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Why We Need Sump Pumps

One of the most important functions of sump pumps is to protect basements from flooding. Heavy rains can overwhelm the sanitary sewer collection system and lead to sewage backups in basements. The sanitary system is designed to heavy rains, but it becomes overloaded because many people connect their sump pump discharge hose to the sanitary sewer. The sanitary system does not have capacity to carry this excess clear water.

Sump pumps also perform important functions during normal weather conditions. They drain groundwater from under and around our basement floors. Removing the groundwater reduces the possibility of the basement floors cracking and shifting from the water pressure. The basement area stays drier and feels less humid. Molds, mildew and other problems associated with damp areas will not get the opportunity to grow if the basement is kept dry and clean.

Why discharging sump pumps into the sanitary sewer during the spring and summer months is not a good idea.

Sump Pumps: Why you don’t discharge your sump pump into the sanitary during the spring and summer months.
The storm drain system is designed for groundwater/rainwater to flows directly into the Red River. This is separate from the city sewer system, and wastewater treatment plant.
Because of this, the city sewer system and its wastewater treatment plant are designed only to handle the demands of daily city water usage in the city's homes and businesses.

If you're a homeowner with a basement or crawl space, you're likely aware of the large amount of water your sump pump has to handle during a storm. If your sump pump is discharging to the sewers, that's a sizable amount of extra gallons pouring into the sewers in a short amount of time. Now imagine if sump pumps all over the city were discharging to the city sewers…during a storm, that would be thousands of gallons of extra water pouring into the system all at once. The sewer system and wastewater treatment plant would quickly fill to over-capacity and easily flood during a period of heavy rainfall. Thus causing either the sewers to back up into homes, or the wastewater treatment plant to release partially treated sewer water into local streams and rivers.

If that doesn't convince you, here's another reason: A main drain/sewer clog is a problem that could arise, especially in yards with trees…without warning. If your main sewer suddenly stops flowing properly, it can back up into your toilets, bathtub, and sinks. The last thing you'd want in that kind of situation is a sump pump pouring gallons and gallons of additional water into the clogged sewer! You can turn off your water until you can get the sewer cleared, but you can't turn off your sump pump without risking water backup into your home.

No one wants sewage backing up into their home, so if your sump pump currently pumps to the city sewer during the summer months, STOP! You may hate the idea of having an unsightly pipe pouring water into your yard, but there are plenty of attractive options that will work with your home's current situation and landscaping.