may try hard wiring the float switch cord to the pump cord on the existing pump to see if corrosion of the connection is the proplem.The electrical connections on my systems (the pump cord, the float switch cord and the high level alarm cord) are made in a waterproof electrical box, outside of the pump pit. The waterproof box is placed in a jumbo irrigation valve box so that the lid of the valve box is at the surface of the ground and is easily accessable. Any pump will eventually fail, so WHEN it does, easy access to the connections will be appreciated.As a public service to the rest of your community, please consider informing the local health department that approved the installation of this improper electrical connection, and any other discrepancies found on your system so that they may correct future installations.Good luck on trouble shooting your system problem, and let me know what you find. Feel free to e-mail a message or you can call me a (970) 482 7460. JWA

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