(in western new york)

We have a sump pump, something called a bubbler which is a sealed 2-3 inch pvc pipe coming out in the landscaping (sealed with a twist on cap) and a 2-3 inch pvc pipe coming out of the drive way, right by the street.

At first, the house 2 doors down was spitting out water at this pipe by the street; not a lot, but a consistent run most of the day.

Weather has no effect on water coming out of this pipe; more comes out during a heavy storm, but its been perfectly sunny here for the last 4-5 days and he has water coming out of it.

Yesterday, my neighbor has water coming out of this pipe and now i'm worried. this house is directly next to me. yesterday when i first noticed it, i heard a toilet flushing. the water didnt smell, didnt look discolored.

This can't be normal. Should I have my lines checked? What is the function of this bubbler setup? The only time in the last 2 years our sump pump failed to turn on was after we had a new furnace installed; they inadvertently turned off the breaker for the sump and so it didnt run.

My concern is water damage obviously; we have a lot of stuff in the basement, most of it on pallets and in plastic bins but some of it is exposed...

-- more --

I don't know how its all exactly hucked up; it was done well before we bought the house. The houses on the street are all from the 1940's; no hills, in Buffalo NY.

In our basement we have a floor drain and this has been backing up a little, but nothing major - just around the actual drain. this does smell a bit and the wife has been scrubbing it down with bleach on occasion - (appologies for leaving this out earlier - long day) this is opposite side of the house compared to the sump pump.

and, also, roto rooter has been digging up the house's lawn across the street due to water in their basement apparently. talking to the neighbor, its clay pipes going from the house to the street (sewer)

oh yeah, and last year, they (the town) tore apart a street 2 blocks down; redoing all of the sewers (took them all summer).

I'm gonna call someone I think to have them come and look I think.

  • 1
    In a previous neighborhood, our neighbor across the street had water in his sump even during droughts. We thought it was just the high water table in our area, but a year or so later, it turned out that the water line from the street was leaking and the water was following the line to the house. You could have a similar situation, or even a water main that's leaking (although I think it's unusual for a main of any size to have a "small" leak).
    – TomG
    Jul 12, 2011 at 1:17
  • 1
    @Mario, I'm not quite picturing your particular setup, but the purpose of a Bubbler (Pot) is to allow excessive water build up, a safe escape route (instead of backing up the drainage system and flooding the area it's designed to keep dry). "KeithS" answer, explanation is a good one. If you're really concerned, it wouldn't be the worst thing to call in a professional and get them to check the complete drainage system (would give you peace of mind)...
    – Mike Perry
    Jul 12, 2011 at 4:59

1 Answer 1


What is probably going on is that your neighbors' weeping tile systems are draining into their sumps, which are then pumped out because they're below grade and there isn't a storm sewer at a lower grade that can be drained into. The weeping tile exists to direct water that soaks into the ground away from your house, instead of letting it collect against your foundation walls and leach through, or worse, freeze and heave against your house in the winter. Depending on your soil type, rainwater can stick around for months in the soil, and you may also have an aquifer or water table nearby that provides a relatively steady source of groundwater into the soil.

So, what I'm saying is that depending on how much rain you've had recently (as in the past few months) it's perfectly normal for your neighbors' sumps to still be filling. Depending on the land grade, it may also be normal that your sump isn't yet filling while your neighbors' are (water will soak more into land that is downhill). Just make sure your sump pump is in good working order and don't worry about it any more, unless you start to see damp areas along the walls or floor of your basement; these would generally indicate blocked, crushed or missing weeping tile.

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