Why Do Sump Pumps Discharge Into Storm Drains Rather Than A Sewer Line?
You see storm drains near every road daily, and you know that they link up to the sewer system. But did you know that the storm drain system is different from the sewer one that connects to your home? You may be assuming that all underground pipes use the same system and head to a treatment plant, but most municipalities have two drainage systems – one for rain water/meltwater and another for sewage waste.
Removing via sump pump the rain and snow from around your foundation is important for keeping your basement or crawl space dry. But can you just dump that water being removed back into a sewer line? It may depends on which part of our city’s wastewater infrastructure it connects to!
Sump Pumps And City Sewer Lines
You’ve heard the phrase, “it’s all pipes, what’s the difference?” It’s a funny phrase, but they couldn’t be more wrong, because most cities in the US have two different sewer line infrastructures: one for sanitary waste (sewage) and one for storm water.
In most of the US, it is illegal to discharge groundwater from your sump pump into the city sewer line. There’s a very good reason for this and it’s to avoid putting clean water into the lines that carry sewage and waste to treatment plants so as not to overwhelm them during rainy seasons. Though it might seem like the most convenient route for discharge, but when a sump pump connects to the sewer line, there is the potential for city sewers to fill beyond their capacity. This, in turn, creates a heightened risk of water and sewage coming back up through your pipes and contaminating your home.
Sump Pumps And Storm Drain
Unless you or your builder have made an error when connecting the sump pump, most homes will discharge water from the sump pit through a pipe in the wall of your foundation into either the yard or the storm drain. Most newer homes have a sump pump that discharges in a grassy section of the yard that slopes away from the house. When setting this up, the preferable distance from the wall of the house is no less than 6 feet.
There are many older homes that have sump pumps that connect to storm sewers. This is usually okay because most cities have designed their storm system to handle large amounts of rainfall and meltwater. Underground pipes and open ditches carry this runoff and discharge the water into creeks, rivers, and other surface bodies of water nearby.
North Carolina regulation also makes it against the law to discharge water in a way that hurts neighboring properties, including property owned by the municipality. If your sump pump discharge does this – or it illegally connects to the City’s sewer lines – give us a call and we’ll help figure out a solution to properly discharge the water that complies.
If you ever problems with your sump pump, we are just a click away. Also if you would like have your sump pump inspected – give us a call! South End Plumbing is one of the only companies that will give you a free estimate. Call us at 704-919-1722 or fill out the form online to schedule a visit.