Is Sump Pump Discharge to the Street Illegal?

In many cities it is illegal for a sump pump to discharge into the street. Many homeowners are surprised to learn that draining their sump water into the street or alley is against the rules – keep reading to learn more about why it is important to have a real drain system and not pump into the street.

Why Is Discharging a Sump Into the Street Illegal?

Discharging your sump water into the street may remove the problem water from your home but it only creates a bigger problem for your neighbors and the city water pipes.

Sump water flowing in the street and cities pipes causes two problems: extra wear and tear and increased water processing costs. In many parts of the country – especially in the North East and Midwest the sewage and storm lines are all connected, which means your city pipes might not be able to handle the extra water flow or extra costs associated with processing and pumping it.

Another factor to consider is the wear and tear plus erosion on the soil, sidewalk and street where you are pumping your sump water. Your neighborhood was designed to handle a certain amount of water in the street and help it flow to specific areas. By adding more water than expected you can cause long term problems!

Another problem that many people do not think about is the risk during the winter. Draining your sump pump into the street during the winter time increases the likelihood of the road freezing over and causing ice on the road!

Your Neighbors Sump Pump Discharge

Sometimes your neighbors may empty their sump pump discharge into the street, sidewalk or alley. Most of the time it is a new homeowner or someone that just moved in and is unaware if the problems they are causing. In order cases there may be a flooding emergency in their basement and they have no other choice but to let the water drain into the the road.

We recommend talking to them and letting them know that pumping sump water into the street is illegal and their pump needs to be attached to proper drainage.

Potential Long Term Effects and Damage

Draining sump lines into the street can cause errosion damage, increase the likelihood of potholes and other structural damage that can require weeks of work to repair!

Related Posts About Sump Pumps

Discharge Onto The Curb and Sidewalk

It may not seem like a big deal to discharge your sump water onto the sidewalk but it can cause a number of problems like erosion and cracks in the concrete. High powered sump pump can easily pump over 100 gallons of water per hour which can wash away the group supporting the concrete sidewalk and worse current cracks from previous damage.

Laws In Your City

We recommend checking the laws in your city and with your homeowners association to find out the exact rules and regulations. In most areas your pump will need to be attached to city drain lines but if you live out in the country you my be allowed to drain the pump in other areas.

Most cities require sump lines to drain into storm sewers or city water sewers to prevent above-ground erosion and flood damage. To find out local laws in your area check your cities website for exact rules and regulations.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where should sump pump discharge?

Most sump pump drain lines should drain into cities storm or flood lines.

Can you drain water into the street?

Sump pumps should only be drained into the street in emergency situations.