Where should your sump pump discharge? Here are the most reliable sump pump discharge ideas.

How To Route Sump Pump Discharge

As part of measures to get rid of water from your home, getting or buying a sump pump will be a great idea. This machine helps solve flooded basement problems by pumping out accumulated moisture.

While this function sounds excellent, where such water ends up is of equal importance.

The water being evacuated needs to be channeled appropriately to avoid causing further problems to yourself and your neighbors. Here, we’ll show you practical sump pump discharge ideas to implement.

These creative methods will help manage water being pumped out of your basement.

The Basic Workings of a Sump Drain Line

Before we get into details on where a sump pump drains, it’s important to discuss its basic working principle.

As water accumulates in the sump pump basin, a pump drain line will have to be connected to channel out such water. This pump is usually activated by one of its vital components; the float switch.

There are two critical components of the sump pump drain line to be looked at. They include the indoor and outdoor sections. So, what are these about?

The indoor section of a sump pump drain line consists of a PVC pipe connected to the sump pump outlet.

During its installation, it’s threaded to facilitate faster and easier removal during maintenance. Regarding how it’s positioned, the indoor section mostly sits vertically.

However, it curves horizontally to connect to the outdoor section where the water is eventually discharged.

In most cases, the vertical indoor section of the sump pump drain line needs to include a check valve to prevent an up-flow of water when the pump is off.

The outdoor section, on the other hand, lies horizontally. As stated earlier, this connects to the indoor unit and carries water away to the point of discharge.

Where Do Sump Pumps Drain To?

With the essential workings of sump pump drain lines provided, it’s now time to look at where the water goes.

This is crucial to many homeowners as improper water discharge could be significant. Depending on how recent your building is, water coming from your sump pump could be discharged to many places.

  • Where Does Sump Pump Water Go?

You can channel sump pump drain lines in such a way as to empty their contents into the yard. Another option is for such water to be directed into a storm drain.

There have been questions about connecting sump pump drain lines to sewer lines.

Is it legal? Read on for such details.

Proper Sump Pump Water Discharge

When using a sump pump, you want to ensure that you aren’t creating a problem while trying to solve one.

Unfortunately, this is what happens with improper sump pump discharge. Water journeys outwards from your sump pump. It needs to be kept out of certain areas to avoid issues.

For example, the discharge tube where the water comes out must be located safely (about 10 to 20 feet) from your home’s foundation. When the discharge point is too close, such water gets reabsorbed into the soil.

This creates a situation where the water finds its way back to its initial evacuation point. The damage caused to your home’s foundation is more problematic through this constant action.

There’s also the likelihood of erosion. You don’t want to deal with such problems at all.

  • Additional Problems Caused by Improper Sump Pump Discharge

Proper water channeling must be observed regardless of whether you use a sewer or septic tank system. For a septic tank system located on a property, sump pumps should be discharged at a safe distance.

This helps avoid flooding.

Also, consider your neighbors. You don’t want to extend your problems to them by having their property flooded with improper sump pump discharge.

It would help if you had reliable and effective sump pump discharge ideas to implement.

Sump Pumps Should Drain To One of Two Places

Before installing your sump pump drain line, it’s important to have vital aspects of its operation figured out. Where does the water go? This is a crucial pre-installation question to answer.

You should connect sump pump drain lines to one of two places; storm drains or the yard.

Besides these options, efficient disposal or water channeling is tricky and not advisable. Let’s take a look at each of these draining options before moving.

  • Connecting Sump Pump Drain Lines to Storm Drains

Before moving into a property, one of the primary things to observe is the water disposal system. Concerning our discussion, you need to figure out where water expelled by your sump pump drains.

Visual inspections of the interior and exterior sections may be enough to identify the drainage points.

However, there are times when making out the disposal point can be tricky. Under such circumstances, the help of a plumbing technician will be necessary.

Sump pump drain lines from older homes tend to be connected more to storm drains.

This is an excellent water disposal option as storm sewers are specially designed to transport runoff water to appropriate locations like large water bodies consisting of rivers, lakes, or creeks.

Here, a network of open ditches and pipes are interconnected to facilitate easy movement.

Under this drainage option, the outer section of a sump pump drain line connects to the storm drain, emptying the water away. So, how efficient is this water disposal method?

It’s very efficient, especially when compared with a situation where the water empties into a yard.

  • Connecting Sump Pump Drain Lines to Yards

Sump pump drain lines can also be designed to discharge water into the yard.

This is mainly found in situations where storm drains aren’t nearby. Here, the discharge pipe usually sits on a grassy section of the yard that slopes away from the house.

The distance of the sump pump discharge pipe to the house is essential. It should be at least 6 feet away to prevent water from seeping back into your home’s foundation.

While this works efficiently, it could bring up many problems, especially with flooding.

Also, adjacent or nearby properties could be affected by water being discharged. This is why a pro must handle the installation. Graded yards help with the water disposal process under this option.

However, graded yards may erode over time, thus affecting the proper channeling of water. If this is the case, have the grading problem resolved by calling the right professionals for the job.

In all situations, the input of plumbing services is paramount.

7 Creative Sump Pump Drainage Ideas

Effective disposal methods exist as much as there are wrong ways to discharge a sump pump. These range from the use of dry wells, rain barrels, and the creation of a rain garden.

A catch basin is also a great way to discharge a sump pump.

Others include backyard landscaping, using the storm sewer as a discharge point, and a French drain. All of these discharge techniques have proven to be effective.

Based on your preferences, you’ll have to choose one that best fits your needs.

  • Use a Dry Well

One effective way to discharge your sump pump is by using a dry well. This is simply a perforated barrel designed to collect water safely absorbed into the soil.

The benefit of using a dry well is that it prevents damage to the topsoil while also safeguarding against erosion.

If you don’t have a dry well on your property, you can also have one built. Luckily this isn’t a complex procedure. A suitable location to have a dry well is one that slopes or slants away from your home or building.

This helps improve water flow.

Also, a dry well should be located at a safe distance (at least 10 feet) from your home’s foundation. The dry well barrel needs to fit into a hole.

A deep hole should be dug with enough width twice as wide as the barrel.

Before the barrel is lowered into the hole, you must fill the bottom with crushed stones. This should be followed with landscape fabric placed at the hole bottom and the sides.

You may require help in building a dry well. A skilled technician should be able to help out once you state your needs.

  • Rain Barrels to the Rescue

Rain barrels are widely used for collecting runoff water.

These can also be deployed for easy and more efficient sump pump discharge. With such water, you can water your plants and garden, including lawns, without incurring any additional utility expenses.

Any plastic container large enough to hold a significant volume of water will suffice. You will fit an ideal rain barrel with a valve at the bottom.

Some slight modifications may be necessary to put an existing rain barrel.

  • Consider Starting a Rain Garden

Have you thought about starting a rain garden? This is a reliable and environmentally-friendly way of managing sump pump discharge. You only need a depressed area within your property, to begin with.

What happens is that water collects into the depressed area, which is then slowly absorbed.

Growing plants and flowers make the absorption process faster, thus putting your surroundings to good use.

Rather than discharging your sump pump into a storm sewer, you prevent a situation where it gets overburdened by simply having a garden planted.

Not all areas are ideal for locating a rain garden. A perfect spot will be one with a reasonable absorption rate. In other words, a water-logged location won’t be suitable for a rain garden.

Also, you must maintain a distance of at least 10 feet between your rain garden and the home’s foundation.

  • Catch Basin

A catch basin for sump pump discharge is one effective method to consider. This usually comes with a grate located at the top.

A drainage pipe slopes away from it, leading to a sewage plant.

  • Backyard Landscaping

Backyard landscaping is another effective way to discharge sump pumps.

However, only areas that slope away from your foundation should be considered. Improvements may be necessary where the water absorption rate of the soil is poor.

  • Using the Storm Sewer as a Discharge Point

Another excellent idea for discharging sump pumps is using the storm sewer as a discharge point. The storm sewer quickly collects the excess runoff water and excellently serves this purpose.

  • Use a French Drain

A French drain is designed to channel off the water with less possibility of clogging. Water from the sump pump flows into the discharge line from where it’s released.

Can Sump Pump Drain Lines be Connected to Sewer Lines?

By their design, sewer lines channel out wastewater from homes. Such wastewater consists of grey and black water. Having sump pump drain lines routed to sewer lines isn’t advisable.

It’s illegal to have a sump pump drain line connected to a sewer line.

Connecting drain lines will properly install professional plumbing service to the proper channels. It will serve your interest to find out where your sump pump drain line is connected to.

Such would prevent scenarios like water damage, among others.


When installed, water disposal systems like sump pumps will require proper routing of components like the discharge pipe. Without such, it would be practically impossible for the system to work effectively.

In this guide, we’ve discussed the essential workings of a sump pump and, more importantly, where it drains.

If you have a sump pump, you should know what goes on. Such detail is crucial because it helps with proper installation and troubleshooting when a problem develops.

How sump pump drains are connected is of vital importance. We’ve seen the different situations where these drains are linked to specific outlets.

It’s necessary to know what works best for your situation before proceeding—as always, working with a pro is of paramount importance.

You can implement these sump pump discharge ideas with little difficulty. They’re much more efficient than releasing such water indiscriminately.

One Comment

  1. Bobby Wischkowski says:

    good article. Where do I find someone to do this discharge work? I have a good pump but because of a break in the old drain pipr I need a new discharge line installed.

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