This morning a representative from a basement waterproofing company came in to look at our cold room and workshop. The previous owners may have "fixed" the problem by draining the water into the sewer line but that's really just a workaround, not a permanent fix. We believe that fixing it properly is the right thing to do; a workaround is fine as an interim solution but we want things to be done right.
The guy suggested replacing the sump pump with a better model that has a battery backup, water alarm, splash valve thing, and that allows water to come in from the surroundings. He also suggested digging a trench along the entire length of the cold room and putting weeping tile there. His final suggestion was to fix the crack in the wall on the workshop side by digging down below the footing, sealing the wall crack with something flexible, and putting additional waterproofing extending on each side.
These suggestions sound good to us. We figured that the sump pump needed to be replaced because it is old and it might have been overwhelmed before. We also thought that putting weeping tile in there would make sense, given the amount of water down there. And since the picture I took showed water around that crack, it's a good idea to get it fixed, too.
The price we were quoted was quite reasonable - just a bit more than we paid for the work that was done outside - and so we've booked this company to do the work. We're currently scheduled for the work to be done the week after next, although they might be able to come in next week if another job goes well. The guy said that the work could be done in a single day, which surprised us. The hardest work will be jackhammering out the concrete and once that's done the rest of the job should go quickly. We're thrilled that the work will be finished before the spring at a reasonable cost. I tell you, owning a house is a lot of work... not to mention expensive.