Upflush Toilet Systems


Dear NH,
We just moved into a new house in December. The lower level has an upflushing toilet system described on your website as a "sewage ejection system". We only moved in two months ago and it appears we have a problem! From what I can tell, the containment tank has a hole in it and runoff is now seeping into the tank. I can hear and see the leak by peeking in from the top of the tank. This makes the sewage pump run more often and is probably overloading our septic system. I have consulted with a plumber and he is now planning on buying a new car with the profit he will make on this job. I figure I might be able to get the replacement tank and do the work myself. Or maybe the old tank can be patched in some manner. This is not a job to which I am looking forward.
S

S,
By runoff, do you mean that you think that ground water is leaking into your sump tank? That is definitely a serious problem, since you could well flood your septic system. But it is also the least likely source of your problems, considering that the typical sewage ejection system utilizes a sturdy closed tank. It would take an earthquake or some serious abuse to put a hole in one! Eating firecrackers or 4-alarm chili, for example.

Hold off on shopping for your plumber's new Lexus… it is possible that your problem is less earth shattering than your first instinct. What may be happening is that the backflow or "check" valve in your system is not working properly. This valve keeps the wastewater from running back into the sump from the vertical pipes leading up to your home's drain system. Depending on the amount of pipe used in your installation, a significant amount of water could be slowly leaking back into the tank... even enough to keep the sewage pump continuously cycling! This would not damage your septic system (no extra water is being moved) but it would add to the wear and tear on your pump! The check valve is mounted on top of the tank or near the tank in the drainpipe.

I really hope that you don't have to replace the entire system. However, this is not an extremely difficult do-it-yourself job… especially since you have most of the plumbing and electrical work pre-done, as well as the sump itself! Your local plumbing supplier will be able to set you up with the correct adapters to tie your new system into your old plumbing. As far as the ejector system, you can purchase a replacement at a local plumbing supply store, or order one online from Plumbing Supply.com.
NH


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copyright 2001 G.G. Alonzy

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