Thursday, January 05, 2012

Day Three in the Basement: Finishing the Piping and Installing the Pump

I figured that since I was spending so much money on this project that a panoramic view of the work was in order.  The plumbers finished the plumbing today and everything is awaiting inspection.  The inspectors won't arrive until Monday so we won't be able to have the final concrete done until then. 

All of the connections are made at the pump side of the basement and things laid out how I thought, though not exactly how they initially planned it.  This is a good thing because their initial plan would have called for some demolition within the actual living area and that wouldn't have been a good thing.  I think they did a good job laying this out.
As part of the work, we also invested in a high-water alarm.  This will tell us if the pump is not working and the basin is full so that we don't make the mistake of running the laundry or any other plumbing fixtures, causing additional problems.  We only have a pump for the overhead plumbing system and do not have a sump.  I don't believe that our issue has ever been groundwater.  It seems to have always been sewer water.  Even if you are just a casual visitor to the blog, you would know that we disconnected our downspouts and  installed rain barrels years ago, so we are not adding any of our own storm runoff to the home's wastewater system. 
I figured that I would add this diagram to explain to folks what everything is.  People commonly call this system an "overhead plumbing" system because it puts all of the waste water from the basement into a central area.  In this case, it is collected in a basin.  The basin has a pump that pumps the water up overhead in a pipe that connects the the gravity-fed wastewater system (the waste stack) from the plumbing upstairs.  It is this loop that keeps water from coming into the basement from the municipal sewer.  When there is a sewer backup, it can get into this pipe but only travel as high as the surge from outside.  The only way it could get in the house is if the water got higher than that loop.  In this case, all of Chicagoland would likely be under water and we'd have greater problems than my tiny finished basement.    
I've scheduled some additional repairs on my catch basin because of some flooding we had a few weeks ago caused by that.  The plumbers also have a few other minor odds and ends to fix up so they will be returning tomorrow.  I probably won't post again on the subject until after inspection though.

Over the past couple days, I've thought again and again, "why the hell are we going through this".  It has been messy, inconvenient and expensive.  I then look at the old photos of all of our stuff in the basement submerged in almost a foot of sewage and it all seems to make sense.


Fargo said...

Holy cow! That's a major freakin' deal of a project. Looks like hell to live through, but a lot less hell than going through the flooded basement nightmare again.

Sally Johnson said...

That had to be a mess! This happened to my brother a few months ago. Luckily he found a good plumber, as I am sure you did. For big projects like this you want to have someone who is experienced and trustworthy.
We live Utah and so he had to look for provo plumbing experts. I hope that everything worked out!

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