Sump pump systems are designed to capture surface or ground water that enters basements or crawl spaces and pump it away from the house. Cross connections (when sump pumps discharge into the sanitary sewer system) are against City ordinance and pose economic and environmental problems.
Homeowners use sump pumps in their basements to battle moisture and flooding issues. The basic sump system includes drain tile, a sump pit (which extends below the slab and collects surface water that enters the basement/crawl space or groundwater that rises to the slab), a sump pump, a float or switch, and a drain line. The drain line should direct sump water out of your house and onto your yard (see illustration at bottom of page).
What Is a Cross Connection? Watch short animation »
When a sump pump is connected to a sanitary sewer line, it is called a cross connection. Often, this is a hose leading from the sump to a laundry tub or a floor drain. Water that goes down any drain in your house leads to the sanitary sewer system and eventually ends up at a wastewater treatment plant, where it is treated before being released back into the environment.
Why Is This a Problem?
Sump pump water is what engineers call "clear water," most often rain water, ground water, or snow melt. This water flows directly into area streams, ponds, and lakes. Water from sinks, showers, tubs, toilets, and washing machines is wastewater and must be treated before it is discharged into the environment.
Clear water, such as that from a sump pump, overloads the sanitary sewer system. During the rainy season (March through October), this clear water increases the flow through Golden Valley’s sanitary sewer system one to two times the usual amount, primarily because of cross connections.
Since sanitary sewer rates are based on the number of gallons that flow through the City sanitary sewer system, treating clear water is costly to everyone.
Redirecting Your Sump Pump Connection
Sump pumps should drain into the City’s storm sewer system through one of two methods:
- a direct connection (a pipe from the house to the main storm sewer line), if available
- directly onto the ground (preferably 20 feet from the house and not into a neighbor’s yard)