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Thread: Need guidance, major issue with water from basement floor

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member Itoldyouso's Avatar
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    Default Need guidance, major issue with water from basement floor

    Plumber opened up my basement slab, practically cut the basement floor in half, to install new cast iron pipes for sewer. This was part of a project to disconnect my basement drains to prevent sewer back up. After the rains in Illinois last night, I have water coming up in cracks in the slab, around where the new cast iron comes out of the floor for the stack and where the couple week old concrete joins with the existing slab. The basement never had hydrostatic water leaks until after this project. The slab was cut open for the new lines in multiple areas. Any idea what could have happened? Prior to the work, would the old slab have handled the pressure of a high water table? Supposedly video inspection doesn't show any issues with the new pipes and even after the everything is draining, water is still coming up the floor cracks. The cracks which seemed to appear after the jackhammering for the trenches. I do not have a sump pump and no idea if we have exterior drain tiles. The plumber claims I just need interior drain tiles. That's fine, but why now after being in the house 10 years with no slab leakage. I need help (Chicago area) and would really appreciate local recommendations to diagnose and stop this water.

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    Plumber Sean Beck's Avatar
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    Im no expert when it comes to weeping tile and storm drainage as i'm from England and we don't have basements, so i'm sure someone will correct me if i'm wrong. Maybe when you had your new drains laid, the plumber disconnected your downspouts or weeping tile, and let them drain into the ground.

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    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    Maybe now that the pipes are fixed, they aren't draining away ground water.

    I don't consider concrete of any shape to be water tight. If you have ground water, you may need to drain or pump it. Conside this; if you have a shower or tub on the basement floor, those typically have always been open holes under the pan or tub. I would guess that the slab before was never water tight.

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    DIY Junior Member Itoldyouso's Avatar
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    Terry, I get what you are saying. The ONLY time we had water previously was during the 3 100yr floods since 2008 - coming up the drains from the combined sewer/storm.

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    DIY Member ImOld's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Itoldyouso View Post
    Terry, I get what you are saying. The ONLY time we had water previously was during the 3 100yr floods since 2008 - coming up the drains from the combined sewer/storm.
    This is an easy one!

    It has to do with compacting and disturbing soil.

    There is no way the plumber could compact the soil around his work comparable to what it was originally.

    The ground water is now following a path of least resistance, the disturbed soil, into your basement.

    Also, depending on the time frame, the concrete may not have completely cured, it takes a month, before ground water applied pressure.

    As has been mentioned, time to look into getting the water out of your basement.

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    DIY Junior Member Itoldyouso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ImOld View Post
    This is an easy one!

    It has to do with compacting and disturbing soil.

    There is no way the plumber could compact the soil around his work comparable to what it was originally.

    The ground water is now following a path of least resistance, the disturbed soil, into your basement.

    Also, depending on the time frame, the concrete may not have completely cured, it takes a month, before ground water applied pressure.

    As has been mentioned, time to look into getting the water out of your basement.
    So, even though I spent $$$ for an overhead style system to address sewer back up, now we have created a new water issue and I have to spend $$$ on a drain tile and sump? Ugh. The slab seems to have a lot of new cracks after they used the jackhammer.

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    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default leaks

    HOW could he install an overhead sewer WITHOUT also installing a sump pump. The two ALWAYS go together. You may have the classic Chicago problem. When people's basements flooded, they sealed the floor drains, but the sewer pipe itself, inside or outside the building, still leaked and created pressure under the concrete. In the worst cases, the preesure destroyed the concrete floor.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

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    DIY Junior Member Itoldyouso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hj View Post
    HOW could he install an overhead sewer WITHOUT also installing a sump pump. The two ALWAYS go together. You may have the classic Chicago problem. When people's basements flooded, they sealed the floor drains, but the sewer pipe itself, inside or outside the building, still leaked and created pressure under the concrete. In the worst cases, the preesure destroyed the concrete floor.
    There is a sump, but only the basement drains connect to it. The new issue is hydrostatic pressure pushing water up the slab, well after the storm has passed and the sewer line is free of pressure.

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    DIY Junior Member Itoldyouso's Avatar
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    Would the experts recommend I bite the bullet and have interior drain tile and a 2nd sump pit installed? Or, have the plumber put holes in the overhead sewer sump pit to pump out water under the slab?

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Where's your water meter, and where is the water supply line? It may not be ground water, but water being added to the ground from a now leaking water supply pipe... Depending on where the meter is (assuming you have a meter), with everything off in the house, look at the meter and make sure it is not moving.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
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    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default leaks

    Water will "rise" in the earth around the foundation, which will create a hydrostatic pressure. That pressure lasts until the ground water level drops below your basement floor level.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

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    DIY Junior Member Itoldyouso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hj View Post
    Water will "rise" in the earth around the foundation, which will create a hydrostatic pressure. That pressure lasts until the ground water level drops below your basement floor level.
    Yes, understood. The issue is after 10 years and 3-4 major rain storms, water never came up the slab until the plumbers cracked it open and dug a hole out side the foundation to lay new sewer pipes.

  13. #13
    DIY Junior Member blkwtr's Avatar
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    Itoldyouso,

    HJ is correct- overhead sewer without a pump? Pump to where is the question?
    Terry is correct- Concrete is a sponge (not water tight), a Hard,Dense Sponge
    Terry is correct once again - the old clay lines would unintentionally act as drain tile when a flood control valve is installed outside the house. This would keep the sewer from backing up but when closed for many hours during heavy storms would fill with ground water and in certain cases would cause and inch or two of water on the floor ( as opposed to up to 3'0" in record time that would drain as quickly when the sewer discharged)
    You most likely have a bungalow, raised ranch or 2-3 flat from 1920-1960's, It had sewer back ups, to varying degrees, its entire life ( HJ comment on previous H/O sealing drains, stand pipes etc etc)- you only added a "Modified or Partial" overhead sewer-sub grade fixtures and drains to ejector pit routed to original stack and back out to original gravity sewer line.
    Invert,Invert,Invert = Think in Reverse
    Same combined sewer system back up coming into your basement a different route, through the floor via the new pipes and gravel bed surrounding them.
    "but its clean water"- did you think or say this to yourself or others? Don't feel bad and don't add interior drain tile just yet in a 4'-5' basement, unless you live near Albany Creek, the North Branch or the Mighty Des Plaines River. The good news is your half way home- your new friend with the jackhammer unwittingly installed Phase I of your Overhead Sewer Conversion
    Phase II-
    A. Run stack/s out wall and then drop to existing 6" clay line and add clean out at same time-
    B. When excavating A above, disconnect original exterior drain tile "T" tie in to sewer line as it exits foundation footing and run this back into basement, add sump pit and discharge to surface (not sewer stack). Surprised to find you have Drain Tile?! it was a great system, no pits,no pumps only gravity- oops! combined sanitary/storm system in a clay bowl (Chicago) we call home exposed the flaws and the danger to the homes mechanicals and the occupants safety,especially as the expectations of basements changed
    Make sure that ALL Gutter downspouts/leaders tie ins to underground are sealed off.
    The specifics of this plan have to due with the routing the new overhead line along the interior of the basement or exterior of the foundation wall, depending on space inside ( stairwells, windows,existing bathrooms etc) or outside ( newly placed gangway sidewalks, Peoples Gas meters,space for a machine or dig by hand etc). Use one company that carries both Plumbers and Drain Layers permits and tell your friend with the jackhammer to get back to his 24 hr shift at the firehouse!

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