Septic System Sump Pump Installation
May 21, 2017
Septic System Sump Pump Installation
My friends needed a septic system that pumps uphill. Their house is at the low point on their plot and for years the septic system has not worked well. They needed to fix it so that they can have toilets that actually flush in the rain. An unusually wet Spring season has accented the problem so that they made the decision to spend the sizable sum of money to correct the problem.
The system consists of the regular septic tank then a septic effluent pump tank and then a distribution tank located at the top of the hill. The new septic tank had to be placed so as not to disturb the old tank so that the existing system could still be used during construction. The pump tank had to be located slightly below the septic tank so that gravity would flow the waste water to it. The septic tank effluent pump sits inside the pump tank and pumps the water to the distribution tank high on the hill. From there, the water will drain into the field lines by gravity.
My job was to connect the sump pump and alarm to the electrical supply. The alarm is required by the local sewer codes to make a visual and audible alarm should the water level in the pump tank exceed a certain level. This gives an early warning that there is something wrong with the sewer pump.
For reliability, the alarm has to have its own separate circuit. If the alarm was powered by the supply to the pump and the breaker tripped to the pump, there would be no alarm. I installed the alarm inside the house so that it can be easily seen and heard as suggested by the local plumbing inspector. I connected the wires directly to the alarm panel and ran them all inside conduit so that it would be tamper resistant.
This house had an exterior breaker box originally installed for the AC addition. This box had a couple of extra spaces in it that made a perfect place to pull power for the new septic pump system. I used a 20 AMP GFI breaker for the sump pump service and a 15 AMP standard breaker for the alarm. Their local ACE hardware had the right breakers for this older Square D box.
The most labor intensive part of the job was running the underground wires from the box at the front of the house to the septic field behind the house. Much of the trench had to be dug by hand due to close proximity of the AC compressor, flower beds and a sidewalk. The majority of the trench was dug by the plumping contractor using his backhoe.
A 12 gage wire was run for the pump and a 14 gage wire for the alarm. The wire used was rated for direct burial so conduit was not needed. I did run conduit for extra protection from the box down to the bottom of the 24 inch deep trench at each end of the wire. I used the same 14 gage direct burial wire to extend the float wiring from the alarm unit to the field.
At the pump tank, I installed a weather proof single 20 AMP outlet on a 4x4 post. This is where the Myers Sewer pump is plugged in. The plug provides the required local disconnect since the breaker is not within sight of the pump tank. The float wiring was placed in a separate junction box on the same post.
A piece of conduit was cut to fit into the neck of the tank so that the cord to the septic pump and the septic tank alarm float wiring would be protected. The conduit ends slightly below the outlet for the septic pump.
Our local inspector was happy with the details and water proofing. I used a compression fitting at the bottom of each conduit run and sealed it with silicone as well to prevent critters from finding their way into the junction boxes.
I tied a length of rope to the sump pump, fastened the alarm float to the outlet pipe and carefully lowered the sewer pump into place. I secured the free end of the rope to one of the lifting lugs of the sewer pump tank. Now the plumbing contractor can finish his work to get their system operational.
I am sure they will enjoy being able to take baths and flush the toilet even when it rains.
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