Sump Pump Question

I know how a sump pump works, but I don't have one so I'm not clear on how they are plumbed. I'm asking this question for a friend who recently had a house built with a sump pump. Everything you're getting here is word of mouth from him, as I have only seen a short video of his set up from during the storm last night.
His crock has three pipes coming into it. 2 black corrugated pipes and one PVC pipe. As he describes it, when you look down into the crock, you would see that the ends of the black corrugated pipes pointed slightly upward as they enter the crock. In other words he can look down into the black pipes for short distance. It's not a steep angle, but they definitely do not point downwards as they enter the crock.
The PVC pipe does point downward into the crock. In other words you'd have to get your head down into the crock in order to look up into the PVC pipe. He also said that while standing at the crock and following (in his imagination) the path of the PVC pipe, based on the little bit that he can see, it points directly towards the storm sewer drain cover that is way at the back of his 3/4 acre lot. Obviously he doesn't know if it turns once it goes out of his house...all he can tell is that the angle of the few inches he can see points towards that drain.
Last night, during the heavy rains, there was a lot of water coming into the crock from the PVC pipe, but the corrugated pipes were bone dry. In fact they are so dry that they have cob webs in them. His pump was able to keep up with the water, but he was pretty nervous about the amount of water that was coming in through the PVC pipe.
Based on this description, can you tell me anything about the set up or are there too many other variables involved? In other words, is a PVC pipe pipe used for a specific purpose in a sump pump system and corrugated used for something else? Is there a reason the PVC would be gushing water but the corrugated pipes were bone dry?
I know I might be leaving out a bunch of required information, but that's all I (and he) knows.
Thanks!
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The corrugated is footer drains, which are perforated to collect the water reaching down the walls to the footers. My pump is set up to pump out through the PVC, into gutter drains, which run underground to the curb, then travels down to the nearest storm drain.
Sounds as if maybe, wherever his is supposed to pump to, the waterway has reached above his outlet. It may be running backwards from the way it is intended to run.
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He has smaller ( 2 in?) PVC pipe that the pump pumps out through. The water was coming in through a 4" inch PVC that is obviously an inlet since it is not hooked up to the pump.
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Some further thought. He may have his downspouts running into a large 3" or so PVC, which dumps into the sump. I do not have mine running that way, would seem a sure fire way to overwork the sump.
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He needs some tracer dye and drop it into the downspout drains to see if it is coming from them, also check any drains around the house such as in outside basement stairs, garage or other areas where water could collect and a drain is provided. Use the dye in one area at a time to see if that is where the water is coming from then wait a day or two and try another area. Unfortunately, I have no source for the dye, but i know that it is used to check for illegal connections to sanitary sewers.
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On 10/30/12 2:14 PM, EXT wrote:

I've used ordinary food coloring. Darker the better, and more than a few drops.
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DerbyDad03 wrote:

Sounds like a setup similar to mine.
The PVC pipe is for an exterior footer drain. The black, corrugated pipe, with its ends emptying into the sump crock, is for an internal french drain -- though the ends should be pointing down also for proper drainage.
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wrote:

The 2 black 4" corrrugated pipe, I think you mean, is for the exterior footer drain, one pipe going clockwise around the house from there and the other going countrer clockwise. (I don't know if the space in between, at the corner of the house where the sump pump is, is drained or not. I guess not.

White 2" pipe, I think you mean.

That might well be and that would explain why it's got cobwebs. If no water gets into the basement, the french drain would get no use. But shouldn't he be able to tell if there's a french drain? The only one I've seen was put in after the house was built and it's visible. I don't know if people put them in when a house is being constructed, or what they would look like.
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On Tue, 30 Oct 2012 08:46:30 -0700 (PDT), DerbyDad03

I don't think it should be that way, but it doesn't hurt much. When the water table rises outside to be as high as the pipe, it will just have to rise a little more to empty out into the sump. When and if the table recedes, soemtime after the rain stops, the water in the pipe will drain out the corrugated pipe.

When it's not raining, he can run the garden hose into that drain and have someone in the house, with a walkie talkie or something tell him if it starts coming out of the white pipe. It seems like a silly idea to me, but maybe there's a reason. . Where does the outlet of the sump pump go?

In 29 years here, my sump pump 3/8HP iirc, has always kept up with what comes in, except once 5 years ago, even though the pump output was plenty (and I went outside and looked) . I got some water on the floor. I really should replace the pump with the nexrt size bigger, which isn't much money, but I'm bogged down with other things.
As to a battery operated supplemental pump in addition, I'm in Baltimore where it rained plenty Mondy and Monday night and my power went out at 6AM yesterday. for 29 years I've said that I've never had a power failure during a rain storm, but, even though it had stopped raining by then, I sort of feel like I had. (I had 21 power failures the night before, though they all lasted only one second each)
It would be a lot mroe effort to install a second pump in parallel and squeeze it all into the pit.

I don't have one.

MY corrugated pipe, like his I'm sure, goes around the foundation of the house, laid iiuc on gravel. It keeps the water table around the house from rising above a few inches below the basement floor, so there isn't much water to push through foundation cracks, if any. (There is of course some rain water descending from the surface to the water table, but the pressure on the house from that is small)
When I first moved in, the pump ran for days on end after a rain storm, and for some of my neighbors it runs all the t ime. That's because the water table is often above the floor of the sump pit. By raising the "stop" that turns the pump on just an inch or two, I caused the pump to run 80% less. I'm the lowest house in the neighborhood, only 20 feet above normal stream level, so there is always water in my sump. The previous owner told me to put cholorine or bleach or something in the sump so it wouldn't smell bad. I've never done that and it doesn't seem to smell at all. When the pump was running a lot, it would have all be pumped out within a day.

Yes. The white pipe goes somewhre it wasn't needed.
BTW, none of us have our gutters connected to the sump pump. Ours go to the obnoxioujs splash blocks and onto the yard. Check if his go underground and if they do they may come out through a hole in the curb into the street.

BTW my output is also 2" pvc, which is fine. It's the size of the output of the pump even the bigger one, and it goes to the the edge of my townhouse end of group property which is dry most of the time, but is filled by the stream when it rains enough. Most of my neighbors output comes out above ground and then into a short piece of black corrugated NOT-perforated pipe, which comes out through about a 2 inch hole in the curb into the street,
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See my comments below about the possibility of interior and exterior drain tiles.

It doesn't sound like you have a trench around your slab on the inside of the basement. He does.

...Snip..
I'm not so sure about that.
It's very possible that he has a set-up like the picture here, where his external drain tiles use a PVC pipe through the foundation into the crock and the internal tiles use the black corrugated. As long as the foundation and wall was keeping the rain water on the outside, the PVC would be gushing but the corrugated would be dry.
Imagine something like this, with the pipe shown being the PVC, but add 2 incoming corrugated pipes from the drain tiles inside the foundation wall.
http://www.aktoninjection.ca/images/sump-pump-diagram.jpg

He has verified that his gutters empty into his yard via extensions and splash blocks. Whether or not a lot of that water is ending up back at the foundation drain tiles and then into the crock, at this point he doesn't know.
He just remembered that he has the blueprints for his house, so he is going to pull them out and see if can see how the sump pump was plumbed.

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