How to Finish a Basement Bathroom – Part 9

By |Last updated on |Basement, Bathroom, Plumbing|68 Comments

How to Finish a Basement Bathroom: Install the sewage ejector pump in the sewage basin and connect the PVC plumbing to the main sewer line. This project is continued from How to Finish a Basement Bathroom – Part 8. See the series introduction for the project index.

Basement Bathroom: Liberty Sewage Pump

I bought a new Liberty Pumps Model LE71A2 3/4 HP sewage on I could have gotten by with 1/2 HP pump but chose the 3/4 HP model for added reliability because I don’t want to open the sewage basin and pull the pump – that would be dirty job. Consult the Liberty Pump Engineering Specifications to size a pump for your particular needs.

In the following photo 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.

Basement Bathroom: Liberty Sewage Pump Model LE71A2

Basement Bathroom: Liberty Sewage Pump Model LE71A2

The water level should never rise more than half-way up the side of pump housing before the pump activates to empty the sewage basin. 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 a normal size sink faucet it will be impossible for the inflow volume 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 but does make a noticeable “Rrrrrrr” noise when it pumps out the sewage basin. The pump empties the basin in 3 seconds or so.

Liberty Sewage Pump LE70 Series - Bottom View

Liberty Sewage Pump LE70 Series – Bottom View

Basement Bathroom Sewage Basin

I cleaned the dirt and cement splatters off the sewage basin 2-part metal cover which revealed several rust blisters under the original paint. The rust spots were sanded down with a wire brush drill attachment and treated with Naval Jelly rust killer then painted with four coats of Rust-Oleum black enamel spray:

Basement Bathroom Sewage Basin 2-Part Metal Cover

Basement Bathroom Sewage Basin 2-Part Metal Cover

The sewage basin metal cover is secured to the perimeter of the basin by mirror mount nuts and bolts. The old ones were rusted (left side of photo) and replaced with six new assemblies. Mirror mount nuts splay out in star pattern when the bolt is tightened to secure the nut to the plastic rim of the sewage basin.

Basement Bathroom Sewage Basin: Mirror Mount Nuts, Bolts and Washers

Basement Bathroom Sewage Basin: Mirror Mount Nuts, Bolts and Washers

I also trimmed sewage basin discharge outlet with a Roto-Zip tool to clean up the sloppy cutout made by the home builder which would’ve interfered with the sewage flow. The round black plastic ring I cut from the discharge outlet is lying on the bottom of the basin:

Roto-Zip the Sewage Inlet Rim

Roto-Zip the Sewage Inlet Rim

Install the Basement Bathroom Sewage Pump

The sewage pump installation diagram will be helpful to understand the following installation steps:

Sewage Pump Installation Diagram (C) Liberty Pumps, Inc.

Sewage Pump Installation Diagram (C) Liberty Pumps, Inc.

The basement bathroom sewage ejector pump is lowered into the sewage basin and turned so the discharge outlet is aligned with the plumbing holes in the black metal cover. The rubber grommets for the soil stack (sewage discharge pipe), vent pipe and electrical connections are laying to the left. Also notice the new mirror mounts nuts are installed in the rim of the sewage basin:

Basement Bathroom Sewage Pump in the Sewer Basin

Basement Bathroom Sewage Pump in the Sewer Basin

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 when the pump is idle. The blue handle on the ball valve allows me to close the valve for pump maintenance. It’s also required by the Building Code.

If I ever need to disconnect and pull the sewage pump, the check/ball valve has a slip union threaded joint to disconnect the pipe:

Basement Bathroom Sewage Pump: Combo Check and Ball Valve

Basement Bathroom Sewage Pump: Combo Check and Ball Valve

The PVC stem pipe and ball/check valve is set into the threaded PVC discharge outlet adapter screwed into the cast iron pump. I’m still dry-fitting the PVC sewage plumbing and haven’t glued any connections:

Ball/Check Valve Stem Pipe and Pump

Ball/Check Valve Stem Pipe and Pump

Update: Check Valve Water Hammer Problem

I didn’t realize it at the time but the combo check/ball valve unit I originally installed is NOT a “silent” or “quiet” type sewage check valve. The check valve suffered from a severe water hammer problem when the sewage ejector pump shutoff and the 12 foot column of sewage 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 PVC solvent weld joint inside the Union fitting causing a small sewage leak.

The original check/ball valve shown above was replaced with an A.Y. McDonald 2068S/2067S Silent Check Valve that solved the water hammer problem. See the How to Replace a Sewage Pump Check Valve project for details.

My strong recommendation is to install a silent sewage check valve to prevent water hammering.

Back to the original program…

Closeup of the 2 inch PVC sewer pipe connection and pump inside the basin.

Basement Bathroom: Sewage Pump and PVC Discharge Pipe

Basement Bathroom: Sewage Pump and PVC Discharge Pipe

Connect the Basement Bathroom to the Main Sewer Line

I wasn’t looking forward to sawing open the PVC main sewer line to install the Tee-fitting for basement bathroom sewer hookup. It turned out to be a pleasant “dirty job”.

A section of the 3 inch PVC main sewer line that runs below the floor joists must be cut to install the Fernco QT-300 Tee connector for the sewage pump line. The installed Tee in the main sewer line:

Basement Bathroom Sewer Line Connection: Fernco Ell Fitting

Basement Bathroom Sewer Line Connection: Fernco Ell Fitting

Sanitize 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 disinfect the PVC sewer pipe. The master bathroom was off-limits for 24 hours to allow the sewer line to fully drain because I didn’t want to get dripped on when I sawed open the sewer line.

Install the Flexible Tee Fitting in the Main Sewer Line

The section to be sawn out of the 3 inch PVC sewer line is marked as shown using the Fernco QT-300 Tee as a reference. I removed one of the steel bands from the Tee and tightened it around the PVC sewer pipe to mark a perfect circle.

Basement Bathroom: Main Sewer Line Connection with a Fernco QT-300 Flexible Tee

Basement Bathroom: Main Sewer Line Connection with a Fernco QT-300 Flexible Tee

The section of the main sewer pipe to be cut out to splice in the basement bathroom plumbing:

Basement Bathroom Plumbing: Main Sewer Line Section to be Cut Out

Basement Bathroom Plumbing: Main Sewer Line Section to be Cut Out

I was concerned over what might spill out of the PVC sewer pipe when I sawed it open. I didn’t know if it would be dripping, filled with sludge or something worse. I suspended a plastic bin from the floor joist with wires under the section of the sewer pipe to catch the saw dust and drips:

Basement Bathroom Sewer Line: Plastic Storage Bin for Catching the Debris

Basement Bathroom Sewer Line: Plastic Storage Bin for Catching the Debris

I used a Milwaukee Sawzall to make the saw out section marked on the PVC sewer line:

Sawzall, Safety Glasses and Latex Gloves

Sawzall, Safety Glasses and Latex Gloves

The Sawzall cut the PVC pipe like butter. The plastic bin caught the PVC shavings and the section of pipe as it dropped free. To my surprise, the sewer line was bone dry and odor free! I deburred the PVC sewer pipe ends by smoothing off the shavings with my gloved fingers. The burrs can also be removed by scraping utility knife blade along the pipe edges.

Basement Bathroom Plumbing: Cut into the Main Sewer Line

Basement Bathroom Plumbing: Cut into the Main Sewer Line

The Fernco flexible Tee fitting is installed in the main sewer line in the following photo. I had to partially fold the rubber Tee to squeeze between the sewer pipe ends, which is what it’s designed to do. I had considered using a rigid PVC Tee fitting and was happy I didn’t because there was almost no wiggle or ability to widen the gap between the 3 inch PVC pipe ends to install a rigid fitting.

Basement Bathroom Main Sewer Line Tee Fitting: Fernco QT-300 Tee

Basement Bathroom Main Sewer Line Tee Fitting: Fernco QT-300 Tee

Another view of the rubber Tee spliced into the main sewer line:

Basement Bathroom Plumbing: Flexible Tee Fitting on Main Sewer Line

Basement Bathroom Plumbing: Flexible Tee Fitting on Main Sewer Line

Working from the ground up, I installed the rubber grommet in the sewage basin cover and completed the 2 inch PVC sewer pipe connections and cemented the joints together. Lubricate the rubber grommet with liquid soap to slide through the 2 inch PVC sewer pipe. Remember the bottom of the check/ball valve is slip union connection for a quick disconnect in case I ever need to pull the sewage pump:

Basement Bathroom Sewage Pump Pipe and Check/Ball Valve Connections

Basement Bathroom Sewage Pump Pipe and Check/Ball Valve Connections

2 inch PVC riser pipe is installed to carry the waste water up from the sewage pump up to the main sewer line. The sewage flows upward from the pump and basin to the main sewage line as indicated by the red arrows:

Basement Bathroom Sewage Basin Plumbing

Basement Bathroom Sewage Basin Plumbing

The sewage pump discharge lines must empty into the main line from above to avoid backflow, hence the 45 degree elbows to clear the existing feeder sewer line and floor joist. Red arrows indicate the direction of sewage flow. Metal hanger straps to support the PVC sewer pipe are noted by the blue arrows:

Basement Bathroom Sewer Plumbing: Connection to the Main Sewer Line

Basement Bathroom Sewer Plumbing: Connection to the Main Sewer Line

The sewage basin PVC vent pipe and high water alarm are installed in How to Finish a Basement Bathroom – Part 10.

Hope this helps,

Bob Jackson

Copyright © 2019   Reproduction strictly prohibited.


  1. TonyA February 25, 2010 at 10:33 pm - Reply

    Hey Bob,
    I’m getting ready to install the pump and connect the discharge line. Did you use any putty or silicone on the threaded pvc connections? I’ve read that putty should not be used on plastic. Especially the pvc connection that threads into the pump, did you use anything on it? This one will constantly be submerged in water.


    • Bob Jackson February 26, 2010 at 7:42 am - Reply

      The Liberty Pump installation instructions don’t explicitly state if plumbers putty, silicone or teflon tape is needed on the PVC pipe threads where it screws into the pump discharge orifice. I simply screwed the PVC pipe adapter directly into the pump discharge outlet, making it hand tight. Like you pointed out, this union is constantly submerged and it’s more or less an open path from discharge orifice through the pump blades to the bottom intake port. I also may need to pull the pump someday for maintenance and I don’t want to deal with pipe threads locked by putty or silicone.

      Thanks for reading.

  2. Colin April 1, 2013 at 3:21 pm - Reply

    Is a sewage basin and pump required for all installations for basement toilets?
    Is this only if your main sewage line is above the basement level.
    Is this different if you are in country or on city water?
    If I had my house built with a roughed in bathroom, do I still required a sewage basin and pump?

    Confused in Ottawa, ON

    • BobJackson April 1, 2013 at 6:06 pm - Reply

      “Sewage runs downhill” as the old saying goes (Rated G version). It doesn’t matter if the main sewer line is tied to a municipal sewage system or septic tank, if the main sewer line is higher than the basement bathroom soil pipes then a sewage basin and pump are necessary.

      > If I had my house built with a roughed in bathroom, do I still required a sewage basin and pump?
      It depends on the elevation of your basement with respect to the main sewer line. For example, my neighbor’s house is on a hill with the basement floor elevation well above street level. The main sewer line runs below the basement floor to the sewer beneath the street. His basement bathroom does not need a sewage basin and pump because gravity does the job just like the bathrooms and kitchen on the main floor.

      If you’re building a house, your architect or builder will know if you need a sewage basin and pump.

  3. Ryan January 17, 2014 at 10:51 am - Reply

    First of all, thanks a lot for the detail and pictures…

    I have a couple of questions.

    1) I’m having problems with my pump, so I pulled my lid off for the first time since we bought the house several years ago. The ends of the bolts that held the lid down are rusted out and the rubber grommets into which the bolts were screwed are eroded, so I need to replace them.

    I’m having a hard time finding them at the local plumbing supply store, but it looks like you used mirror mount nuts for this. Is that correct?

    2) Is there a reason why you put your check valve and shutoff so far down your pipe (so close to the pump lid)? It seems like you might avoid the water hammer if you put it further up on your pipe. I am going to install a shut off valve (just have a check valve right now) and was wondering how far up the pipe it should go. I only have about 6′ from my ejector pit lid to the point where it ties into my main.

    3) On one other installation video I watched, the guy drilled a 3/16″ weep hole in the pipe just above the top of the pump to avoid an ‘air lock’. Any thoughts on that?


    • Bob Jackson January 17, 2014 at 5:34 pm - Reply

      Hi Ryan,
      Replies to your questions:
      1. Mirror mount nuts is correct:

      2. The reasons I installed the check valve a foot or so above floor level are:
      * limit the amount of backflow into the sewage ejector pump and basin when the pump shuts off.
      * mounting the check valve closer to the floor allowed me to drain the sewage stand pipe directly into the basin for maintenance, such as when I replaced the check valve.

      So long as maximum water column height is not exceeded for the check valve, it’s really a matter of personal preference how high (within reason) the check valve is installed above the floor.

      3. I’ve read about drilling a small weep hole to prevent air lock, however the weep hole is not called for in my Liberty LE-70 Installation Manual. My pump has been in service for over 5 years and I’ve never had an air lock problem.

      What kind of problems are you having with your pump?


  4. Ryan January 18, 2014 at 7:40 am - Reply

    Hi Bob –

    It started with hearing the pump motor running, but not shutting off. It sounded like it was pumping waste from the basin at the time, so I thought that the float switch may be malfunctioning and not shutting off the pump.

    When I took off the lid, there is enough waste water in the basin where the pump should be on and pumping and yet nothing is being pumped out. However, the pump motor is running, so I’m planning to pull the pump and see if one of my kids may have flushed a Lego man down the john or something where the pump is blocked. If not, I’m thinking the pump may be faulty. As far as I know, it’s original with the house which is about 18 years old.

    As far as I can tell at this point, there’s not a problem with the float, since the pump should be on with the amount of waste water in the basin. While I’m going through this exercise, there’s no shut off valve, so I’m planning to install one of those as well.


  5. Daniel May 4, 2015 at 12:00 pm - Reply

    Hello Bob,

    May you tell me where I can buy the rubber grommet that seals the pvc pipe with the sewage basin cover?

    The rubber grommet is shown on the image of “Ball/Check Valve Stem Pipe and Pump” (i.e. center-left the donut ring).

    thank you

    • Bob Jackson May 4, 2015 at 1:00 pm - Reply

      Contact the basin manufacturer for replacement pipe seal grommets. If you can’t identify the manufacturer, measure the inside diameter of the holes in your cover and size of the PVC pipes (typically 2 inch) and contact:
      * Jim Murray, Inc.
      * Topp Industries


  6. Nick May 7, 2015 at 12:04 am - Reply

    Question: does it matter how far away the ejector pump is from the main sewage line? I want to move my basement bathroom because it’s not functional so the only option is to move it. The spot I want to move it is maybe 10 ft away.

    • Bob Jackson May 7, 2015 at 8:55 pm - Reply

      The purpose of the sewage ejector pump is to lift the effluent some vertical distance to reach the overhead drain pipe. The horizontal distance between the pump and the main sewer line isn’t important.

      What is important is the horizontal section of sewer pipe has the proper slope. The 2012 International Residential Code (IRC) states in article P3005.3 Horizontal drainage piping slope:

      “Horizontal drainage piping shall be installed in uniform alignment at uniform slopes not less than 1/4 unit vertical in 12 units horizontal (2-percent slope) for 2 1/2 inch (64 mm) diameter and less, and not less than 1/8 unit vertical in 12 units horizontal (1-percent slope) for diameters of 3 inches (76 mm) or more.”

      This diagram illustrates the sewage pipe slope requirement for a 2-1/2 inch pipe or smaller:
      2012 IRC P3005.3 Horizontal drainage piping slope diagram

      One might think that a steeper slope greater than 2 percent (1/4 inch drop per foot) would make for better drainage, but it doesn’t because a 2% slope ensures the “liquids” don’t outrun the “solids” and cause a pipe clog.


  7. Tony N. July 23, 2015 at 9:37 pm - Reply

    Hello Bob,
    I moved into my 1904 built house march 2013. The sewage basin for the basement bathroom is only partially sunk. The sewage inlet pipe is just above slab level. I assume because the bathroom floor was built about 10 inches above the slab level. The sewage basin assembly is only 4 linear feet from the toilet. Do you think this is functional/up to code?
    Also the installer filled round the sewage basin with loose fill but no cement/sealer. I want to do some radon mitigation and wonder what I need to do to it to seal it up.

    PS: the house was moved to a new location at some time and is on a modern foundation with a finished basement.



    • Bob Jackson July 23, 2015 at 10:43 pm - Reply

      The obvious requirement is the sewage basin is set low enough for the waste water to gravity flow into it. The basins shown in this InspectAPedia article are partially sunk into the basement floor. I’m not aware of a specific plumbing code requirement for the basin to be at floor level. Best to call your building inspection dept for local code requirements, if any.

      > I want to do some radon mitigation and wonder what
      > I need to do to it to seal it up.
      The EPA Home Buyer’s and Seller’s Guide to Radon states in How To Lower The Radon Level In Your Home:

      “Sealing cracks and other openings in the foundation is a basic part of most approaches to radon reduction.”

  8. Jim September 9, 2015 at 6:40 pm - Reply

    Hello Bob,

    I have a sewage ejector pit that was installed under my stairs in the basement. How many “twists and turns” can I have in the ejecting pvc pipe as I route it to the sewar line? After discharge, I’m thinking it needs to travel through 2 45* elbows and 2 90* elbows. Do you foresee any issues with that setup?


  9. Ken September 19, 2015 at 6:24 pm - Reply

    Hello bob,
    I’m installing a sewage basin in my basement with 4″ main from toilet .the basin has a 4″ hole in the side but did not come with a fitting to connect the basin to the 4″ line. I’ve looked all over and checked Everbilt but I cannot find the fitting. Could you please tell me what I’m looking for and where I might find it.

    • Bob Jackson September 19, 2015 at 6:56 pm - Reply

      You need a 4 inch pipe seal rubber grommet to connect the sewer line to the basin. The Topp Uniseal U400 fits a 4 inch outside diameter sewer pipe but requires a 5 inch diameter hole in the side of the sewage basin. See the Uniseal spec sheet for more details.

      To enlarge the 4 inch hole in the side of the basin to the required 5 inch diameter to fit the Uniseal U400 grommet, make a paper template with a 5 inch hole, trace the outline around the existing 4 inch hole and carefully saw the larger hole with a jigsaw & fine tooth blade. Deburr the edges with a utility knife.

  10. Ken September 20, 2015 at 9:06 am - Reply

    Thanks for the info! It’s ordered

  11. Alex November 14, 2015 at 10:05 am - Reply

    Hello guys, inhave a question, im working on my sewage pump myself, but mine is sticking out like 6 inches off the concrete level, my question is, is that fine or does it have to be concrete level?

    • Bob Jackson November 15, 2015 at 10:23 am - Reply

      Can you clarify the problem:
      * Is the pump out of plumb (not vertical) in the basin?
      * Is the top of the pump sticking out of the basin, above floor level?

  12. Kevin January 1, 2016 at 7:16 pm - Reply

    I replaced my pump back in September and I now have the pump pulling water from the toilet and shower trap, any thoughts? Bad vent on the pit maybe????

    • Bob Jackson January 1, 2016 at 8:14 pm - Reply

      It’s because the Drain-Waste-Vent (DWV) system isn’t working properly or maybe not connected.

      DWV is fancy name for the air vent pipes to the roof and/or Air Admittance Valves (AAV) that equalizes the air pressure during water movement in the pipes such that water displacement doesn’t suck the shower, toilet and sink traps dry. When the pump drains the sewage basin the volume of displaced water must be backfilled by air. (Likewise when the basin fills with water, the air in the basin must escape to the outdoors through the roof vent pipe.) When your sewage pump operates it draws a vacuum pulling air in through the shower and toilet traps because the DWV isn’t able to supply the needed intake air. That’s the sucking/gurgling noises.

      Venting for Plumbing Systems is an in-depth review of DWV plumbing.

      The DWV installation for my basement bathroom is shown in these articles:
      * How to Finish a Basement Bathroom – Part 10 illustrates the DWV PVC vent pipe from the basin to the roof vent.
      * How to Finish a Basement Bathroom – Part 13 shows the Studor Mini-Vent Air Admittance Valve installation under the basement sink.

      The Building Code always requires the roof vent pipe DWV and depending on jurisdiction, may require the AAV (Studor Mini-Vent) at sink fixtures. The AAV reduces home construction costs by minimizing the quantity of outdoor vent pipes to the various plumbing fixtures. This related project has more about the Studor Mini-Vent.

      I think your DWV issue with the sewage basin pump should be easy to correct given the severity of the problem. Ensure the sewage basin air vent pipe is connected, isn’t underwater in the basin (it only needs to extend just below the basin cover) and open to the outdoors. You’ll need to follow it up to the roof to be sure. Install a Studor Mini-Vent under the basement sink if you don’t have one. Home Depot has the Studor Mini-Vent.


  13. DeniseDenise DeStefano June 22, 2016 at 12:30 pm - Reply


    Pipes were roughed in for toilet, sink and shower in the basement when the house was built in 1982. We have a septic system. The main pipe runs below the basement to the tank. Do I need to add extra venting or is the venting already connected to main plumbing enough? Also, will I need a sewage pump?


  14. B mardo July 14, 2016 at 2:50 pm - Reply

    Why would my pump be going off in my upstairs bathroom when in use.
    I just remodeled my bathroom with a new tub, sink and toilet and now my pump goes off when I use them. Why is this happening . My pump was installed for a bathroom in my basement, not upstairs.

    • Bob Jackson July 14, 2016 at 7:27 pm - Reply

      The upstairs bathroom was remodeled, correct? Did you do it yourself? Were any of the fixtures (shower/tub, sink or toilet) moved to a different location? Did you reconnect the plumbing vent pipe or install Air Admittance Valves?

      What’s happening is the waste water is back flowing from the sewer line into the basement sewage basin. The sewage basin fills and activates the sewage ejector pump. My first guess is the upstairs fixtures are not properly vented causing the waste water from the upstairs bathroom to be sucked into the basement sewage basin. This happens because the sewage basin is vented to the outdoors and it’s now the primary route for venting.

  15. Kal November 23, 2016 at 7:44 pm - Reply

    My basement is unfinished I notice a smell coming from where the rough in for the bathroom will go, I lift up the lid and there is water in there should it be? or should the builder have installed a pump which I do have on the other side of the basement near the furnace.

    • Bob Jackson November 24, 2016 at 12:17 pm - Reply

      The home builder only installed the sewage basin. It often fills with muddy rain water during construction and won’t evaporate when capped by the basin cover. You or your contractor/plumber will have to hookup the plumbing and install a sewage ejector pump. See How to Finish a Basement Bathroom – Part 1.

  16. Chad E. December 3, 2016 at 2:10 pm - Reply

    I have a home I am looking at and noticed that the sewer ejector discharge pipe and sump pump discharge pipe are connected. Is this acceptable? Should they be independent of each other and should the sump pump discharge pipe be routed to the exterior?

    • Bob Jackson December 3, 2016 at 3:27 pm - Reply

      Discharging storm water into the sanitary sewer system is prohibited in most areas.

      The International Plumbing Code Section 1101.3 Prohibited drainage states “Storm water shall not be drained into sewers intended for sewage only.”

      I see your in Loveland, CO which adopted the IPC.

      Some localities spell it out more clearly (bold emphasis added):

      Sec. 7-414. – International Plumbing Code amended; Section 1101.3. Prohibited drainage.
      Section 1101.3 is hereby amended to read as follows: Storm water shall not be drained into sewers intended for sewage only. Sanitary sewer systems shall be designed, built and maintained in such a manner to prevent all storm or ground water from draining, discharging or entering into the sanitary sewer system. Connection of sump pumps, foundation drains, yard drains, gutter downspouts and any other storm water drainage receptacle(s) or system(s) are specifically prohibited from being connected to the sanitary sewer system

      There are many reasons for not allowing storm water discharge into the sewer system:
      * Prevent sewer system overload.
      * Municipalities charge for water consumption, which corresponds to the expected load on the sewer system.
      * If the sewer system backs up, a sump pump will make the problem worse and possibly flood the home.

  17. Jeannette schieck December 9, 2016 at 2:38 pm - Reply

    We have a pentagram sewage pit with a rubber plug for the electrical from the Bur cam sewage pump to go through. The hole in the plug is the diameter of the cable so clearly can’t thread the plug through it. Should we just slice into the hole , pry it open and and pop it around the cable in and hope that the slice will be forced back together when the plug is inserted into the lid of the sewage pit? We have not been able to find instructions for this part of the task. Thanks for any advice you can offer. Jeannette

    • Bob Jackson December 9, 2016 at 7:33 pm - Reply

      That’s right! You have to slice open the electrical cable rubber grommet to insert the pump cord, float switch and high water alarm cables.

      I used a utility knife cut the grommet from the outside perimeter to the interior hole for the cables. Don’t worry because the grommet fits tightly into the basin lid squeezing around and sealing the cables & cut line.

  18. Jeannette schieck December 10, 2016 at 4:02 pm - Reply

    Thanks for that. It is reassuring to know that we were on the right track.

  19. Jeannette December 12, 2016 at 9:03 pm - Reply

    And another question a small roll of foam single sided tape was included in the kit. Is this to seal the lid of the sewage pit as we screw in the tie down screws which hold the lid in place? If so do we put the tape in the lid or put the tape on the tankWould plumber’s putty do the same thing?

    • Bob Jackson December 14, 2016 at 8:45 am - Reply

      I applied the weatherstrip foam tape to the rim of the sewage basin. The black foam is a little difficult to see against the black plastic basin but noticeable at the 9 o’clock position in this photo. Also see the this picture.

      A second narrow strip of single-sided white foam tape is applied to the lap joint of the sewage basin lid to seal the two halves. The more narrow tape just happened to be white.

      Additional basin pictures are in How to Replace a Sewage Pump Check Valve – Part 2.

  20. Mitchell Brown January 3, 2017 at 4:30 pm - Reply

    Appreciate the info and pictures. I’ve read there is a requirement that the sewage ejector output connection to the main drain must be at least 10′ from any existing fixture. Does your installation comply with this? Again, thanks for taking the time to share your experience.

    • Bob Jackson January 3, 2017 at 6:16 pm - Reply

      It’s not 10 feet but 10 pipe diameters (bold emphasis added):

      2015 International Plumbing Code
      Chapter 7 Sanitary Drainage

      “712.3.5. Pump connection to the drainage system.
      Pumps connected to the drainage system shall connect to a building sewer,
      building drain, soil stack, waste stack or horizontal branch drain.
      Where the discharge line connects into horizontal drainage piping, the
      connection shall be made through a wye fitting into the top of the drainage piping
      and such wye fitting shall be located not less than 10 pipe diameters from the base
      of any soil stack, waste stack or fixture drain.”

  21. Jack Norberg February 7, 2017 at 6:54 pm - Reply

    I have a roughed-in basement and I’m connecting the plumbing now. It was prepared with a nice Pro380 container and all the fixtures draining into it. The plumber left a vent pipe for us to connect the ejector pump into. Now for the toilet, shower and sink I’m thinking of setting an AAV in the vanity like you showed in part 13. I just wanted to verify that the AAV is the only vent installed/required for the fixtures. Thanks.

    • Bob Jackson February 7, 2017 at 8:28 pm - Reply

      My basement bathroom plumbing is represented by Figure 3 on page 7 of the Studor Design Criteria and Installation Instructions. (The sewage basin, ejector pump and outdoor air vent pipe (DWV) serving the basin are not illustrated in Figure 3.)

      So if your basement bathroom fixtures (shower, sink and toilet) drains are connected and discharge through a common pipe into the sewage basin, then you need just the one AAV under the sink.

      • Jack February 8, 2017 at 12:52 pm - Reply

        Thank you for the response – I’ll sleep better tonight knowing I don’t need to run xx fittings all over the place in the basement Your construction ‘series’ is a real help to us DIYers.

  22. David February 25, 2017 at 6:35 pm - Reply

    Hii Bob,

    I am at the point where I am ready to run the drain line from the pit to the main sewer line. When I read the ICC section 712.3.5 it mentions a WYE. I purchased the Ferco PQT-300, but I am am worried that it will fail inspection being a TEE. Any thoughts. Thanks.

    • Bob Jackson February 26, 2017 at 12:16 pm - Reply

      Ask your Building Dept if the Fernco QT-300 Tee is acceptable. It helps if the inspector is familiar with it and why you want to use it. If they won’t accept it you’ll have to install a PVC Wye.

      Compare the Fernco QT-300 Sanitary Tee versus Wye fittings. The QT-300 is unique because it directs the flow downstream similar to a Wye, but it’s called a Tee because the side entrance is 90 degrees where a Wye has a 45 entrance. A Wye often requires a 45 degree elbow to make a 90 degree connection.

  23. Mark Wainscott April 4, 2017 at 11:23 am - Reply

    I’m putting in a sewage pit, the deeper the hole the greater the water. On the other side of the wall is a sum pump. Should i wait until its completely dry before trying to install the pit.

    • Bob Jackson April 4, 2017 at 1:06 pm - Reply

      Wait until the hole is dry or the sewage basin will pop-out floating on the water like a boat. Long term I’d be concerned the subsoil water level may rise significantly above that inside the basin forcing it out. You may want to reassess the sump pump and/or the foundation drainage too.

  24. Lou Sabo May 17, 2017 at 10:41 am - Reply


    We had a sewage pump injector system like you have here installed in our basement and connected to our septic system. The toilet now after being flushed bubbles back up into the toilet. Not quite sure how to fix. Any ideas?? Thanks

    • Bob Jackson May 18, 2017 at 7:45 am - Reply

      Was a check/ball valve installed and is the basin properly vented to the outdoors?

  25. Phil Gorne May 21, 2017 at 11:20 am - Reply

    I am working on a system where the inflow from the bathroom is through a 2 inch abs directed into the top of the collection tank rather than the side. The bathroom does have a toilet and all sewage is through this 2 inch pipe. I don’t believe this code. Is it?

  26. Stan King May 23, 2017 at 11:05 am - Reply

    Ok here it goes. Have two sump pumps on each side of the basement.Witch both run a lot . Have an evacuation pump for the laundry,shower and toilet that runs to my septic tank.The problem is that the evac pump witch is open to the ground runs ground water into the septic tank and field.This all started last fall when this farmer received a verdict in a law suit because he went through privet property to drain his fields.he had fill in his road size 10 feet down creek he created in the verdict. He installed a massive pump to pump his ground water back toward us and the creek out back witch is all uphill. I have talked with many township,county officials no action as of yet no word back either.He never reinstalled the original tile back after filling in this mess he created ( that’s why he installed this massive pump) The creek he is going into has not been cleared and dug out since 1884. Anyway i have to unplug my evac pump and only plug it in when i need to do laundry or shower /flush otherwise my septic fills with ground water. Is there a closed system out there? that i can install or does it have to be open to the ground because of hydraulic pressure?I am at a loss for solution besides a law suit witch will cost more than some kind of closed system.

    • Bob Jackson May 24, 2017 at 9:37 am - Reply

      I’m unaware of a residential grade (affordable) closed system that would process and recycle sewage effluents. In some jurisdictions it may be permitted to discharge untreated greywater on the ground surface to lighten the load on your septic systems.

  27. MICHAEL May 26, 2017 at 1:59 am - Reply

    Hi Bob and thanks for all the help. I’m getting a Little giant 4/10 hp pkg for a basement with shower, sink and toilet. Will be used by 2 people and the sewer is just a foot above basement level, so pump will be underground. Do you think the hp is enough?

    And my question is about the vent construction? Do i have to go all the way to the roof or it will bring a smell to the first floor window if i stop by driveway level? Can i run the vent pipe around to the other side of the basement before it goes outside? So how straight it has to be before goes outside? The pump is in the front of the house so i want to bring around back inside the basement and then go outside.

    Should i go for the small or big Basin?

    Should i use an alarm?

    thanks very much

    • Bob Jackson May 26, 2017 at 9:18 am - Reply

      > Do you think the hp is enough?
      See the Sump & Sewage Manufacturers Association Sizing Guidelines for New and Replacement Sewage Pumps. It also has basin sizing advice. Also to refer to the Little Giant pump performance curve (lift head in feet vs gallons/min).

      > Do i have to go all the way to the roof or it will bring a
      > smell to the first floor window if i stop by driveway level?
      The International Plumbing Code (IPC) 2006 Section 904.5 states:

      “Location of vent terminal. An open vent terminal from a drainage
      system shall not be located directly beneath any door, openable window,
      or other air intake opening of the building or of an adjacent building, and
      any such vent terminal shall not be within 10 feet (3048 mm) horizontally
      of such an opening unless it is at least 2 feet (610 mm) above the top of
      such opening.”

      Local amendments may add “or of an adjacent building or property line” given recent trends to build two story houses only 10 or 12 feet apart.

      > Can i run the vent pipe around to the other side of
      > the basement before it goes outside?
      That should be OK if done correctly. Use the correct size pipe and keep elbows to a minimum.

      > Should i use an alarm?
      I’m unaware of IPC requirements for residential sewage basin high water alarms. Check with your local building dept. But do you really want to be taking a shower or flush the toilet only to discover the basin is overflowing? An alarm is small price to pay to avoid a disaster.

  28. AZ Dry Heat July 4, 2017 at 10:13 pm - Reply

    Question: I have a bathroom in my basement that is plumbed with a sewage basin/lift station. I would like to add another bathroom in the basement. Would it be acceptable to add an extra inlet/intake into the sewage basin and tie in to the lift station from the other side? It looks as though this particular basin has 2 inlets. Would that be OK?

    • Bob Jackson July 5, 2017 at 11:05 am - Reply

      My sewage basin also has knockouts for two inlet pipes. You should size the pump for the maximum sustained flow rate.
      * Toilets are 1.6 gallons/flush but are momentary impulse flows and it takes time for tank to refill.
      * Standard shower heads are 2.5 gallons/min. Worst case with two showers running that’s 5 gallons/min.
      * Bathroom faucet flow rate is about 1 gallon/min.

      The maximum estimated flow rate is therefore:
      5 gallons (two showers) + 3.2 gallons (two simultaneous flushes) + 2 gallons (two faucets) = 10.2 gallons/min.

      So worst case you’ll need a pump that can move 10.2 gallons/min at the required lift head (vertical feet). If you feel the worst case scenario is unrealistic then derate it say at 75% (10.2 * .75 = 7.65 gal/min). It depends on lifestyle – full house with everyone using the baths at the same time getting ready for school/work versus less frequently used convenience bathrooms. I personally would over engineer the pump capacity.

      Use the Liberty Pump Sizing calculator to choose the right pump.

  29. Doug Casavant August 26, 2017 at 7:47 am - Reply

    Excellent presentation on basement lift systems. Do you have any advice for obtaining parts. My metal cover on the system basin is rusting through. Know of any vendors selling replacement parts? The top diameter of my basin cover is about 21 inches. Though of making one out of plexiglass but figured would check for replacement parts dealer first. Thanks

  30. J October 26, 2017 at 1:04 pm - Reply

    Thank you for this excellent documentation. It has been extremely helpful!!

    We recently purchased a house with a finished basement that has a bathroom (w ejector pump) already installed. There is a faint smell of sewage (in the basement only) and I can’t figure out exactly where the smell is coming from.
    The basin cover is sealed tight and the pump appears to be working fine (passed all home inspections). I do not see any leaks or dampness anywhere however, there is a funky smell in the bathroom and unfinished section of the basement.
    Could this be an issue with the vent pipe? If so, is there some kind of “leak test” I can try to see if and where the vent pipe could be “leaking” gas back into the basement? Thank you in advance.

    • Bob Jackson October 26, 2017 at 8:25 pm - Reply

      Sniff around the bathroom sink drain and under the sink inside the vanity. If the funky odor is stronger here it could be caused by a failed (or missing) Air Admittance Valve (AAV). See How to Fix a Sewer Gas Smell. Flush the toilet several times until the sewage ejector pump runs with your ear close to the bathroom sink drain. Do you gurgling noises coming from the drain? If so, that’s the P-trap being sucked dry. When the water seal in the P-trap is broken sewer gases will waft out from the drain. Or if there is an AAV under the sink, it may have failed and needs replacing. It’s a $25 part so replace it erring on the side of caution.

      I installed a Studor Mini-Vent AAV in my basement bathroom sink because the Drain Waste Vent (DWV) piping that goes to the outdoor roof vent only connects to the sewage basin.

      If the above doesn’t fix it, post a reply and we’ll troubleshoot possible other causes.

  31. Mel Greiner November 13, 2017 at 12:33 pm - Reply

    My unit looks identical to the one you serviced. my cover is deteriorated, would you know where a new one could be purchased?

  32. ron rode January 17, 2018 at 10:17 pm - Reply

    I believe I have a leak in my basement submerged poly waste tank, since it was dry when I checked the contents and removed the cover. It is about 20 inch dia. and 30 inches deep. I can not see or feel any side holes, so believe a crack is somewhere at the bottom corner. Is there an epoxy or material to repair this tank, without replacing the unit? The tank was installed about 20 years ago, but has been in use only 5 years to handle a basement bathroom and sink.

    • Bob Jackson January 18, 2018 at 8:25 am - Reply

      Google “polyethylene repair kit” for rods that are melted to seal the crack. I have no experience with this so it may or may not work. If it were me, I’d replace the tank because more cracks may occur and there could be a void in the soil under the tank that needs to be filled for adequate support.

  33. Buddy March 4, 2018 at 7:23 am - Reply

    i am having a bathroom roughed in our new house in the basement. The sewer line is above the bathroom, so they are putting in a pump as described above… Are there limitations to what can go in the pump, like liquids only, or can you actually poop in the bathroom and have it pumped out thru the pump… i have been told you CANNOT poop. thanks for your help

    • Bob Jackson March 4, 2018 at 10:32 am - Reply

      Makes me wonder if the contractor doesn’t know the difference between a sump pump and “solids handling” sewage pump.

      The Liberty LE70 pump that I installed can handle 2 inch solids and it’s worked well for years with no maintenance. I instruct the family and house guests the only things that go in the basement toilet are pee, poo and toilet paper. Baby wipes, feminine products and everything else is forbidden because it could clog the pump. Also see How to Replace a Sewage Pump Check Valve where I pulled the pump.

      Grinder pumps that “Shreds difficult solids such as feminine products, rags, towels and wipes that can jam a solids-handling style pump” are available and more expensive.

  34. Eileen Zac September 24, 2018 at 4:19 pm - Reply

    I do not hear the pump run when I use the sink or flush the toilet. Does that indicate that the pump needs to be replaced? It is10 years old but not used daily. Thank you!

    • Bob Jackson September 24, 2018 at 6:30 pm - Reply

      It might take several toilet flushes to fill the sewage basin sufficiently to activate the pump float switch. On average, I need to flush 3 times before the pump cycles but it depends on the capacity of your basin. Before you start flushing and overflow the basin, verify the high water alarm is working!

      Troubleshoot the inoperative sewage pump by:
      1 – Check for power at the wall outlet with a receptacle tester.
      It’s available at home improvement stores for about $5.

      2 – If no power at the outlet where the pump cord is plugged into, check the circuit breaker panel for tripped breaker.

      3 – If the pump circuit has power, the pump float switch may have failed.
      You can test the float switch (gray cylinder in the photo) by removing the basin access cover and lifting the float switch with a stick, coat hanger or gloved hand.

      If all of the above troubleshooting steps pass, then the pump motor has probably failed.

      My Liberty pump is 9 years old and still works fine.

  35. Sandra Lange November 23, 2018 at 2:36 pm - Reply

    Hello. We just moved into a house two years ago that has a 1/2 bath in the basement with a sewage ejector pump. It flooded the day after we moved in, so we stopped using the basement bathroom. Now, we’ve had flooding in the basement from the sewage ejector pump, but nobody has used the basement bathroom. We find sometimes we have to shake the pipe, and a sound of water will rush and we hear the familiar ejector pump sound. If the basement is not being used, where is this water coming up out of the sewage ejector cover coming from? I was under the impression it would only be basement bathroom using this system. Thank you.

    • Bob Jackson November 23, 2018 at 8:16 pm - Reply

      The basement bathroom sewage basin is the lowest point in the house. I suspect it’s overflowing when not in use for one of several reasons:

      1 – the check valve is defective or non-existent.
      See How to Replace a Sewage Pump Check Valve.

      2 – waste water from higher levels in the house plumbing is back-flowing (reverse flow) past the defective or missing check valve into the basin.
      The check valve should prevent back-flow. The ejector pump waste pipe should also empty into the main house sewer line from a higher level as in this photo. Note the red arrows indicating the basin waste plumbing as it connects to the black ell fitting. Gravity should prevent waste water from other fixtures – toilets, sinks, showers, etc. – from running back into the basin, making less work for the check valve. A check valve isn’t expensive. A plumber can replace or install one. Labor will be the main expense.

      3 – a remote possibility is ground water is flowing up and around the basin onto the floor slab.
      The ground water level would have to be very high for this to occur. Does it only happen after it rains? If so, you may need to install a sump pump. It could also be a foundation drainage problem causing locally high ground water levels next to the basement.

Leave A Comment