SUMMARY OF CORNERSTONE SUMP PUMP SYSTEM Sue Donaldson s Interviews of Ken, May, 2011

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1 GENERAL: SUMMARY OF CORNERSTONE SUMP PUMP SYSTEM Sue Donaldson s Interviews of Ken, May, Residents are supposed to sign waiver on moving in: recognize there is flood danger, won t sue developer. Water table has gone above floor of basement from time to time. Should perpetuate custom of signing. 2. A bunch of sump holes throughout both buildings. Some holes have pumps, some don t (but could.) 3. Sump pumps have been needed every year in needs sump for the elevator pit, more occasionally for other rooms. The most vulnerable points are the end of 195 end near Point lot, and southwest corner of 175 where exercise room is. 4. Every one of the sump holes has its own personality. It taps into a different layer of water. The ground underneath can be thought of as rock craters with dirt filling it in. So each sump taps into a different pool; one sump can pump continuously, presumably draining a large area, while the next can run dry quickly. WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE: Regularly: - Check all sumps, look for water problems. - Check all pumps, look for obvious breakage; top of pump should be approx 4 inches below the floor - MAKE SURE THEY ARE ALL PLUGGED IN! - Check elevator pit for water. WHERE TO FIND THE SUMPS AND PUMPS: has sump with a pump at the front wall, hose dumps into laundry outlet. (TBF?) ` 173 has sump only, on north side (water comes in at southwest corner) 175 Basement: - Main Barrell Sump (has pump) - Furnace Room, under floor drain; o all other pumps bring the water here, o pumps out to Big Pond drains - Paint Room (has pump), back left corner, drains elec and exercise rooms Page 1 of 8

2 - Furnace Room (has pump), far right wall, just past the furnaces, not useful - Hall Corner near elevator, has a pump; newest, best, electric sensor - Back hall, behind the door to the back stairs NEEDS PUMP - Elevator pit (must be kept dry) Basement of 177, crawlspace under cellar stairs 195 Basement: - Main Barrel Sump (has pump) - Furnace Room, under floor drain; o all other pumps bring the water here, o all townhouse floor drains water comes here - Furnace Room, far left wall, just past the furnaces - Electrical Room - Storage Areas (Starting from electrical room) o 4 th Area (maybe) o 5 th Area o Next to last area o No Carol o Yes Serge also electric outlet, Mef, Jane o May be others, under/behind stored stuff 195 Townhouses Each basement has a floor drain, connects to 195 Furnace room barrel sump has sump with a pump, connected to laundry output TBF has sump only has sump with a pump, output to Big Pond system??? has sump only has sump only Page 2 of 8

3 DRAINAGE City Systems Cambridge has two types of sewer system in our area. One is for real sewage and one for rainwater. It is illegal for our sumps or gutters to drain directly into this system except under certain circumstances. The large outdoor drain by 171 legally goes directly to the storm drain sewer system. The barrel sump drain in 195 also goes directly to the storm drain sewer system. Cornerstone Systems Big Pond Drains This is located in the center. The grass and the gravel pit allow water to collect and drain slowly. With enough rain, the pond fills up, maybe up to three feet, for an hour or two. It then drains into gravel beneath. Eventually this will clog with dirt; dig it up again and re-gravel? Grass area is part of that system. There s also an overflow drain near cars that goes into sewer system, legally. Potential problem; if sewer system back up, then our water would have no place to go. Many of the gutters/downspouts flow via an underground system into the Big Pond area. These downspouts can be identified because they flow into white collars and then into the ground. The pumps in 195 could be made to drain into this system. The 175 sump system drains via PVC pipe into the Big Pond system. This is the outlet pipe from the main barrel sump in the furnace room. It hooks into the drainage system on the patio by the door to dining room. This spot is vulnerable to freezing. If this happens, remedy available in furnace room of 175 can be re-routed (qv) 195 Drains sumps do not connect to Big Pond system. See individual pumps. 2. Basement floor drains in townhouses join common pipe this pipe joins everything from the drain by the stairs outside Lynn s unit (at bottom of outdoor stairs) through 195 basement. This goes to common sump in basement of 195 furnace room. This sump is actually a large barrel with no connection to ground water, more a storage barrel.when this pump turns on, it pumps into sewer system. This is legal. No sewer gases b/c of sump arrangement. Other Drains Gutters on 175 south side all drain to ground and go into big drain near 171. Page 3 of 8

4 ABOUT SUMP PUMPS 1. There are 3 types of sump pumps in use at CS. Mostly half horsepower, some 1/3, any new should be ½ or greater. Only the most recent has potential of lasting longer than 2-3 years. Cost ranges $ , more expensive is better construction/last type bought. Major constraint; they have to fit in hole. All pumps in 195 are the cheapest type: Flotec (SP?), plastic; internally has rusting components, some kind of wire spring rusts out and pump just pumps water inside itself.. Second type, Rigid, can identify these by three long bolts on the outside that go into cast iron base holding everything together. Body plastic. Vulnerability: bolts rust out, whole pump falls apart, oil leaks out, pump dies. These can be inspected to assess bolts for rusting/prefailure. Third type: all cast iron, bolts; so far so good (but haven t been tested.) This is 1 horsepower. This is also Flotec, at Home Depot. 2. There are also three types of floats or triggers that can be used with sump pumps. One is the typical float trigger; there s also a diaphragm that sits in half sphere that sits at the bottom of the hole--when there s enough water pressure on top of it, it turns on; third type is two electrified probes, when water hits top probe it turns on, when below the bottom probe it turns off. These can be separate from pump. The float or trigger has a separate cord that runs to a plug between the socket and to sump pump plug, allowing it to turn the pump on and off. If float/trigger is not working for some reason, unplug that and plug pump directly into socket to make it run. 3. Pipes from sumps are 1 ¼ inches, which limits how much water they can pump. This is ¼ inch is wider than the flexible hoses that come with the pumps. We might have done better with bigger pipes, though mostly they have never worked to capacity except once. The pumps have a fitting that can take max 1 ½ inch. 4. Most CS pumps triggered when water gets within 6 inches of top of slab generally the same for all sumps at CS, but see #175 for exception. We can change triggering level by raising the pump by putting rocks under it. NS some think the pumps should sit as low in the water as possible; Ken feels they pump just as well sitting higher, and don t have to pump the water as far uphill. 5. Note that ALL pumps have backflow valves placed in the pipes/hosing somewhere between pump and flexible hose. This is not part of the pump, installed separately by us. One exception: the 175 barrel sump may be built in. Page 4 of 8

5 6. ***There are two new backup sumps pumps in the 175 furnace room They are 1/3 hp, low quality but OK for a few years. Don t use for elevator, not enough capacity replace with 1 hp. There is flexible hosing here too. TOUR OF INDIVIDUAL HOLES AND PUMPS: and : The two separate houses have their own sump holes has one hole, in the basement of 177. Of note, the contractors made a mistake, built this whole building a foot too high (technically a violation of height ordinance.) That means they have never had a flood issue, and they don t have a sump pump in place: maybe they should, or have access to one. ACTION NEEDED: At 171, they had a huge flood water was backed up a foot over the cable and telephone box at corner of common house, over the drain, and the water came though the connecting pipes (for cable and telephone) into their basement. This could happen again. Debbi bought a sump pump, mail order, but they don t have the right connectors to hook it up. She has taken responsibility to get that done. For both and : To Do, community responsibility; connect up hose to get out of the building when it floods. They have no floor drains. They can connect it to washer drain into sewer system, though this is technically illegal. Also, if sewer system gets backed up (which it has) they are in trouble. Another option community drills hole above foundation, over east wall, and then drain right into rain sewer, but it s legal.) Page 5 of 8

6 195 BUILDING: The 195 building, including the townhouses, has a total of three pumps; but more sump holes are available if needed, though without draining arrangements. 195 TOWNHOUSES. We believe that each townhouse has a sump hole. Only #185 has a pump. This pump drains into regular sewage system. It goes across to opposite corner and drains through black flexible pipe into sewer pvc. This pump pumps out through 1 ¼ inch flexible hose. Ken is going to take out the flexible hose vulnerable connection and put in fixed pipes. This one has float trigger. The pump may fail without warning. (Spare pumps are in furnace room of 175.) This pump tends to be triggered more by rain runoff than by rising groundwater. 195 FURNACE ROOM. (Key for all these rooms hanging in hall.) Furnace room has the barrel sump. This is not connected to ground water table--it s just a barrel. All townhouse floor drains flow into this barrel; its outflow goes, legally, into town sewer. This pump has an actual float float. This is not a built in sump, could be replaced. This pump is ten years old (original). Not permanently wired in, double cord arrangement. This is the FINAL backup. Higher capacity than other pumps, bigger pipe outflow. The furnace room also has a regular sump pump. It s drained via a temporary hose across the floor into the barrel sump. It rarely goes on. 195 ELECTRICAL ROOM.The major workhorse, and Ken gauges water table for whole place by this one; it goes on first. This pump tends to be triggered more by groundwater rising, which may not happen for some days after rain. This pump can be pumping continuously and the one next door in the furnace room hardly pumping; they seem to drain different underground pools. We can gauge capacity by percent of time this one is on: e.g. on for 20 sec/off for one minute shows less use of total capacity than on for one minute, off for 20 seconds. Electrical room only flooded when the 185 pump failed. This sump also goes into sewer system; this one goes along ceiling and into laundry connection. Note that all 195 pumps each have independent outflow, so they don t backflow to each other. Other sump holes: Starting at west end, fourth(maybe) and fifth storage areas (Suzanna and Shirley, just before rise in hall floor) and one in next to last storage area. There may be others; stored stuff prevents seeing them. To use these, we would have to run temporary hose out the door to outside drain. Outside the building? Page 6 of 8

7 175 BUILDING Major problem areas here are the elevator pit, and the exercise and electrical rooms. Water has also been known (in the pre-sump pump past) to leak up through cracks in basement floors. Note that storage areas are raised, mostly. There are no sumps in any of raised areas. Last year (2010), four pumps going full time, couldn t keep up. Now there is a higher capacity pump here, 1 hp. The elevator pit has to stay dry. If the inspector finds even a few inches of water, we will need to do further remediation. Pit can be visually checked through crack when elevator on basement floor. The only time water has appeared in the pit is when water table is within five inches of slab (in sump hole next to elevator.) Elevator pit is surrounded by Irontight cement should be water proof, but isn t. Recently re-water-proofed (2011.) In the pit: hydraulic piston has to four stories into ground. In center of pit, frame and hole for piston, which aren t supposed to rust out. Also 3 ft of water in pit would contaminate hydraulic fluid. 175 ELEVATOR PUMP, beside elevator shaft. This pump is newly installed, spring This hole has a HUGE basin; once it goes on, it stays on for days. This is the new, cast iron type pump (highest quality of the three types we have.) As of 5/2011, it has never come on. Note that pipe connections are all above water, to last longer and not rust. Rigid pump coming up in the hole is screwed onto pump, a solid connection. 175 PAINT ROOM. This pump hardly even goes on, empties very quickly even in flood. However, it s key to prevent flooding in exercise room and maybe electrical room. Standard grade pump. Ken lowered this by taking stones out and this relieved flooding in exercise room. Now it s up again to prevent it going on all the time when it s not flooding. This one needs to be jiggled according to flood conditions. Note piping and backflow valves. Example in paint room. Each of the 175 pumps is piped up to ceiling. In addition to backflow valve by the pump, each has a separate valve to prevent backflow (blue handle in mid pipe) because all the pumps are connected to each other, unlike 195. There s also a general backflow valve if there is ever backflow from freezing outside on patio. This is the red handle valve (hard to move.) 175 FURNACE ROOM: The sump pump is at far end, has tiny drain area, almost useless. Barrel Sump: The circular rim on floor is top of big barrel sump, not connected to ground water, same as big sump in 195. It connects also to floor drain three feet away, into which we can drain water if needed. Note that this sump pump (in barrel) also is plugged into regular Page 7 of 8

8 socket; don t unplug. Note that outflow piping from barrel has fixed connection which leaks, wrapped in tape; but it works. Valve here has no known use. When this pump fails, no warning, major issue to get to it. When it fails, it will flood back up through floor drain. Theroretically, long lifetime. Note in case of frozen patio area drain: In ceiling piping, near red pillar near water heaters, is a dead end pipe connected to sump drainage system. If outside draining system by patio freezes, we could open pipe here, attach hose, drain into PVC downpipe into barrel sump (open hose) or into floor drain, same thing. This is the only floor drain in the whole building, unlike townhouses. The PVC pipe that goes into floor nearby is AC condensate. This has an opening into which flexible pipe can go. Electrical room: no sump, but this and exercise room next door have flooded. Some people think this comes from wall outside, but Ken is convinced it s groundwater; when he lowered paint room pump, water in these rooms came down. Option: drill a sump hole in electrical room. Electrical part of heating element vulnerable to flooding in here. 175 WORKROOM. sump behind door to right as you come in, under bicycles. This drainage area is independent of other areas. It has only overflowed during worst part of flooding, for a few hours; elevator pump seems to help, but not a linear relationship. There is no pump in here and no drainage system in place. If needed, pump is in furnace room and lots of flexible hosing to run down hall into furnace room. Ken may plumb connection this summer (2011) so pump can live here. Oracle: Ken Thompson Scribe: Sue Donaldson Slight re-writes: Kathy Eccles Page 8 of 8

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