Close this search box.

What are the plumbing requirements for an elevator pit in the City of Austin?

Where the elevator waste is discharged to (and how it is treated) is most often dictated by the Authority Having Jurisdiction.

Elevator related code requirements are set forth in ASME A17.1 “Safety Code for Elevators and Escalators”, CSA B44 “Safety Code for Elevators”, as well as The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulations.  The code is published by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and is a widely accepted and recognized handbook in the building code and engineering industries.

ASME A17.1/CSA B44 requires that all elevator pits for elevators that have Firefighters’ Emergency Operation, be provided with a drain or sump pump.  The pit drainage shall be designed to remove a minimum capacity of 3,000 gallons per hour (or 50 GPM) per elevator car.

Where this elevator waste is discharged to (and how it is treated) is a different story, that is most often dictated by the Authority Having Jurisdiction.  The jurisdiction will outline whether the discharge is routed to a sanitary sewer or storm system, whether it is directly or indirectly connected, or if additional protection (such as oil/water separation or an oil-sensing alarm) is required.

What are some of the discharge regulations within the City of Austin?

In the City of Austin, elevator discharge must comply with the requirements set forth by the City of Austin Industrial Waste Department.  This department will review substantially complete plans to verify that elevator discharge is compliant with their standards.  Official sign-off is required from Industrial Waste prior to the issuance of a building permit.

Some pertinent City of Austin Elevator Discharge requirements are as follows:

  1. The discharge is required to discharge to the storm system.
  2. An oil/water separator is not required, no matter the type of elevator. Some engineers prefer to err on the side of caution and like to provide a separator for hydraulic-type elevators. It is important early in the design that the engineer and owner discuss the pros/cons of providing added protection on the waste discharge (i.e.  Ongoing maintenance, first costs of adding systems, etc.)  In addition, hydraulic elevators in the City of Austin require a second sump lower than the sump pump to accept hydraulic fluid prior to the pump moving water.
  3. The pumped discharge line shall be tied to the site storm drainage system and is not permitted to be tied to the storm drain system within the building.
  4. A sample port should be provided outside the building on the discharge piping to allow for periodic monitoring and inspection of the elevator wastewater discharge to determine compliance with applicable effluent limitations. The sample well should be located in an accessible location, as approved by the City of Austin.
  5. If an elevator sump pump is located below the 100 year flood plain, its discharge piping shall rise above the 100 year flood plain elevation before connecting to a gravity drainage system.
  6. Piping shall be clearly labeled to define contents.
Elevator Pit Sump detail Austin
Click to enlarge

In summary, the requirements for drainage of elevator pits is dictated by ASME A17.1 “Safety Code for Elevators and Escalators”, CSA B44 “Safety Code for Elevators”, as well as The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation.  The authority having jurisdiction will provide mandates outlining the requirements for the discharge and treatment of the elevator waste.  It is important to factor in review time necessary for the Jurisdiction’s Industrial Waste/Pretreatment Review as this process can often take weeks to complete and approval is necessary prior to permit issuance.

Your project needs Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing Engineers who have done this before. Our MEP team has completed the HVAC, electrical, and plumbing design for hundreds of apartments, office buildings, and related development projects. Contact us today to learn how we can help make your next project a success. 

Share this post

Share this post

Learn more
about our


featured image

How to Manage the Coronavirus Crisis and Plan for the Future

Of all the contingencies facility owners and managers planned for in 2020, a global pandemic was probably pretty low on the list. WGI has some key strategies that facility owners and managers leverage to keep your operations functioning effectively and safely amid this global pandemic.

VRF Diagram

What is a VRF Air Conditioning System?

Investing in VRF technology on your next project can reduce energy costs, improve occupant comfort, reduce mechanical unit noise and reduce down time. WGI’s MEP Engineering experts can help you design and select the right system.


You’ve been searching for a place like WGI. We look forward to meeting you soon.


Enter your zip code, and we’ll personalize your experience with local projects, office locations, team members, and more.

WGI's success starts with our Associates

WGI supports its associates with meaningful opportunities for growth, strong benefits and perks, while we work collaboratively with clients and co-consultants to shape and improve communities.

Our Team in Action

Join the Team

WGI is a dynamic organization with opportunities nationwide for engineers, land surveyors, landscape architects, environmental scientists, and architects.

Find a team member:

Let's talk about your next project.