When it comes to plumbing, there can be a fine line between finding the easiest solution and exploiting a shortcut. An example that comes to mind is the method for discharging a sump pump. Some homeowners connect their sump pump to a nearby drain and never give it a second thought.
While it may seem simple and harmless to discharge your sump pump down a regular drain in your home, it’s actually a bad idea to send that water into the sanitary system. On top of potentially being illegal, this method can overwhelm the sewage system and cause other issues.
Why you shouldn’t discharge your sump pump into the sewer system
- It may be illegal. You’d have to look up the code in your municipality, but there’s a good chance that connecting a sump pump to the sewer line is a big no-no. You could be fined for each day that your sump pump is illegally hooked into the sanitary sewer in some areas.
- Overwhelming the sewage system. During a heavy rainstorm, the volume of water that sump pumps can move is more than the municipal sewer system and water treatment facility are designed to handle. If the sewer main gets overwhelmed, then wastewater can get backed up into your sewer line (under the property) or even into your home. This can result in a giant mess and health hazards.
- Environmental impact. When water treatment facilities are overloaded, they can dump sewage or only partially cleaned water into local water outlets, which is harmful to the environment.
- Issues selling your house. If you’re looking to sell your home and your sump pump is incorrectly hooked up, it may get flagged during a home inspection.
- Inaccurate water bills. Most municipalities or water authorities determine your water bills based on your water usage – basically how much water comes out of the faucet. But your water bill usually accounts for both your fresh water supply and upkeep for the sewage system. So if your sump pump is connected to the sanitary sewer (which the water department can’t track or bill for), you’re using service that you aren’t paying for – which some consider stealing.
How to properly discharge a sump pump
There are two acceptable methods for discharging a sump pump. You can have the discharge pipe empty onto your property at least 10 feet from the home. With this approach, make sure the ground slopes away from the foundation and the pipe stays clear of debris or animals.
The second option is connecting the sump pump to the storm drain, which is separate from the sanitary sewer system. This approach usually requires professional installation but completely removes the water from your property.
Sump pump experts in the Durham, NC area
At Acme Plumbing Co., we want to keep our clients informed about the best ways to care for their homes. If you need help properly discharging your sump pump, feel free to give our team a call. Schedule an appointment or reach us at (919) 688-1348.