Last night I went to store some things in my crawl space and discovered that a joint in the drain line from the sump pump out to the city sewer line had become disconnected (see photo; this is a 2004 build in North Carolina). It had been attached with a rubber hose + a clamp on either side, and must've come loose last week when work was being done on the lines outside because of a problem our neighbor was having.

We cleaned up the majority of the mess (wasn't fun but could have been MUCH worse) and fixed and re-clamped the joint, but now it's leaking a fair amount (enough to get the towel we put under it thoroughly damp overnight). We are calling a plumber but I'm hoping to educate myself also since I haven't dealt with this before and the plumber will just be someone we find on google (don't have any trusted personal references). I have two questions:

  1. What would your suggestion be for repairing the joint so it doesn't leak? I'd think we could get a better rubber hose with space for multiple clamps, or a more solid solution would be an actual pipe coupler and glue.
  2. Any recommendations for clean up? My husband is concerned about hazards from human waste to the point where he wants to call in a professional service for cleaning up, but I'm more of a frugal DIY-er and would think that just a good wipe down with the right cleaner over the vapor barrier in all the affected areas should be just fine.

EDIT: I'm adding additional photos of the pump for context (circled the joint in question). I'm actually not 100% sure it's properly called a "sump pump" I reviewed the home inspection report and it's listed under a "sump pump" heading but the inspector called it a "macerator / sewage pump". and from the pipes going in / out it certainly services more than just ground water. I don't see any clear signs of backflow from the city main, but given that the connection came apart again yesterday after we had very carefully tightened it (and we didn't have to force it into place), I suspect there is some sort of pressure at play causing this to happen.

Thank you!

source of leak wider shot wider shot 2

  • 1
    You might want to check whether running the sump pump into the city sewers is actually legal. Iny area it isn't; the sump must drain onto our own property (though people do someone's cheat by having it drain to the edge of the property).
    – keshlam
    Commented Apr 17, 2023 at 14:07
  • 1
    Was the leak groundwater from your sump pump, or was there actual sewage involved? If there was sewage flowing backwards from the city line into your crawlspace, I would ask the plumber for his/her suggestion on a backflow preventer.
    – spuck
    Commented Apr 17, 2023 at 15:47
  • 1
    The angle at the break makes it look like whoever built it had to force the pipe to meet the Fernco. That would be a starting point for minimizing the odds of recurrence.
    – Huesmann
    Commented Apr 18, 2023 at 13:53
  • @spuck thanks for your comment! i looked into it further and now think this is more than a sump pump (see edits to post). i dont see any obvious backflow, but the joint broke again so it seems like there's some pressure involved. the responses have been helpful for preparing to meet with the plumber!
    – aknodt
    Commented Apr 18, 2023 at 15:28
  • 1
    @aknodt, the addition of the other two pictures helps a lot. As you mention, that is not a sump pump, it is a sewage pump. It looks to me like there is already a one-way ("check") valve in the pipe just to the left of the shut-off valve. That is good.
    – spuck
    Commented Apr 18, 2023 at 22:02

1 Answer 1


The amount of glue on the pipe and the rubber connection screams amateur job.

The pipe should be cut square and glued together with a slip fitting or perhaps with a wye and cleanout with a cover for future snaking if needed.

Most big box home improvement stores and hardware stores have parts and the glue for this repair. They should be able to help you get the correct items you need. Measure the outside diameter of the pipe for the correct size.

As far as clean up that is a debate to have with your spouse. If you are looking for votes, I would say if the area that needs cleaned is bigger than about an 8' x8' area, I would call a professional. Otherwise I would put on my hazmat suit and clean it up my self with antibacterial agents after the pipe was repaired.

  • 1
    Some bleach should do. Don't call hazmat when your toilet overflows. Commented Apr 17, 2023 at 15:40
  • 2
    @ Fresh Codemonger, I didn't say I would call Hazmat, I was kidding that I would put on my "Hazmat suit" or my coveralls. It was a joke.
    – RMDman
    Commented Apr 18, 2023 at 0:39
  • 1
    Good idea about replacing the elbow with a cleanout. While you're at it ... it looks like you have a condensation line connected directly to the high pressure side of a sewage pump. If there's a blockage outside, the sewage will get pumped into your A/C or whatever is up there. You ought to get that fixed too ... the hard way would be to put a trap and air gap somewhere on the input side to the pit. The easy way would be dump it out the window (if it is in fact condensate).
    – jay613
    Commented Apr 18, 2023 at 16:16
  • @jay613 thank you!
    – aknodt
    Commented Apr 20, 2023 at 0:47

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.