The sewage ejector pump and sewer plumbing connections are made in this exciting episode of the project! Actually, I wasn’t looking forward to cutting open the sewer line to install the Tee-fitting for basement bathroom sewer hookup. As it were, it turned out to be a pleasant “dirty job”.
Liberty Sewage Pump
I bought a new Liberty 3/4 HP sewage on eBay.com for just $299.00 (the economy is bad and there were no other bidders) – compare this price to $753.00 for the same item at Grainger. I could have gotten by with 1/2 HP pump, but opted for the 3/4 HP model for added reliability because I never want to open the sewage basin and pull the pump – that would be a dirty job. Consult the pump manufacturer’s Engineering Specifications to size a pump for your particular needs.
In the photo below, the pump is shown with the gray mechanical float switch and white 2-inch threaded PVC pipe adapter on the discharge outlet. As the water level rises, the metal ball in the float switch rolls and closes the on/off switch contact to turn on the pump.
The water level should never rise more than half-way up the side of pump housing before the pump turns on. This pump is rated at 60 gallons per minute at 20 feet of head for my situation. “Head” is the vertical number of feet, including friction losses for plumbing elbows, that the pump must lift the sewage. Given that I only have a shower that uses ~7 gallons per minute, 1.6 gallon per flush toilet and sink, it will be impossible for the inflow to exceed more than 10 to 15 gallons per minute worst case.
The intake opening is shown here on the bottom of the pump. A cast iron impeller rotates at 1725 RPM inside the housing. It runs vibration free and whisper quite.
Prepare the Sewage Basin
I cleaned the dirt and cement splatters off the 2-part metal cover to the sewage basin, revealing several rust blisters under the paint. The rust spots were sanded down with a wire brush drill attachment and treated with Naval Jelly rust killer. Four coats of Rust-Oleum black enamel spray were then applied.
The metal cover is secured to the perimeter of the sewage basin by “mirror mount nuts” and bolts. The old ones were rusted (left items) and replaced with six new assemblies. Mirror mount nuts splay out in star pattern when tightened to fasten the nut securely to the plastic rim of the basin.
I also removed the rim from the inside of the sewage inlet with a Roto-Zip tool as I felt this lip would only serve as a catch point – another “contractor quality” oversight in my opinion. If you look carefully, you can see the black plastic rim at the bottom of the basin.
Sewage Pump Installation
The following sewage pump installation diagram will be helpful to understand the following installation steps.
The sewage pump is lowered into the basin and aligned with the plumbing holes in the metal cover. The rubber grommets for the sewer pipe, vent pipe and electrical connections are laying to the left. Also notice the new mirror mounts nuts installed in the rim of the basin (gray circles).
The combination check and ball valve is dry fitted to a 36 inch length of 2 inch PVC pipe to begin the sewage line connections. I purchased mine from Grainger, part #4RG93, the item in the Grainger catalog looks a little different than the one here. The purpose of the check valve is to prevent backflow and the ball valve allows me to shutoff the sewer pipe for maintenance without backflow problems. It’s also required by the building code.
If I ever need to pull the pump, the check/ball valve has a slip union threaded joint to disconnect the pipe.
The stem pipe is pushed down to the sewage pump through the rubber grommet in the basin lid. I’m still dry-fitting the piping and haven’t glued any connections.
Update: Check Valve Water Hammer Problem
I didn’t realize it at the time, but the combo check/ball valve unit that I originally installed was NOT a “silent” or “quiet” type sewage check valve. The check valve suffered from a severe water hammer when the pump shutoff and the 12 foot column of water reversed direction and slammed the check valve closed. The water hammer caused a loud thud and rattled the PVC pipes. After 3 years of operation, the rattle and vibration caused by the water hammer eventually cracked the solvent weld joint inside the Union fitting causing a small wastewater leak.
My very strong recommendation is to only install a silent sewage check valve to avoid water hammering.
Now back to the original program…
Closeup of the 2 inch PVC sewer pipe connection and pump inside the basin.
Splice the Tee Fitting into the Main Sewer Line
The main 3 inch PVC sewer line must be cut to install the Fernco QT-300 Tee connector for the sewage pump line. The installed Tee is shown below.
Sanitizing the Sewer Line
The 3 inch PVC sewer line in the photo above serves the master bathroom. In anticipation of cutting the sewer line, I poured 1/2 gallon of bleach down the toilet in the master bath and flushed several times to sanitize the PVC sewer pipe. The master bathroom was off-limits for 24 hours to allow the sewer line to fully drain as I didn’t want to get “dripped on” when I cut open the PVC line.
Installing the Flexible Tee Fitting
The section to be cut out from the main 3 inch PVC sewer line was marked as shown using the Fernco QT-300 Tee as a reference. I removed one of the steel bands from the Tee and snugged it around the PVC pipe to mark a perfect circle.
The section to be cut out is shown in the next photo. This view is looking up directly overhead.
I was concerned over what might spill out of the sewer line when I cut it open. I didn’t know if it would be dripping or filled with sludge or ??? I also don’t like cleaning up messes. I therefore suspended a plastic bin from the floor joist with wires as shown under the section of the sewer pipe to be cut out. This would catch the saw dust, drips and section of PVC pipe.
I used a Milwaukee Sawzall to make the cuts on the PVC sewer line.
The Sawzall cut the PVC pipe like butter in just seconds. The plastic bin caught the PVC shavings and the section of pipe. To my surprise, the sewer line was bone dry and odor free! Next, I deburred the PVC pipe ends by smoothing off the shavings with my gloved fingers.
A closeup of the Fernco flexible Tee fitting installed on the main sewer line. I had considered using a rigid PVC fitting and was happy I didn’t because there was almost no “give” in the main sewer line ends to install a rigid fitting. I had to partially fold the Fernco fitting to squeeze it between the two pipe ends. All said and done, it took only a minute to fit it on the sewer pipe.
Another view of the installed Tee:
Working from the ground up, I completed the 2 inch PVC sewer pipe connections and cemented the joints together. Remember the bottom of the check/ball valve is slip union connection for a quick disconnect in case I ever need to pull the sewer pump.
2 inch PVC riser pipe is installed to carry the waste water up to the main sewer line. The sewage is pumped upward as indicated by the red arrows.
The sewage pump discharge lines must empty into the main line from above, hence the 45 degree elbows to clear the existing feeder line and floor joist. Red arrows indicate the direction of flow. Hanger straps are called out by the blue arrows.
I was very happy with how this job went. In part 10 of this project, I’ll connect the exterior vent line to the sewage basin and install the high water alarm. Then I’ll be ready to test the system for leaks. After that, the only thing left to do is set the toilet and vanity! The finish line is in sight!
Hope this helps,
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