You Need A Sewer Pit For Access That Is Safe, Secure, And Water Tight

Sewer Service
June 7, 2013

by David Balkan

sewer pit

A sewer pit is also known as an access pit. Frequently the sewer pit also houses other utility lines besides the house drain line. These lines might include the water service line, or gas service for the house. In many buildings the access pit is poorly constructed, and may even lack a cover. In many other instances the cover that does exist may be poorly fitted, and not be air or water tight. A poorly constructed or maintained pit may seem like a minor inconvenience but it can be a major annoyance. Pits without a cover can actually cause a serious trip and fall injury.

sewer pit
Open and dangerous sewer pit

A sewer pit with a missing cover or ill-fitting cover can easily result in an injury for a number of reasons. The location for access to the house drain is typically in a badly lit area, or may be cluttered with assorted stored items. It is quite easy for someone to step over where the open or dangerous pit is, and end up in a hole injuring their leg. It is also possible for a child to get injured if they are playing around in that area. A poorly fitting cover can likewise shift, also causing an injury. If your electrical fuse box is mounted above the pit cover, it only increases the chance of a mishap.

access pit
A pit that is not water tight

Other consequences of an access pit in poor condition are water or debris seeping into the pit. The result can also be foul smells, sewer gases, mold, insects, or rodents gaining access inside the basement. Any of these sewer problems are annoying at the least, but can pose serious health issues as well. To properly correct such a condition is very easy for a professional and not very costly.

The 7 do NOTS of a sewer pit

  1. Do not leave a pit uncovered. That is an invitation to injury.
  2. Do not have your main control valve for your water supply line inside a pit. Have a valve above the floor level for easy access.
  3. Do not have electrical outlets, or electrical cords in or above your sewer pit. This prevents electric shocks and mishaps.
  4. Never leave a fresh water garden hose or open water pipe inside a sewer pit. That is a potential health issue.
  5. Do not leave the caps loose or off of your sewer trap. Backups and sewer gases are the unpleasant consequence.
  6. Do not use a pit as a storage area; either inside or on top of the pit cover. Having access can be vital.
  7. Never cement over or fill in a pit. It is there for a reason.

A pre-cast sewer pit with a fitted cover

Sewer pits and utility access pits are now available in a variety of sizes and shapes made from composite materials. All of these pits have fitted covers that can be locked and have an anti-slip finish. Because these pits are made from composite materials they are water tight and resistant to corrosion. As far as cost goes, these pits cost a fraction of what forming out and building an inferior quality access pit would cost. Another benefit of a composite sewer pit is that it is resistant to corrosion and water damage.

Utility cover
Composite anti-slip sewer pit

As a matter of company policy Balkan Sewer And Water Main Service uses composite sewer pits exclusively. All Balkan installations that require a new pit, or when an existing pit is disturbed, are outfitted with this item. Paying attention to the details when subsurface plumbing work is required has many benefits to Balkan clients. Eliminating water damage, trip hazards, and an unsightly condition is a clear benefit of hiring Balkan for your next sewer line repair or replacement.

Always make sure your sewer pit or any utility access pit is accessible. When an issue such as a backup, or leak occurs, having quick access is vitally important. If the pit has mistakenly been covered or cemented over it should be exposed and corrected as soon as possible. Many homeowners and contractors themselves fail to realize the importance of having ready access to a sewer trap or main control valve for their water service line.

When a Sewer Pit Needs Repair

Frequently when an access pit needs to be replaced it is an opportune time to also replace the house trap. If you suffer from sewer surcharges you may also consider installing a backwater check valve on the house drain. Having a new and tightly sealed house trap can prevent many issues. Likewise an automatic backwater valve or sewer check valve can prevent basement flooding from the public drain system after heavy downpours.

The Importance of a House Trap

Believe it or not a house trap on a sewer line is vitally important in many ways that you would probably never think of. That “thing” you see in the bottom of a pit in your basement can cause an awful lot of aggravation or damage if it is not functioning properly, is in poor condition, or is not operated properly. The danger of improperly fitting or missing sewer trap plugs or caps:

  • Will allow noxious gases to escape into the premises from your waste line.
  • Allow for rodents, insects, but not alligators, to enter into a premises.
  • Can allow raw sewage to enter into a premise if a back up occurs.

Trap plugs or caps cost around $10.00 or less each. They are made in at least three varieties, and are readily available from any plumbing supply or local hardware store. They are easily installed on a house sewer using basic household tools or can be installed by your plumber. Whoever takes the time to install a new plug or cap will be paying a small price for preventing damage, inconvenience, and rodent or pest infestation. In addition this minor maintenance can prevent an unhealthy condition and noxious gases from entering in your property from your drain line.

Sewer Trap
Sewer Trap

All about sewer check and backwater valves

If you suffer from sewer backups or a flooded basement a Sewer Check Valve may be the answer. In certain areas of NYC a public sewer system backup may cause a flooded basement. Sewer backups are typically due to heavy rains or over development in the area. This causes the public drain system to be over burdened.

Without the protection of a sewer check valve, the over burdened city sewer system can backup (ingress) into your residence, thus causing damage and distress for a property owner. Such situations must be addressed properly, by a drain expert to avoid spending money on unnecessary repairs and remediation. Balkan Sewer And Water Main is proud to provide one day installations, 5,000 PSI concrete, American made materials, and a written guarantee. Contact Team Balkan for expert advise, or a free on-site visit.

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David Balkan

David Balkan is the CEO of Balkan Sewer And Water Main, the largest and most trusted service in New York City. David is extremely active in various NYC plumber organizations being the Chairman of the Subsurface Committee in the Master Plumbers Council, and Vice President of the Subsurface Plumbers Association. In addition David’s expertise is respected by officials of New York City agencies such as the NYC DEP, NYC DOB, and the NYC DOT. He frequently provides valuable input on a variety of industry related matters.

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