Fact or Fiction: You Can Hook Your Sump Pump to the Sewer System?

If you have a sump pump, you’ve already made the wise decision to prevent water from entering your home. But that leads to a valid question – where does the water go when the sump pump runs?

Fact or Fiction: You Can Hook Your Sump Pump to the Sewer System?

There are two commonly accepted methods for sump pump discharge – on the ground away from the foundation and into the storm sewer. Many homeowners are surprised to learn that connecting the sump pump to the sewer system is not recommended and is, in fact, illegal in many areas.

Why you shouldn’t connect your sump pump to a sewer drain

It may not seem like a big deal at first to run the sump pump’s discharge pipe to a nearby sink or floor drain. While convenient, this approach is actually a huge plumbing foul and can get you in hot water with your town or water authority. 

First, let’s define what the sewer system is. Most (if not all) of the drains in your home – whether a sink, tub, toilet, appliance, etc. – eventually converge together in the sewer line, which is an underground pipe that runs from your home to the municipal sewer main. 

The main reason that sump pumps shouldn’t discharge into this type of drain is that the sewer pipes and water treatment facility are not built to handle that volume of extra water. Imagine if every home connected their sump pump to the sewer system, and then a major rainstorm hit Illinois. It’s very likely that the sewer system would be overloaded – leading to wastewater backing up into your home. Not good.

The second reason that you shouldn’t connect your sump pump to the sewer system is that it throws off your water bill. Most water authorities monitor your water usage – and assume the amount of water getting delivered to your home is about the same as being disposed of down the drain. But if a sump pump discharges in the sewer drain, that’s extra usage and upkeep that isn’t accounted for in your water bill. This is an ethical issue and not something we recommend. 

How a sump pump should be discharged

Now that you know how NOT to discharge a sump pump let’s cover how to do it responsibly. One method is to have the discharge pipe release the water on the ground at least 10 feet from the foundation, making sure the ground slopes away from the home. 

For homeowners who don’t want to see the pipe outside or deal with a soggy area of their lawn, most places allow sump pumps to be connected to the storm sewer, which is a different system than the sewer line and is equipped to handle the influx of water during heavy rainfall. An underground pipe can be run from the sump pump to the storm sewer.

Sump pump experts in the Schererville, IN, area 

If you have questions about how to discharge your sump pump, or any other plumbing questions for that matter, feel free to reach out to Reichelt Plumbing. Schedule an appointment today at (219) 322-4906.


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