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  • Writer's pictureBuilt Engineers

Built Case Study: Sump Pump Overflow Investigation New York City- NYC


The purpose of the on-site evaluation and document review was to investigate potential

causes of a below-grade drainage sump pump that was reported to overflow periodically.

This report provides a narrative and photographic description of the drainage system serving the sump as well as a listing of any deficiencies that were noted during our site visit.


BUILT Engineers, P.C. performed on-site evaluations on August 16th, 2023 to assess the

present condition of the property. The Property Manager met with our team for

a discussion of the building history and escorted the team on an observation tour of the

property to evaluate the existing drainage system.

Electronic copies of construction shop drawings were not available for our review. This

report is primarily based on observations made during our site visit and from information

and documentation obtained from persons familiar with the building.

The opinions and recommendations described in this report are based upon the

observations made at the time of our visit. Since there are inherently concealed and or

unknown conditions that exist within buildings, we have had to rely upon discussions with

persons familiar with the daily operation and maintenance of facilities. Some equipment was

not observable during our visit.

Some equipment observed was not operating during our visit due to seasonal requirements

or building demand. In the case of idle machinery or equipment, our opinions were formed

by interviewing available personnel and reviewing any maintenance records and service

contracts presented to us.


A. Plumbing Equipment Description

As part of our survey we made observations of the plumbing fixtures, piping and equipment in the cellar. The cellar contains an accessory preparation kitchen, office and bathrooms, boiler room, as well as sump and storage areas.

Cellar Equipment

(1) Boiler

(3) Electric domestic-water heaters

(1) Duplex domestic-water pumps

(1) Sump pump

Cellar Fixtures

(1) Single-compartment sink

(1) Slop Sink

(1) Floor drain

(1) Water closet

(1) Lavatory

B. Plumbing Equipment Conditions

Periodic overflowing of the cellar sump pump has been reported and remained a constant issue first arising approximately two years ago.

The drainage into the sump includes plumbing fixtures located at or below grade. The sump

contents was reported and observed to be mostly clear water free of any soap buildup which would be indicative that the pump is for non-sanitary discharge.

During normal operation, the sump becomes full of water, a float switch activates the sump

pump, the sump pump discharges past the downstream backwater valve and into the utility


If the backwater valve on the pump discharge becomes clogged or blocked with debris, the sump pump will run continuously as it is unable to discharge past this valve. The pump will then eventually fail due to overuse as well as the lack of ability to discharge.

C. Plumbing Equipment Recommendations

It is recommended that the backwater valve be investigated and/or replaced to determine if

this remediates the previous issues with the sump-pump operation.

In order to mitigate future overflowing conditions due to backwater valve failure, It is

recommended that a secondary sump pump, discharge, and backwater valve be considered along with a high-water text alert or alarm.

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