Offices: Daytona Hollywood Palm
Beach Orlando Tampa & Port St. Lucie
A17.1, 106.1b (3) states: "Drains connected
directly to sewers shall not be installed in elevator pits. Sumps may be
installed. Where drains are not provided to prevent the accumulation
of water, sump pumps shall be provided".
code change was made to insure the removal of accumulated (accidental)
water, from such sources as a fire sprinkler heads or flooding from a
source above first landing. This provision in the code is to assist in
maintaining elevator service during a fire emergency. It does not state
that the pump must keep up with or surpass the volume of water from
sprinklers. It was not intended for the removal of accumulated oils
and/or hazardous materials. The ASME A17.1 code is not an environmental
code but an Elevator Safety Code. "Drains connected directly to
sewers shall not be installed in elevator pits" was not added to
prevent hydraulic oil or gear oil from seeping into sewers. Instead,
the purpose is to prevent methane gas from the sewer system entering
into the elevator hoistway and potentially causing an explosion. The
sump pump should discharge into an open air environment. Connection to
drains could cause problems in a fire emergency due to traps within a
Administrative Code 61C-5 amends Rule 106.1b(3). Drains connected
directly to sewers shall not be installed in elevator pits. Where
drains are not provided to prevent the accumulation of water, a sump of
adequate size and depth to accommodate a pump shall be provided, with or
without a pump. The change affected by 61C-5 is the removal of
middle section of A17.1, 106.1b(3) "Sumps
may be installed." Additionally, the
change also removes the requirement of"pumps shall be installed."
The question is the intent of this change. Was the intent to allow the
option of pump installation in lieu of the requirement of "shall" be
installed? One can hardly argue that the intent was not to allow a pump
since the code is clear that the sump is required with or without a pump
installed. Is the intent of the change to the code to be certain
contaminated water or oil was not to be drained into sewer systems in
Florida? This amendment includes the requirement for a separate sump or
depression of adequate size to accommodate a proper pump.
argument is made that sump pumps must be portable or switched. If sump pumps
were only to be portable or switched what is the purpose of both A17.2.1
and A17.2.2 Item 5.1.1f: For elevators installed under NFPA 70-1996
and later editions, check that the receptacle is of the ground fault
circuit-interrupter type. A single receptacle supplying a permanently
installed sump pump does not require ground-fault
circuit-interrupter protection. The very same Florida
Administrative Code also adopts both A17.2.1 and A17.2.2 but without
exception. The A17.2 is not a code but a "Guide For Inspection of
Elevator, Escalators, and Moving Walks." This inspection item does not
require checking for portability or a switch on the system. Inspecting
beyond the scope of A17.2 could be considered beyond the scope or
expertise of the elevator inspector. We have found no requirement in
either A17.1, A17.2, the Florida Building Code or Florida Administrative
Codes that a sump pump must be switched or portable. Sump pumps
typically have a float switch integral with the system.
argument is that elevator pits are defined as Classified or Hazardous
Locations by NFPA. Elevator hoistways (even those that are hydraulic
fluid driven type) do not meet the definition of Class 1, 2 or 3 of
either Division 1 or 2 as prescribed by the NEC®, NFPA-70. The flash
point of AW 32 hydraulic fluid is 216°C (420°F) plus. This is well above
the normal operating temperature in an elevator hoistway and without
question beyond the maximum working temperature of known industry
standard submersible sump/sewage (explosion proof or non-explosion
proof) pumps available today. If a pump motor does not run and is left
to stand in oily (stagnant) water for years, it may freeze and not be
operable when needed. Explosion Proof pumps and equipment can be very
costly. The majority of these pumps may never see duty unless a routine
maintenance program is kept up by the end users.
more idea being promoted is to install a holding tank which the system
would drain or empty to. Placement of the holding tank would be in a
location that is accessible for a pumper truck. If someone could
properly size this holding tank, especially in a hoistway which is
sprinklered, we would be interested in the formula. Sizing of even a
sump pump cannot include keeping up with the flow of a sprinkler system.
If the intent of the ASME A17.1 code was meant to handle one or two full
flowing fire sprinkler heads, it should have stated, "provide a sump pit
and pump that is sized to handle the flow of a sprinkler head".
jurisdiction having authority has mandated that an oil separator be
installed downstream of the sump pump(s) and related equipment for the
removal of hydraulic fluid, proper pump selection is difficult if not
impossible for the owner.Not only are the majority of
building owners unqualified to select proper pumps, but elevator
inspectors are not qualified to verify proper installations.
submersible pump manufacturers require a minimum submergence (pump off
float level) of their pumps to prevent air lock and/or cavitation. This
minimum submergence level can be as much as 9" to 12" of standing water.
Submersible pumps draw whatever liquid or fluid is present in the sump
pit through the bottom of the pump. Depending on the type of pump the
suction inlet can range from 1/8" to 4". These levels are fixed.
Hydraulic oil, being lighter than water, will be captured within this
differential between the off float and the bottom suction port of the
pump. This captured oil will have to be removed by other means, most
likely a pumper truck.
Hydraulic oil is listed on both the Little Giant® Chemical Resistance
Chart and Chemtrol® Chemical Resistance Guide. Some commonly usedthermoplastics and elastomers used in the
construction of pumps and related pump accessories as well as power
cords are not compatible with hydraulic fluids. The following is a
partial list of these materials:
thermoplastic commonly used by some manufactures for construction of
floats switches, pump bases and other components.
Ethylene Propylene EPDM:
An elastomercommonly used for seal material and
Rubber (Natural): An
elastomercommonly used for seal material, gaskets and o-rings.
Neoprene: An elastomercommonly used for power cords, gaskets and o-rings. Although listed
as minor effect to good on the Little Giant® Chart, Chemtrol® Guide
states that Neoprene is attacked by hydraulic oil above 70°F. Most pumps
operate at temperatures higher than 70°F
It is recommend that you contact the manufacturer or the
manufacturers' representative and question whether their product is
compatible or resistant to the effects of hydraulic fluid under their
products normal operating temperature. Remember to get it in writing.
If you don’t, you may be the one carrying the liability. A number of
manufacturers of both the pumps and float switches will not warranty
their equipment if used with hydraulic oil present.
Do not overlook, A17.1 302.3g provides for collection of
hydraulic oil in a pit.
Collection of Oil Leakage: Means shall be provided to collect for the
removal any oil leakage from the cylinder packing gland. The amount
collected before removal shall not exceed 19L (5 gal). This oil collection system or
container is required as an integral part of the elevator equipment,
provided and maintained by the elevator equipment contractors.
Proper inspection of the elevators would include checking of the oil