30 year old Gould 3885 Septic Pump

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Joseph Skoler

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Hi All,

I bought a piece property a couple of years ago with a couple dozen cottages.

In the mid-1990's (plans approved in 1993) a large septic system was installed (2 tanks (2500 and 3500 gallon) with 2 Gould 1HP 3885 pumps up to a 1600 sq-ft leach field (pump A to 800 sq-ft; pump B to the other 800 sq-ft).

It appears that the septic system was never used.

The pumps have been sitting in the ground water that accumulated in the tanks for all this time. Should I try to use the existing pumps, have them rebuilt, or just replace them? My thinking is that even if they work now, they're nearly 30 years old.

Also, can anyone recommend the controller electronics for them? The one that's there (again, looks unused) has lost its battle with rodents and insects.

Thank you!
 

Valveman

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Those are submersible pumps, made to be under water. I think they are oil filled motors so they will probably be fine. The ones made 30 years ago are probably much better than you can buy today. The controller should just be a couple of relays and float switches.
 

Joseph Skoler

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Those are submersible pumps, made to be under water. I think they are oil filled motors so they will probably be fine. The ones made 30 years ago are probably much better than you can buy today. The controller should just be a couple of relays and float switches.

Wow, I just generally have such low expectations of products that I figured 30 years and something would deteriorate.

It would be really great if these pumps worked well. I need to bring a generator because the site's electric isn't turned on and the electric company is making it difficult because a couple of poles have broken.

The controller box is the Goulds Pump D10018. Insects and animals got in and made nests, ate wires and left crap. I wonder if I can just replaced the guts of the controller (looks like a relay board, a couple of breakers/switches, and connection blocks).

Thanks!
 

Joseph Skoler

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I brought over a generator that is rated at 4400 watts max/3500 watts continuous.

Connected it to the pump leads and the breaker on the generator trips immediately.

3500 watts @ 240v is 14.5 amps. The pump specs say "max amps" is 12.5

Think I just need a larger generator? Or, is something else going on?
 

Reach4

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Pumps have a high starting current -- well beyond the nameplate rating. Probably over 40 amps for a bit. Measure the ohms, and divide the volts by the ohms, and you will find a high number. Commercial AC will normally not have a problem with that.

Typically a 1 hp 230 volt motor might be driven by a 25 amp breaker.
 

Joseph Skoler

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Pumps have a high starting current -- well beyond the nameplate rating. Probably over 40 amps for a bit. Measure the ohms, and divide the volts by the ohms, and you will find a high number. Commercial AC will normally not have a problem with that.

Typically a 1 hp 230 volt motor might be driven by a 25 amp breaker.

That makes perfect sense -- thank you.

So, now I have to choose between (1) buying a larger generator (there is a Duromax 13000 with 10,500 watts continuous for $1,500) or (2) wait for weeks/months until NYSEG and my electrician can get the electric on or (3) pull the pumps and try to find some way to test them or (4) buy new pumps.

One of the issues with testing the pumps is to also check all the piping between the tank and the leach field (and the condition of the leach field), so I do need to have working pumps in the tanks to make that happen (I think).
 

Reach4

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You will probably want to power up your well also, but maybe you were thinking of doing that sequentially.

How about borrowing a generator?

Or rent for a day. Renting for a week is enough to make you consider applying that to a buy.
 

Joseph Skoler

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You will probably want to power up your well also, but maybe you were thinking of doing that sequentially.

How about borrowing a generator?

Or rent for a day. Renting for a week is enough to make you consider applying that to a buy.

There is town water. But, it hasn't been connected in years and the town requires a pressure reducer and backflow preventer in order to reinstall the meter. But, I'm concerned that the meter pit isn't big enough to those 3 items plus the gate valves on each side of the meter. I'm working on that simultaneously.

I'm leaning towards buying the 13000 watt generator (which should be sufficient to test, and is dual fuel: gasoline and propane which is nice).
 

Reach4

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A meter pit? Is that going be deep enough to protect against freezing? I think in areas with hard freezes, it is common to put the PRV in the basement rather than the yard. I think backflow preventers (rather than simple check valves) is usually used for irrigation, not homes. I don't know about those.
 

Joseph Skoler

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A meter pit? Is that going be deep enough to protect against freezing? I think in areas with hard freezes, it is common to put the PRV in the basement rather than the yard. I think backflow preventers (rather than simple check valves) is usually used for irrigation, not homes. I don't know about those.

I can't say I have a complete understanding, but meter pits are very common around here (garden weather zone 4b; Sullivan County, NY) and fully sanctioned by the town water department. I've had a couple at other properties and the piping/meters do not freeze. My rudimentary understanding is that because the bottom of the pit is ~5' deep, the heat from the earth keeps the air in the pit above freezing temperature.

The problem I have is that I have no basement. All of the structures are built on piers and sit a few feet above the ground (open crawl space).

Backflow preventers are required by the town for all water connections (at my expense, of course).
 

Reach4

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Yep, 5 ft should be nicely below the frost line.

I would think this would be a job for a smaller plumber.
 
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