As a homeowner, you may wonder whether you can drain your sump pump into the storm sewer system. But most people don’t think twice about sump pump discharges until there’s a problem. Understanding sump pump drainage rules and regulations can be confusing, but ensuring you’re not breaking laws is essential.
According to some state laws, sump pump water discharges to storm sewers or surface waters may be allowed. Storm sewers are designed to handle excess rainwater and are typically separate from sanitary sewers. But connecting your sump pump to your sanitary lateral or discharge from floor drains is illegal.
Whether a sump pump can drain into the storm sewer is a common question, and the answer is not straightforward. So keep reading to learn more about the proper drainage of your sump pump and how to ensure that you comply with the law.
Can Sump Pump Drain Into Storm Sewer: DIY Steps
When the water in the sump pump reaches a certain level, it automatically pumps the water out of the house. But, disposing of the water must be done carefully and properly to avoid damage to the local environment.
Follow these steps to carefully and adequately drain a submersible pump into a storm sewer:
Before draining your sump pump into a storm drain, it’s essential to check your local regulations. Different municipalities have different rules concerning the disposal of sump pump water.
Some municipalities allow the draining of sump pump water into the storm sewer, but others require the water to be treated before disposal. Some areas might prohibit the drainage of sump water into the storm sewer altogether.
Therefore, it’s essential to know the regulations in your area before proceeding.
Once you have verified that local regulations allow you to drain your sump pump into the nearby storm sewer, you need to locate the drain. You can do this by looking for a grated opening on the street or pavement where the water can flow into the sewer system.
The storm sewer is at the street’s lowest point along the curb. The storm drain placement may vary, so locating the nearest one is essential before draining the sump pump water.
When draining the sump pump, installing a check valve is essential. A check valve is a small device that prevents water from flowing back into the sump pump. It’s crucial because it prevents excess water from back flowing into the sump pump and causing damage or flooding.
The check valve can be easily installed by attaching to the sump pump’s discharge pipe. The valve will ensure a one-way flow of water and prevent any backflow.
Now attach a PVC pipe to your sump pump. Also, ensuring that the pipe size matches the discharge pipe size is essential. This ensures that the pump can move water efficiently through the pipe. PVC pipes are commonly used for their durability and strength, which makes them perfect for sump pump drainage.
Once the PVC pipe is attached to the sump pump, extending it to the storm drain is necessary. This can be done using PVC elbow joints and additional PVC pipes. Also, ensuring the extension is long enough to reach the storm drain without any unnecessary bends is essential, which may restrict the water flow.
After extending the PVC pipe, digging a deep trench to accommodate the pipe and allow for proper drainage is necessary. The trench should slope slightly towards the storm sewer to ensure the water flows in the right direction. Ensuring the channel is wide enough to provide sufficient space for the PVC pipe is essential.
Installing a pop-up emitter is essential to draining a sump pump into a storm sewer. A pop-up emitter is a device that allows water to flow out of the PVC pipe and into the storm drain. It automatically opens when the water pressure reaches a certain level and then closes when it drops.
After that covering the trench is essential to ensure the PVC pipe is adequately concealed. Soil or sod can cover the trench, depending on your preferences. You must ensure the soil or sod is firm enough to prevent sinkholes from forming.
Finally, once the installation is complete, it is necessary to test the water drainage thoroughly. This involves turning on the sump pump and monitoring the drainage to ensure the water flows appropriately. Any issues should be addressed immediately to prevent damage to the sump pump or the drainage system.
Can I Direct My Sump Pump to the Sanitary Sewer Line?
Directing your sump pump water through the sanitary sewer line is not recommended. Because it may be illegal in your area as most communities have specific stormwater disposal guidelines. Also, sending excess water into the sewage system can easily overwhelm the existing sewage infrastructure.
Discharging sump pump water into a sanitary sewer system can result in contaminated water being processed by sewage treatment plants, jeopardizing the integrity of local water systems.
Can I Discharge My Sump Pump Into the Street?
Discharging the sump pump water into the street can create safety hazards and issues that should be avoided as much as possible. During the winter months, directing water with high contents of salt and other contaminants onto the street surface can increase the risk of ice formation.
Also, excess water may collect in low-lying areas, leading to flooding and road damage. Thus, it is recommended that the sump pump water should not be discharged to the street but instead directed to appropriate drainage channels, such as storm sewer lines, as mentioned earlier.
Where Should the Sump Pump Water Go?
Proper disposal of sump pump water is critical to protecting your home and the environment. Ideally, any sump pump drainage should be directed away from your home to prevent water from seeping into your foundation, causing damage to your property.
If your community has a storm sewer system, this is typically the best option for disposing of sump pump water. Ensure the water discharged into the storm sewer line is clear and clean and contains no chemicals or contaminants.
Do not let the discharge flow onto driveways, sidewalks, or other paved surfaces, as it can cause erosion, damage, and an increase in slip-and-fall accidents. You should also check with your local municipal authorities for regulations governing the outflow of sump pump water to avoid legal issues or environmental pollution.
How far Can I Run a Sump Pump Discharge Line for a Storm Sewer?
When running a sump pump outflow line for a storm sewer, the distance you can cover largely depends on the slope of your property. If you have the proper slope and conditions to allow water to flow downhill, you can run your sump pump discharge line as far as you need to.
But remember that the longer the distance, the higher the risk for clogs or blockages, leading to water backup in your basement. Also, longer discharge lines may require more powerful sump pumps to push water uphill or overcome friction losses.
How Far Can a Sump Pump Discharge Water for a Storm Sewer?
Sump pumps discharge storm sewers’ water based on horsepower or pumping capacity. For instance, a 1/2 horsepower sump pump can generally handle a 7- to 10-foot vertical lift of the sump pump, a 90-degree elbow, and a horizontal pipe stretching between 3 and 25 feet.
Smaller sump pumps may not be able to push water further than a few feet or handle many volumes, whereas larger sump pumps might discharge water much further or more quickly.
It’s essential to ensure that your sump pump is the right size for your property and water management needs and to have a professional plumber or contractor install and maintain it.
Can Toilet Water go Through the Sump Pump Into a Storm Drain?
Toilet water should not go through a sump pump or storm drain. Not only is it illegal to discharge sewage or wastewater into the storm drain line, but it’s also a health hazard and can cause significant environmental damage.
Sump pumps are designed to handle relatively clean water from drainage areas, such as crawl spaces, basements, or other parts of a house. They are not designed to pump sewage or wastewater, and doing so can lead to significant problems with the pump, drainage system, or the environment.
If you need to dispose of sewage or wastewater, using a septic system, sewer connection, or other appropriate disposal means is essential.
Be Careful With Sump Pump Water Dispose of: Follow Local Laws & Regulations
Depending on local laws, you can empty your sump pump down the storm drain. While it may be allowed to discharge your sump pump water into the storm sewer or surface water, connecting them to your sanitary lateral or floor drains is never legal.
Remember that connecting your sump pump to the sanitary sewer lateral or discharging water from floor drains is illegal and can result in fines and other legal consequences.
If you’re unsure about the rules in your area or need help with sump pump installation or maintenance, contact a professional plumbing service to ensure that you’re following all the legal requirements and protecting your home from flooding.