Here in Chicago we have a combined sewer and storm drain system - as a result it's not uncommon to have sump pits and ejector pits combined - which is the case in my basement. The ejector then handles the sump pumping, as well as removing the basement sewage.

My ejector services the basement bathrooms and shower as well as any rain seepage from the drain tiles, but since it's a combined system I am terrified of an overflow.

The good news is that if there is an overflow, its likely to be just my home's waste & the clear storm water, but that's still enough to ruin a basement.

My question is, what backup systems would you recommend for this type of setup? The ejector is currently mains powered (plugged in), so if I lose power, I essentially have no sump pump.

I'm considering a water powered backup sump pump, but am concerned about any potential sludge or remaining waste clogging a system that is not built for any solids/semi solids.

Any brilliant ideas?

  • 2
    Water powered backup sump pumps are available, and are quite useful if you're connected to a municipal water supply. I'm not sure if water powered ejector pumps exist. If they do, that's the route I'd take.
    – Tester101
    Commented Jan 7, 2016 at 15:38

1 Answer 1


Computer UPSes are super cheap these days. See if you can find one rated for the watts that your system needs with a good margin. They are readily available up to 1500 less than $500, and they'd just plug in in line inbetween the equipment and an outlet. Most of them self test every day and alarm on failure of the battery or of mains power failure so you'd know if the breaker flipped. Make sure the one you buy doesn't do a self-shutdown when its running on battery and can't detect a load. That used to be more common.

  • Uninterrupted Power Supplies (UPS) aren't typically designed for extended use when on battery, so an extended power outage could be a problem. This could be especially troublesome during a storm, where the power is out and the pump is doing a lot of work. The batteries also don't tend to last long, and require frequent replacement (which can be quite expensive).
    – Tester101
    Commented Jan 7, 2016 at 15:33

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