If you are looking for the codes for sewage ejector pumps, you are in the right spot!
In this guide, you will learn:
- The 7 essential codes!
- Why the cover needs to be air-tight
- The need for a check valve
- And more...
As a licensed home inspector, I have inspected quite a few ejection pits over the years.
But exactly what is an ejector pit? These pumps are similar to regular sump pumps except that they pump (and sometimes grind) sewage from toilets and not stormwater.
Ejector or grinder pumps are for plumbing fixtures that are located below the main sewer line of the house. Ejection pumps catch the sewage in an air-tight pit, while a pump automatically sends it back up to the main drain line.
The most common problems with ejector pumps include a loose fitting lid where sewer gases escape and a malfunctioning check valve. Keep reading to learn about the 7 essential code requirements for sewage ejector pumps!
What You Need To Know About Sewage Ejector Pump Code Requirements
The basics of building code for sewage ejector pumps are designed to keep the pump running properly and to keep sewer gases out of the home.
In this guide, I have summarized the most important codes that I found in the IRC or International Residential Code. The IRC is known as a model code that many U.S. states and countries have adopted.
Your local county or city may have some slight variations and you should always check your local code for the final authority. You can read the IRC building code on sewage ejector pumps in Section P3007 Sumps And Ejectors here.
7 Code Requirements For Sewage Ejector Pumps
Code 1 - Ejector Pit Cover Requirements
Sewage ejector pumps must have a sealed and air tight cover to prevent sewer gases from flowing into the home.
Regular sump pumps don't need to have an air tight lid, but for obvious reasons, it is unhealthy to have sewer gases seep into the house.
As a home inspector, I usually just try to visually make sure the lid is tight, and I don't usually remove sewage ejector pump lids. This cover should also be removable with some screws or bolts. The sump pit cover shouldn't be more than 2-inches below grade or finished flooring.
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Code 2 - Venting Is Required For Ejection Pits
There must be venting installed when there is a sewer ejector pump in a basement.
Venting should be at least 1-1/4 inch in diameter and air admittance valves are not allowed. Air admittance valves would release sewer gas into the home and is forbidden.
Code 3 - Only Fixtures That Need Pumps Should Be Connected
Plumbing fixtures that can drain to the main sewer line by gravity alone should not be discharged into the sewer ejector pump.
If you are on an upper level of the home and use a toilet, the sewer ejector should not be turning on. Only the fixtures below the main sewer line should be going to the ejector pump.
Code 4 - Check Valve Is Required
All sewer ejector pumps need to have a check valve and a full open valve.
A check valve allows the liquid to only flow in one direction and prevents it from going back into the sump pit. These valves need to be accessible above the sump pit unless the discharge pipe is buried. If buried, then these valves still need to be accessible by removing a cover.
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Code 5 - Ejector Pump Pit Size And Materials
The sewage ejector pit size needs to be at least 18-inches in diameter and at least 24-inches deep.
The material for the sewage pit is most commonly plastic but it can also be made out of tile, concrete, steel, or other approved materials.
Code 6 - Must Use Wye Fitting
The discharge pipe of the sewer ejector or grinder pump should be connected to the main waste line through a wye fitting and it should come in from the top.
If the discharge pipe from the pump connects to the bottom of the horizontal waste line, this is incorrect and not to code.
The wye fitting should also be at least 10 pipe diameters distance from the bottom of the main waste stack or other fixture drains.
Code 7 - Sewage Ejector Pump Pipe Size (Higher GPM)
Even though the minimum discharge pipe size is 2-inches for ejector pumps, the pipe needs to be larger for higher capacity pumps.
If the ejector pump has a capacity of 30 gallons per minute or more, then the discharge pipe should be at least 2-1/2 inches. If the ejection pump is 46 gallons GPM or more, then the pipe should be at least 3-inches or more.
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Frequently Asked Questions
What Is The Purpose of an Ejector Pit?
The main reason for ejector pits is that the toilet or bathroom is located below the main sewer line. This means that it can't flow naturally through gravity alone and needs help from a pump.
How Are Sump Pumps Different Than Sewage Ejector Pumps?
A sewage ejection pump deals with waste from toilets and sinks that are below the level of the house waste line. The pump is needed to send the waste upwards to the main house drain line. A sump pump only deals with stormwater that seeps around the foundation of the house.
What Are The Basics of Maintaining An Ejector Pump?
The basics of maintaining an ejection pit include verifying that the lid is air-tight, that the check valve is working properly, the impeller spins freely, the float switch is operating correctly, and that the seals are all good.
How Is A Sewage Grinder Pump Different Than A Standard Ejector Pump?
A grinder pump is used to grind the sewage from your home before pumping it to the main waste line. A sewage ejector pump doesn't grind it at all and just pumps it.
The codes for sewage ejector pumps aren't complicated, but they are necessary to ensure the proper operation of your pump.
Probably the most important codes include the requirements on a having an air-tight lid that won't leak gases. Installing a check valve and full open valve is essential.
I hope you enjoyed this guide from Home Inspector Secrets!