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Back when I first got my sump pump installed, an issue always bothered me. Anytime it rained, my pump would start discharging the water from my basement back to my yard. So even though my basement remained safe, the yard became excessively muddy.
That is when I had the bright idea to connect my sump pump drain to the sewer line. But little did I know, it is not only illegal to do that, but it can also do a lot more harm to your basement than good. For sump pump discharging, the main sanitary sewer line is not the right choice.
However, that does not mean you only have to pump out the water to your yard. There is a separate line for sump pump draining which is called the storm sewer. But since not many people bother to do the research, many of them are not aware of this option.
I will give you a thorough rundown of everything you need to know about the key differences between a sanitary and a storm sewer, along with the importance of connecting your sump pump drain to the proper sewer line.
Differences between Storm Sewers and Sanitary Sewers?
Right off the bat, the question that should be on your mind is what exactly is a storm sewer or sanitary sewer. After all, all sewage lines are connected, right? Well, it is not exactly that simple. The sanitary sewer, otherwise known as the municipal sewer line, is a complex maze of pipes that carries water from your kitchen, bathroom, sinks, or other sources to a water treatment plant. From there, the water gets discharged after filtering.
On the other hand, storm sewers do not go through any water treatment plants, and it gets discharged into local water surfaces such as streams and rivers. This line mostly carries the wastewater from rainfall or, in your case, sump pump drained waters. Since water or any other liquid that falls into your sink or shower, such as shampoo or other chemicals, can poison the environment, it is necessary to treat the water before releasing it to the environment.
Otherwise, it can toxify water bodies which in turn can harm fishes or other wildlife dependent on that water source. If you care at all about your environment, it is necessary to understand where your wastewater is heading. The water from your sump pump does not require any further treatment and will not pollute the environment.
There are also other reasons except environmental ones to avoid using the main sewer line as your sump pump drainage. For instance, during excessive rainfall, the wastewater from the main sewage can easily back up into your home.
Furthermore, since the municipality keeps track of your water usage through the main sewer line, it can result in a drastically higher utility bill. Besides, in most if not all states, it is absolutely illegal to dump sump pump water in the main sewage line.
How to Connect Sump Pump to the Storm Sewer Line
Connecting your sump pump discharge line to the storm sewer is not what I would recommend to anyone with little experience with plumbing. It requires a lot of planning and intricate cutting. Most homeowners neither have the time nor the skill required for a project of such magnitude. That is why I recommend contacting a plumber before you start messing around with your pump’s discharge pipe.
When you are first installing the sump pump, if you hire a plumber to make the connections, Plumber will definitely give you a proper suggestion and idea of the cost for directing sump pump water to the storm drain.
Even if you installed your pump a long time ago, you can hire a plumber and take his professional opinion on this type of project. It can run you anywhere from 300 dollars to upwards of thousands depending on the complexity of the job. If you have a storm drain close to your house, it will cost you less.
The best way to save a bit of money on this project is to have the plumber connect the sump pump to the drain pipe the first time you install it. Since it is a much bigger project overall, you might be able to snag a better deal. Apart from labor costs, you might also need to get a few additional pieces of equipment that might increase your expense.
DIY Solution to Connecting a Sump Pump Drain to the Storm Sewer
If you have a storm sewer that is extremely close to your house, then there is a way you can redirect your sump pump water to the drain easily. This might not be the most elegant solution, but it can work well for some time. And all you need is a high-quality garden hose for this project.
First, locate the end of the discharge pipe coming out of the sump pump. It should be somewhere around your house, where it pumps out the water from your sump basin to the yard. Measure out the distance from the discharge pipe to the storm drain near your house.
I suggest when buying the hose for your discharge pipe, make sure that it is at least 3 to 5 inches longer than the distance between the pipe and the storm sewer grill. Attach one end of the hose to your discharge pipe and place the other end over the grill of the storm drain. Voila, you have your makeshift discharge system. Make sure no one steps on it, though, as it will disrupt the flow of water.
Knowing how and where you can connect your sump pump discharge pipe is important to ensure you have a healthy water discharge system. The last thing anyone wants is to welcome another problem when trying to solve one. I hope my article could give you a deep insight into how drainage systems work and how you can connect your sump pump to a sewer line.