Floor drain to nowhere backing up ground water or is it sewage?

I am so worried, and I hope someone can help. We had a 1,000 year rainfall in our area two weeks ago. Our house was built in 1953. The laundry room has a drain on the floor under the washer and dryer. Water came up through that drain and filled our finished basement with two inches of water (and this was with us sucking it up continuously with a wet dry vac and utility pump). Per the previous owners, who are now our neighbors, this happened once before a decade ago. They assured us that the City poured dye down the drain at that time and none came out in the sewer line. They concluded that it was groundwater coming up though a drain that is really just a pit under the house or perhaps leads to an old dry well in the yard. I was so sure of this that I was literally barefoot in the water. If looked clean to me and there was no smell.

Anyway, now that the place is dry and we are starting to look toward preventing a recurrence, I called the City myself. The engineer there is going to try the dye again, but he said he’s pretty sure it was very watered down sewage because floor drains are notorious for this!!! Ack! I am so disturbed by this. I shone a flashlight into the drain, and all I see is gravel and mud. It just looks more like what the former owners think it is - a drain to nowhere and not a true pipe at all. Isn’t it possible that ground water would come up such a drain because it would be the “path of least resistance”? If it is connected to the sewer, is it really possible that the dye test would have given a false negative all those years ago and there would be no smell at all? I don’t know what to do. I was going to see about putting a sump right where the drain is, but now I think maybe I need a check valve. There’s also the fact that I feel like my house is contaminated, but I’ll take that one to my shrink : ). Thanks in advance.

I would hire someone with a sewer lateral camera and run it through the pipe to find out where it goes.

The City engineer came out today and poured bright green dye down the drain. It did not show up in the sanitary or storm sewers. He still believes it was sewage though, even when I showed him the gravel/mud in the drain with a flashlight. His theory is that the drain trap was cast iron and rotted/rusted away over the years, but the rest of the drain is still under there somewhere and connected to the sewer. Another drain in our exterior basement stairwell was found to be sewer connected. He doesn’t think a plumber would have connected one but not the other.