TL;DR, Went down to the basement to find that our home's French drain is almost full of water. My mother doesn't recall there ever being water in the drain in the 20+ years that my family has owned the home (we're the original homeowners). Is this normal?

So my mother and I went down to the basement to dry up some water that had leaked from the garden hose, and instead of soaking all the water up with paper towels, I began to push the water into the hole of our basement's French drain system. We were both surprised to hear the splashing sound when the water from the floor met the standing water in the drain. I shone my flashlight in the pit and saw the standing water, two black corrugated pipes, and a white PVC pipe.

What concerned us was that the black corrugated pipes seemed to be split as if they were once supposed to be together at one point. (If this is normal, why would they sit like that?) Absolutely no clue what the white pipe is below the black pipes (maybe someone can help me better understand). My mom says that we don't have a sump pump, and I can confirm that no cords are coming out of the pit, only the single white pipe that goes up between the walls after it splits into two different runs of pipe.

I took a look in the second pit, which doesn't have any pipes in it or going into it (not sure if it's even connected with the French drain, but the two pits are right next to each other (the only difference I can discern is that the French drain is a large diameter corrugated pit and has a white PVC pipe coming down from the wall and running on the floor until it reaches the pit which has an oblong opening flush with the basement floor whereas the other pit, which doesn't appear to be corrugated and has no pipes running into it (not sure what the little bit of water at the bottom is from. Could very well be from the cleanup of the hose water but I'm not 100% sure on that) instead, this pit doesn't have an oblong opening flush with the floor it has two round holes about two or three inches in diameter which have a lip to them.

I took pictures, and we plan to call a professional when we return from vacation in two weeks. Can someone please help me understand if this is something we should worry more about? Feel free to ask any follow-up questions, and I'll do my best to answer them!


Overview of Basement Area Overview of Pipework French Drain Pit Other Pit Top Down View of French Drain Pit Facing Away From Wall Alt. View of French Drain Pit Facing Towards Wall Top Down View Looking Into Other Pit

1 Answer 1


I expect your mother rarely looked into the covered sump in the past 20+ years.

There's a pretty clear waterline in the pictures - the high part of it is 2-3 corrugations above the current waterlevel. There has been water in this sump pit for long periods in the past. Since that waterline is also below floor level, as is the present water level, there's no particularly large concern from just that. It would appear that a pump has not been installed here all that time. Many areas have had a lot of rain and flooding this year, but if it's not rising to flood the basement you don't need a pump. It may well be dry in other seasons of the year, though.

The corrugated pipes appear to have been installed rather long. Normally they would be cut off an inch or two into the sump pit, not jammed into each other there. Looks like simple sloppy workmanship to me.

The pit beside it appears to be for a sewer ejector pump that was never installed to support a basement drain being pumped up to the sewer line level leaving out the side of the basement 3-4 feet above the floor level.

  • The small white pipe that goes into the pit is likely a condensate line from the A/C. I bet the basement has rough in plumbing for a bathroom/washer/dryer situation and if not used then there's no need for the ejector pit.
    – Dano0430
    Commented Jul 27, 2023 at 3:21

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