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Thread: Sewage Ejection Pump Problems

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member Zombie13's Avatar
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    Default Sewage Ejection Pump Problems

    About 7 years ago I had a sewage crock/ejection pump installed by a plumber. It has worked flawlessly until about a month ago. Truth be told, it still works, but now it doesn't seem to be ejecting completely. It runs for the same amount of time, and sends a large 'slug' of stuff up the pipe. This makes it to the main drain, and you can hear it run down. But after the pump shuts off, a large quantity of stuff comes back and rests on the check valve.

    Does that make sense? It almost seems like there is a blockage in the pipe, but not a complete blockage? Could this be it? I know the vent is good, and I know it is ejecting because I opened the crock and watched it. Other than a partial clog, I don't know what else it could be.

    Thanks for any ideas.
    Z.

  2. #2
    Homeowner Thatguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zombie13 View Post
    it doesn't seem to be ejecting completely.
    Measuring the pump PSI and GPM could prove difficult so measure the voltage input and the current draw and compare it to full load specifications.

    Post what you can on your pump. Usually there are clues as to what should probably be checked/tested.

    Maybe it wasn't sized correctly
    http://www.gouldspumps.com/pol_0012.html
    Last edited by Thatguy; 11-28-2010 at 02:26 PM.

  3. #3
    DIY Junior Member Zombie13's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thatguy View Post
    Measuring the pump PSI and GPM could prove difficult so measure the voltage input and the current draw and compare it to full load specifications.

    Post what you can on your pump. Usually there are clues as to what should probably be checked/tested.

    Maybe it wasn't sized correctly
    http://www.gouldspumps.com/pol_0012.html
    I don't think I spoke correctly when I said it wasn't ejecting correctly. I can work on getting those specs, but it seems like it ejects completely but everything it ejects doesn't make it into the final house drain. It's almost like it's being reflected back to the sewage crock.

    As far as sizing, this setup has been in place for 7 years and, as far as this bathroom is concerned, the load has not significantly increased. This pump is only for 1 full bathroom, not a whole house or laundry facilities or anything like that.

    Z.

  4. #4
    Master Plumber-Gas Fitter shacko's Avatar
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    Sounds like a partial stoppage to me, it also sounds like you don't have your discharge pumping down into the pipe?

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    DIY Junior Member Zombie13's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shacko View Post
    Sounds like a partial stoppage to me, it also sounds like you don't have your discharge pumping down into the pipe?
    Pipe leaves the crock, goes up into the rafters, flows along the ceiling to the main wet soffet, then turns and flows along the back wall until it meets with the main house drain just below the 8(?) way connector for all the other house lines. The crock/pump was added well after the house was built and that was the way the plumber who installed the crock wanted to do it.

    What would the best way be to check for or remove the blockage? Snake?

    Z.

  6. #6
    DIY Senior Member dlarrivee's Avatar
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    By rafters you mean joists?

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    DIY Junior Member Zombie13's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dlarrivee View Post
    By rafters you mean joists?
    Yes, sorry. Joists. The boards that make up the floor above it.

    Z.

  8. #8
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    The water ALWAYS "comes back", or rather, never leaves the pipe, so when the pump shuts off, whatever water was above the check valve stays there. There will be a momentary reversal of flow as the check valve closes, but the amount of water above the check valve is ALWAYS the same, and there is NO ROOM, or vacant space, for water to "come back" into. Therefore, your initial diagnosis is faulty, and you have something else at work if there is actually a problem with the system. And, I hope you have something other than a "crock", since that would be a vitrified clay pit, and they are seldom, if ever, "watertight".
    Last edited by hj; 11-29-2010 at 05:12 AM.

  9. #9
    DIY Junior Member Zombie13's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hj View Post
    The water ALWAYS "comes back", or rather, never leaves the pipe, so when the pump shuts off, whatever water was above the check valve stays there. There will be a momentary reversal of flow as the check valve closes, but the amount of water above the check valve is ALWAYS the same, and there is NO ROOM, or vacant space, for water to "come back" into. Therefore, your initial diagnosis is faulty, and you have something else at work if there is actually a problem with the system. And, I hope you have something other than a "crock", since that would be a vitrified clay pit, and they are seldom, if ever, "watertight".
    Crock was what the plumber that installed it called it. It is a plastic ( or plastic like) bucket like thing. It isn't clay.

    When the pump shuts off, there is a 2 second (-ish) delay before you hear the water sloshing in the pipe starting out soft, and getting louder until you can hear what sounds like a large quantity of water collect on the check valve.

    Z.

  10. #10
    Master Plumber Redwood's Avatar
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    Sounds like the check valve no worky.

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    DIY Junior Member Zombie13's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Redwood View Post
    Sounds like the check valve no worky.
    But shouldn't the check valve keep stuff from flowing back into the crock (or whatever it's called)? It sits like 6 inches above it and has like 7 feet of pipe after it before the pipe bends to go thru the joist cavity. I think it's doing that.

    Z.

  12. #12
    Homeowner Thatguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zombie13 View Post
    It has worked flawlessly until about a month ago.
    it doesn't seem to be ejecting completely.
    It runs for the same amount of time
    stuff comes back and rests on the check valve.
    This tells me that the slugs originally had higher momentum and higher speed. Bad pump and/or blockage and/or pipe pitch change?
    I guess the return quantity along with drain pipe ID gives you some idea of the location of a blockage if there is one.
    Last edited by Thatguy; 11-29-2010 at 01:41 PM.

  13. #13
    DIY Junior Member Zombie13's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thatguy View Post
    This tells me that the slugs originally had higher momentum and higher speed. Bad pump and/or blockage and/or pipe pitch change?
    Talk to me about pitch change please? I did notice sometime recently that the sounds made when the pump ran changed. It used to clunk very loudly when it stopped running. Sometimes multiple times. Sorta like water (or air) hammer in the water pipes. That stopped and now it just runs and clicks off quietly. Could this have change have been the result of a pitch change?

  14. #14
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    That is why your diagnosis is faulty, because the water does NOT shoot up above the check valve and then fall back. The pipe is ALWAYS full of water, and the check valve just keeps most of it IN the pipe instead of draining back into the basin. IF water IS flowing backwards it is because the check valve is not working, not because water is falling back onto it.

  15. #15
    Homeowner Thatguy's Avatar
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    Ditto: no clunk, no valve closure. Simple fix. You lucked out.

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