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What is a Water Powered Sump Pump

January 5th, 2012 | Posted by admin in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

The product is called a “water-powered sump pump,” some also call it a “water pump” or “water driven pump” either, way this pump it’s installed primarily as a backup sump pump to a primary electric sump pump (that’s plugged into the wall). In a heavy rain – flood situation – ground water under a house rises and pours into a sump pit where the primary electric sump pump, pumps the rainwater out of the sump pit keeping the basement dry.

The problem occurs when the power goes out and the primary sump pump no longer works.  These wasteful pumps operate by taking the energy in municipal-supplied water at full pressure, run through a venturi device, positioned on the bottom of the sump pit in a basement. They connect directly to the fresh drinking water supply line of a house (plumber installed), or in some circumstances, homeowners connect the pump with a rubber garden hose to their kitchen or laundry room tub faucet (bad idea as many hoses have blown actually FLOODING the basement).

When the water powered sump pump is activated, clean fresh drinking water is released into the sump pit.  Some of the more efficient models pull up 1 gallon of waste water, for each gallon of fresh water used, other, less efficient models use anywhere from 3 to 6 gallons of fresh water for every gallon of sump water! Then, both the fresh water and the wastewater are dumped out onto the lawn or into the sewer system that already has an overflow of storm water in it, making the flooding worse.

Please think twice before purchasing one of these water pumps,, not only do they waste water they MUST be installed with backflow protection, if not these pumps are a health hazard to your home as contaminated water could potentially be sucked back into the fresh drinking water supply for the house.

 

In a letter sent to all residents every year, the city of Bloomington, Illinois, voices its concerns with the use of water powered sump pumps stating:

  • Water powered sump pumps can use large quantities of water in a very short time
  • Water powered sump pumps can have a profound impact on the City Services bill for the property

The Bloomington Water Department goes on to say, “there are alternatives that do not have the risk of high water consumption.”  Adding, “a battery backup for the sump sump pump can usually provide hours of safe pump protection without the cost of water use.”

Many other municipalities would be served well by following this well thought out example. Click here to see the message on their website.

We get alot of questions as to “what’s the big deal with these pumps?” So here’s a 3 main points to consider when thinking about installing a water powered sump pump.

1.  Waste of fresh water.  Depending on efficiency, lift and city water pressure, most water-powered sump pumps draw up to 600 gallons of fresh drinking water per hour. Based on a conservative estimate of 300,000 water-powered sump pumps in the U.S., if on average each one wastes 2,400 gallons per year,  (based on two, four hour power outages a year where the pump is only activated half that time = 4 hours x 600 gallons per pump, equals 2,400 gallons per year), that equals 720,000 million gallons of water wasted: 720 million gallons of fresh drinking water – please tell us how a device like this is a responsible product in these times?

2. Potential Health Hazard. Water-powered sump pumps connect directly to the fresh drinking water supply line to the building, in some circumstances, the owner may connect the pump with a rubber garden hose to a nearby faucet.  Since all water-powered pumps must be connected directly to the water supply, they must have backflow protection – unfortunately, many are installed without this. In times of heavy demand, when there’s a low-pressure situation, contaminated water may be sucked back into the fresh water drinking supply, causing a health risk.

3. Strain on public resources. A water powered sump pump is most likely to be engaged during a power outage in a rain storm. This is when municipality’s reserves are most valuable. These pumps running could cause unnecessary strain and force public water systems to fall below minimum storage levels. This endangers city resources such as fire protection and public safety.  This could prevent the fire department from fighting a fire from a lightning strike that caused all of this in the first place, and there’s no way to turn these off because they come on automatically.

Please think twice about installing one of these wasteful pumps. The environment, your family and your community is counting on you.