July 13, 2009

Sump Pump Backup Options

At tonight's groundwater meeting, and as a side note, I described a municipal/city water-powered backup sump pump system that does not rely on electricity or battery power.  Unfortunately, a well functioning electric-powered sump pump means the difference between a wet or a dry basement for many of our homes in the Single Family Village.  If your home loses electrical power or if your primary pump mechanically fails does your home have a backup system to remove the groundwater from your sump basket and prevent flooding?  Many residents have thought carefully about that scenario and purchased a separate battery-powered backup sump pump system.  Problem is, I've seen statistics that estimates the effective service time of a battery-powered backup sump pump to last between 2-10 hours.  My question is: What happens if an electrical power outage lasts longer than that?  What happens if the power is disrupted by a storm that brings additional rainfall?
My intent is not to scare residents into buying something they don't need.  Rather, I think that there are a few good options that deserve a closer look including more sophisticated battery systems, alarms, etc.  In the spirit of preparedness I'm sharing what I've found through a few conversations and some internet research.  
I know of one resident who installed a city water-powered sump pump system, (I haven't yet) and I have spoken to a licensed plumber about similar systems.  One plumber's estimate I received was $800 (installed) for a fully separate and redundant (a good thing in this case) water-powered backup system, including separate pipes, separate holes through the wall, and separate discharge point from my home.  The plumber offered a group discount if more residents were interested.  I suspect any plumber might offer a similar discount.  For mechanically inclined residents, it may be a do-it-yourself project.  In any case, a City of Hugo permit may be required... be sure to check first.
I found a particularly helpful video on This Old House's website (link here) that showed the installation of water-powered sump pump.  It described the concepts as well as the materials needed.  Please keep in mind that I'm not endorsing any brand, contractor, or design.  I do think it's important information though, as residents consider future groundwater drainage systems.  I've included a few links that might provide a starting point for those interested:
Explanation of the water-powered backup sump pump:
Water-powered and Battery-powered backup systems compared:
Water-powered backup sump pump:
Sophisticated battery-powered backups:  
I hope you'll find this information helpful,

Pool Reopens - Was Temporarily Closed Due to Vandals

Our Community Manager, the Board, and Pool Committee are investigating a case of vandalism at the Pool.  Saturday night after the facilities were closed, a few young individuals dumped a large garbage can and its contents into the pool.  The pool service company was contacted, the pool was closed, and was cleaned out and chemically treated. 
Please remember: Whenever the pool is closed - It's likely closed for good reason- superchlorination. Please use common sense and stay away from harmful chemicals in the pool. Don't swim when the sign says "Closed".

Reminder: SFV Groundwater Meeting Tonight

As you are likely aware, groundwater issues have impacted several residents of our neighborhood.  While the Single Family Village Board of Directors cannot legally act in an official capacity to address these issues, a group of impacted and interested homeowners certainly can. Thus, on July 13, 2009, at 7:00pm, there will be a meeting at the Victor Gardens Neighborhood Activity Center for all affected and interested homeowners to come together and begin coordinating efforts to find a workable solution to these problems.  All homeowners who have an interest are encouraged to attend.  Some members of the Board, acting in an unofficial capacity as interested homeowners, will be there to help answer any questions about events leading up to the meeting.