I have a sump pit in my house, obviously. The builder appearantly did not
sock the drail tiles or something because I get lots of sand/mud in the
pit and occasionally tar. I can clean the pit every so often which is not
too painful. I also clean the pump every so often, but actually since I
switched from a sump pump to a sewage ejector sump, the pump itself has
Anyway, what happens is the pipes become lined with this red mud. I snake
the parts I can. I took the outside pipe off yesterday while making some
modifications and noticed that the 1 1/2" pipe had been reduced to about
1/2" pipe by the caked on mud.
What strategy should I use to prevent the caking of this mud? Do I need a
stronger pump? Something about the type of pipes (PVC)? Or the angle of
My new setup will allow me to snake it from the basement, and from
outside, but still I wish I did not have to keep doing this every 6
Clay is so fine it won't settle fast enough to stay out of pumps and
pipes. I installed my sump pipes with as much slope towards the outlet
as possible so they empty faster after each pump cycle. If you could
raise up the pipe inside the house and as far from the outlet as possible
you could get a bit of flushing action that may help.
Unless you have a very small capacity pump or a lot of bends (more than
two or three) then bigger pump won't help.
You could try to install some geotextile fabric around the inside of the
sump to see if it helps. You need as much filter flow area as you can get
to minimize plugging of the fabric. Make an inside sump pail about an
inch or two smaller than the sump out of some sort of screen material -
plastic is best to avoid galvanic action with pump steel. Tightly wrap
fabric around screen, drop screen into sump and pump into screen. You
must use the felt type fabric, NOT the woven type.
If you really want to try a cheap and quick fix - wrap the pump with some
heavy plastic window screen material, the type recommended for cat and
dog resistance and then wrap the screen with the fabric. Shape is like a
big sack to get most flow area. Tie it up around the discharge pipe. Then
just pull the wrapped up pump once in a while to check for clay buildup
on fabric and rinse if needed.
The fabris has a very high flow capacity when it is clean but you may get
flooding of basement if it plugs up with clay so you need to monitor it
and either replace or clean when required. If pipe is left plugged then
there is a risk of flooding from the existing setup as well. Either way
maintenance is required. Pump would overheat and burnout if flow was
restricted either on inlet side or outlet side. Inlet restriction is
worse for pumps.
Most risk of plugging is with highest inflows to sump so check it after
major storms plus on a regular schedule.
There may be some good news in that the amount of clay may reduce with
time. The situation within the ground may stabilize and reduce the amount
of clay contribution. You should do all of the usual yard drainage
improvements to reduce the volume of water infiltrating to the sump. That
would speed up stabilization. You can expect clay to re-appear after
severe storms so check for plugging of filter after all bad storms even
after problem seems to have disappeared for a few years.
As a possible idea - is there a potential source for the clay other than
the obvious drain tiles? There could be a leaky water line causing the
clay content. Is the sump pump running when it shouldn't be? Or more
often then it should? Is it running during periods of dry weather when
you wouldn't expect any water in the drain tiles? Is there a check valve
on the pump or in the discharge line near the pump? If not the reverse
flush from the line when the pump stops could be flashing clay from the
sump pit or surrounding material. Is there a floor to the sump or is it
sitting on bare soil? I've seen several sumps made from just a piece of
pipe standing upright.
The amount of clay deposition you describe seems huge - is yard drainage
really poor? Ground should slope well away from house in all directions
and all roof spouts directed well away.
I think there is just lots of water. Small stream runs next to my house.
Rainfall does not affect the frequency of the sump pump.
Also, I like to stir up the dirt in my pit and let it eject into the
backyard. It may be better for me to just keep snaking it...
The silt you are seeing comes from somewhere and might be a sign of
serious problems with the structure's foundation or underpinnings.
Sump installations usually show clear water after only a few months of
service. If something is washing away that substructure you could have
severe settling problems. Early signs would be sticking doors, drywall
cracks at window and door openings and simillar. Reno's comments on
yard drainage are spot on. Good luck.
Yes I think there are some problems. the water is clear. over time the
sand and mud comes. Perhaps like about 6 months the pit requires a
cleaning. Basement floor has cracked and doors to stick. The drain tiles
were laid poorly. I think the sand and stuff is coming from the back of
my house because the ground is soft in one spot...
Maybe I need to call and engineer or someone to inspect since my house is
only 5 years old.
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