Weird configuration -- laundry tub drains into open floor drain

What do you make of this?

I appears the tub was run into an open floor drain in the basement that appears to be separate from the main sanitary sewer line, which exited through the basement wall above the floor level.

It appeared the drain could be run into the sanitary sewer line easily enough, certainly if the sink were elevated a bit.

So this appears to be draining into a storm drain, rather than a sanitary sewer line. Which would be sub-optimal, aside from the obvious considerations of debris getting into an open drain such as that. But it seems to nonetheless be working well enough.

At this point I intend to write it up as improperly configured, not being properly enclosed to prevent debris from entering and blocking the drain, and possibly having been run to a storm drain, rather than a sanitary sewer, as recommended for drains from sinks, and recommend re-routing the drain to the sanitary sewer line to the R of the sink.

BTW, the dark areas that resemble water on the floor were actually glue for the floor tile.


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Frank this floor drain is most likely tied to a sump I would think since the water will not flow uphill.

The sump should be dumping outside separate from the regular sewer line but some areas might still permit it .

Notice the A/C condensate line is hanging inside the slop sink also .

Is there a bathroom or ejector pump down there as I hate to second guess but it may be tied into the ejector.

P.S that looks like a very old foundation that is parge coated to death (is it stone) so did you take any moisture readings?

No sump observed, just floor drains. One abandoned/disused, and one other that appeared to be in use (active). No other plumbing down there, either.

The flow drained out the wall behind the sink, toward the back yard. Same direction as the sanitary sewer line. They may have even branched together, for all I know, as such was reportedly common 90ish years ago around here.

I mentioned to the client such a sink would typically have an evacuator (ejector) with a line run to the sanitary sewer line.

The house had a small “footprint,” with the kitchen on the main floor and the bathroom on the 2nd floor, more-or-less above the area, both draining to one main line.

Yes, it was a sort of odd block foundation. Hollow, brick-like blocks, resembling the material used for tile roofs, with sloppy mortar work and definite indications of seepage. Fortunately, only about 3 ft of the basement was below grade. I told the Client it would be very difficult to eliminate seepage entirely.

Frank if the place is that old it may have the lines going to a catch basin of some sort that got buried in the yard from the days before a main was installed.

That’s certainly possible, Bob. Perhaps even a former septic tank.

There were no indications of flooding evident in areas where such would not have been concealed (furnace, behind the stairway, etc.).

Your thoughts are much appreciated. So far nobody else appears to have anything to add.

This just appears to be one of those puzzling little findings in which things appear to be working well enough, however wrong it looks, and one has to strike a balance so as not to underplay an issue on the one hand or make a mountain out of a mole hill on the other hand.

Sometimes there’s just not enough info to make a good call. I usually say such things appear to be functioning effectively, with no indications of significant associated problems, but mention the potential issues in a very low-key non-alarmist tone, and leave it at that.

I’ve had some overly-cautious inspectors almost scare me out of buying houses by overplaying similar defects that turned out to amount to nothing, and don’t want to do the same thing.

Look at it this way Frank.
You are not responsible for code violations but hopefully you have the type of report that you can narrate and give opinions.
That is one more reason I simply can not understand these checklist guys.:slight_smile:

I think between the two of us we have it figured so just give your opinion and a recommendation to have a plumber examine it which may include a video scan,and that is always a good idea with older clay tile systems.

Geez dude… it’s only been 76 minutes from your original post. Give us a break. :roll:

Since Bob and you have it all figured out, I’ll refrain from making any comments. :wink:

That was yesterday Jeff.

Was just a passing statement on nobody else having anything to add, no expectations either way attached. :wink:

Yeah, Bob, my comments are very much tailored to the property. In fact, only a relatively small % of the content is not edited by yours truly between the time the software spits it out (if it even does) and the time the report is generated… much to the detriment of my finances, but the stability of and demand for my services.

Think it’s about time to raise my rates. :smiley:

What you talkin’ about Bob?

Thread started on: 2/10/11 @ 10:48 am

Comment stated at: 2/10/11 @ 12:04 pm

Sure looks like 1 hour, 16 minutes to me.

For what it’s worth, I did notice there had been a good number of views, but only Bob chimed in. Nothing that couldn’t be easily enough remedied if problems do arise, bur interesting little finding, anyway.

Not quite as weird as the 2-conductor wiring I saw in a mid 20th century house that consisted of insulated hot conductors with the neutral wrapped around the insulation (confirmed with tester). :shock:

Drainage water from a washing machine is considered grey water and allowed to drain in a storm drain.
Although unorthodox way of doing it, I would recommend that a strainer and cup be installed in the floor drain to prevent debris from clogging up the drain.
**Indirect Liquid Waste Receptor: **A plumbing fixture designed specifically to collect and dispose of liquid waste from other plumbing fixtures, plumbing equipment or appliances which are required to discharge to the drainage system through a physical air gap or listed air gap unit. The following are types of fixtures that commonly fall into the classification of acceptable indirect liquid waste receptors: Floor sinks, mop receptors, service sinks, laundry tubs and washing machine standpipe drains. Water closets of toilets in bathrooms are not acceptable as suitable indirect liquid waste receptors. :slight_smile:

There are many drain configurations like that in Montreal and other Canadian major city’s.
If the home is high enough from the mail sewer line they put in a back water valve a trap and voilà. No sump basin needed. The homes main is equipped to handle gray water.
I have seen several basements that have flooded because of back water value failed.
I run a scope with a video or DVD and the owner, plumber and insurer has proof.
Extra free.