Sump Pump Questions

Discussion in 'General Chit-Chat' started by ibglowin, Sep 16, 2018.

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  1. ibglowin

    ibglowin Moderator Super Moderator

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    You guys with basements etc. with sump pumps. Question for you. My Mom has a water problem caused by runoff from a large car dealer that paved over 5 acres of trees and dirt and replaced that with asphalt about 20 years ago. When ever they get large storms with 5-10" of rain the water flows off the lot and through the neighbors yard and then into my Mom's yard where it is hitting the side/front of the house and flooding the landscape around the front /side of the house before then heading down the driveway and into the street. We could sue I suppose and try and force them to do something about the water drainage but this is a huge dealer with many locations in San Antonio with deep pockets. We got a quote from a landscape company skilled in putting in French drains etc. ($4-5K) They propose a system that uses not only a French drain but also catch basins with a sump pump that would pump the water ultimately to a pipe that runs to the street. My mom lives at the top of a cul-de-sac on a hill so the water would run down the street and into a creek bed ultimately. They also quoted a passive drain system that would drain the water via gravity around the house and in the backyard where it would drain downhill through all the neighbors yards. This might work well but I fear a lawsuit from a neighbor should this cause flooding in a house along the way.

    Since my mom is elderly I need something that works and works without issues. If the power goes out durning a heavy down pour the pump won't work. While this doesn't happen every time it rains they do lose power on occasion durning heavy downpours for up to an hour.

    How do you keep a sump pump running during a power outage? I thought about a UPS system but worry you would need a $500 system to run the pump which is 4/10HP and uses 8.5 AMPS/850W. Then you worry about the UPS system actually working if the battery is old. I see they make sump pumps that use water to run the pump. Does anyone have something like this? The main water line to the house runs from the street to the house in the front of the house so it could be tied into and a line run over to the side of the house where the catch basins are to be installed.

    Any thoughts appreciated on the subject!
     
  2. mainshipfred

    mainshipfred Junior Member Supporting Member

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    Mike, that's a tough one. Rather then pursuing legal you might want to consider calling the local jurisdiction. There are code requirements regarding this type of issue that may have been overlooked.
     
  3. ibglowin

    ibglowin Moderator Super Moderator

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    Thanks Fred, I will see if I can call the City of San Antonio Stormwater department this week. Perhaps they can send someone out to look at the issue and go make a visit to the car dealership to see if they are in compliance (or not) with regards to water runoff from their property. Attached is a picture which shows my Mom's house and the car dealer. The car dealer is higher elevation than anyone else. All that water just seems to be funneled into that corner of the property where it exits and heads right towards my Mom's house. This last storm dumped 7" of rain overnight and they got water into the house in two rooms. We are looking at having to replace sheet rock in those rooms now as well as replacing the carpet etc.

    Screen Shot 2018-09-16 at 9.34.53 AM.png
     
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  4. sour_grapes

    sour_grapes Victim of the Invasion of the Avatar Snatchers

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    Yowch.

    What about a generator for backup instead of UPS?
     
  5. mainshipfred

    mainshipfred Junior Member Supporting Member

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    Good luck
     
  6. ibglowin

    ibglowin Moderator Super Moderator

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    Unfortunately my Mom is 84 years old, frail and lives by herself (for now). She could not be expected to go outside in a rainstorm and start a generator.

     
  7. Ajmassa5983

    Ajmassa5983 Member Supporting Member

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    Mike, this issue almost identical to my property- just no evil suits to potentially blame in my case.
    My property sits dead smack at the bottom of the grade of all surrounding properties. The water flows to my house from 3 out of 4 sides.
    The previous owner fortunately took the needed steps to handle the handle it. The basement is only about 25’x25’. A French drain was installed around the entire perimeter. And there are 2 sump pumps. The French drain dumps in to both of them. One is tied directly to the soil line. The other to an installed line that dumps out at the curb- and eventually makes it to a sewer.
    The property takes on so much water during heavy rains that basins can fill up and empty for a over a week after the rain.
    But—- it works. It works great. The only issue I have now is the one you just mentioned. A power outage. The thought never crossed my mind. Something to look into. But aside from a power outage- I can say the amount of water the house takes is massive. And the French drain/2 sump pump combo handles it like a boss.
     
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  8. GaDawg

    GaDawg Senior Member

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    The legal avenue may be your best bet. Not necessarily to go to court but to persuade the car dealer see his best option.
    Wouldn’t an electric start generator worth?
     
  9. meadmaker1

    meadmaker1 Member Supporting Member

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    Fred is correct. Pester the local authority having jurisdiction. Water isn't the only issue here. Oil and even soap from washing the cars needs to be dealt with. City counselors or county commissioner. Start out pleasant then pester the crap out of them. Get neighbors involved. And call and email every day if need be
     
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  10. meadmaker1

    meadmaker1 Member Supporting Member

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    Local news media could bring bad publicity also
     
  11. ibglowin

    ibglowin Moderator Super Moderator

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    Here is the quick sketch I had them send me with the 2 options. There is a passive (gravity) option however it routes the water around the side of the house and then across the backyard and dumps in in the back corner of the lot where it would then flow into the neighbors yard and downhill all the way until it reaches the street at the bottom of the hill. I fear a neighbor would sue if they had any damage from any new flooding. It might just flow downhill basically between the house on the street behind us nicely without disturbing anything, it might not. I just have no clue how much water we are talking here from these big storms. My Mom says they don't have a lot of power outages usually during rainstorms. Maybe a blip every now and then but she said their longest outages (several hours) were actually at times when there was no rain storm. The Sump pump option is actually cheaper as it has shorter runs to the street vs the long run to the back corner of the back yard. But we would have to have an electrician install an outdoor plug with GFI for the pump to plug into. There is also the water pump option using the house water supply to run the pump. I don't know if this is a closed system? Or it uses water to actually run the pump and if so where does that water go?

    Screen Shot 2018-09-16 at 10.54.20 AM.png
     
  12. ibglowin

    ibglowin Moderator Super Moderator

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    Red McCombs is a 90 year old billionaire. At one point he owned the San Antonio Spurs. Not going to win that battle BUT the City of San Antonio has become more and more protective of the Edwards Aquifer which is where the city pumps the water from for the entire city of San Antonio. All stormwater eventually finds its way back into the aquifer to recharge it. So maybe I can have somebody come out to see whats happening and then go pay the car dealer a visit and see if they are in compliance with storm water runoff from their dealership.

     
  13. Dennis Griffith

    Dennis Griffith Senior Member

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    I have to say that most new businesses (these days) are required to build retention ponds to catch all of the parking lot run off. And it's because of those chemicals you mentioned. There are probably oils in the run off due to the cars there. I realize since it was built sometime back, that they could get grandfathered, unless they have made more recent alterations, which can circumvent that grandfather waiver. Hope you get it resolved amicably.
     
  14. Dennis Griffith

    Dennis Griffith Senior Member

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    Generac has some natural gas, electric start models that would do the job, plus keep her light on and the refer cold. They are fairly maintenance free (no gas to add or stabilize). There is the initial cost of installation, to include the auto bus transfer box that has to be installed by an electrician.
     
  15. JamesGrape

    JamesGrape Member

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    Gravity is your best friend in this case. My understanding of code in my own area is that storm water must be allowed to run into your property as nature intended before any development, and then to run off your property as nature intended. But what you do with it while it’s on your own lot is up to you.
    French drains work great, but can fill with debris over time. If you can create open swales to direct the water around the house you can always see them function. A level swale at the lowest part of your lot could spread the drainage over that entire lot line.
    Digging a wide shallow trench that slopes in the direction you want the water to go and placing the dirt on the side toward the house to crate an additional barrier might be a very good option depending on the topography you have to work with.
     

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  16. JamesGrape

    JamesGrape Member

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    And if you go with underground pipe ask about using perforated pipe wrapped in landscape fabric. That allows some of the water to percolate into the ground. The fabric keeps the perforations from clogging.
     
  17. ibglowin

    ibglowin Moderator Super Moderator

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    Put in a call this morning to the City's 311 help desk and they opened a ticket without hesitation. Told them the history that there was never any water damage until they paved over 10 acres of trees and dirt with asphalt. They are going to send out an inspector to look at the damage at my Mom's house and then go take a look at the dealership and its drainage. There is an city owned easement at the top of the cul-de-sac that I hope once they see what is happening they will channel the water coming off the parking lot by some means. There is an entrance to a creek bed that is the natural water drainage system for the storm runoff and they have had to work on that several times over the years to improve and allow for higher and higher amounts of water flowing into it due to increased development. I think they could easily install something to assist the water to go that way instead of through the next door neighbors front yard and then into my Mom's before it makes its way out to the street. Not sure how fast the city would move on a fix like this but I guess we will see and let this play out. Hopefully the City will step up if the auto dealer is not found to be at fault for some reason.
     
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  18. mainshipfred

    mainshipfred Junior Member Supporting Member

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    Sounds like a good start. Oh, and I think you need to find a relevant meme. LOL!
     
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  19. ibglowin

    ibglowin Moderator Super Moderator

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    [​IMG]

     
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  20. ibglowin

    ibglowin Moderator Super Moderator

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    [​IMG]
     
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