What is the Sump Pump Inventory Program?
Homeowners and businesses use water every day for cleaning, bathrooms, etc., and send it down their drains when they are through with it. This water goes into the sanitary sewers where it is conveyed to the Hutchinson Wastewater Treatment Facility. This is what is supposed to happen.
To avoid groundwater or rainwater from entering homes/business basements, some homes/businesses have sump pumps in their basements.
These pumps are designed to pump groundwater or rainwater to the outside of the home/business to storm sewers.
- During the first Sump Pump Inventory Program in 2001, the City found that 8-9% of homes and businesses were out of compliance. This meant that before the 2001 program, an estimated 100 million gallons per year was being contributed to the City of Hutchinson Wastewater Treatment Facility for treatment. Treating sump pump water is not necessary and increases operating cost at the Wastewater Plant.
- Another round of inspections in 2007, which included over 700 properties, showed a similar rate of non-compliance around 10%. City staff is available to inspect sump pump discharges at the request of a property owner. As improperly connected sump pumps are identified the City requires that they are corrected.
Reasons for Sump Pump Program
- Sump Pump cross-connections are prohibited by both the City of Hutchinson’s Ordinance and the Plumbing Code
- Protects the Environment by reducing the chance of causing an upset to the Wastewater Treatment Facilities process
- Reduces flooding and overloading of the sanitary sewer system
- Reduces public health risks
- Extends the design capacity of the Wastewater Treatment Facility
- Reduces the City of Hutchinson wastewater treatment costs.
How should my sump pump be installed?
In a correctly installed system, a rigid section of pipe, such as PVC, takes water from the sump pump, through the basement, and deposits it outside the home or business.
Incorrectly installed or cross connected sump pump systems drain to the sanitary sewer. Sometimes the tile line is routed directly to the floor drain and not into a sump pit. This is also an illegal cross connection.
Techniques to prevent water from getting into your basement include but are not limited to:
Install rain gutters on your house and direct the downspouts away from your home. If you already have rain gutters, make sure that they are installed correctly and are cleaned out regularly, and that the downspouts are draining at least 3-5 feet away from your foundation.
Shape any landscaping to grade away at least 5 feet from your home’ foundation.
- Soils around a house tend to compact and drop after construction, creating a situation in which yard drainage may be directed up next to the house, increasing the potential for water intrusion.
- Many people fill in this area with landscaping rock, which may hide the actual soil slope under them, and has the potential to create an area next to the house where water can build up. You may need to remove the rock, add clay soil to grade away from the house and then reinstall the rock or other landscaping.
- Look for any obstructions in your yard that may prohibit surface water from flowing away form your home, or through your yard. This often happens when a storage shed is built too close to your home or is blocking drainage in the back of your lot. Often drainage swales in rear yards or between homes are blocked during landscaping. Also it is common to see sand boxes, gardens or other items that may block drainage. It is important that the water can run out to a curb line or storm drain without being blocked.
For a typical house, a sump pump may discharge up to 5000 gallons per day of “clean” water, compared to approximately 200 gallons per day of wastewater (sewage).
In the City of Hutchinson prior to the sump pump discharge elimination program, it was estimated that over 180 million gallons a year of sump pump water was discharged into the sanitary sewer system. It was not uncommon to have flows in the sanitary sewer system triple (or more) during rainfall events. This created increasingly more problems and concerns that needed to be addressed.
- Sanitary sewer systems were backing up into some homes during large rainfall events. Significant damage was being caused by the excess flows from sump pump discharge.
- The capacity of the Wastewater Treatment Facility was being reached during the peak flows, and the facility had the possibility for being overloaded, potentially leading to raw sewage entering the river. The City was looking at large operating costs for handling “clean” water and the potential expansion of a multi-million dollar facility just to provide capacity for sump pump discharge.
It has been illegal to hook up a sump pump discharge to the sanitary sewer for decades. However due to the known problems with sump pumps running year round, the nuisance issues, and the lack of troubles associated with the discharge the City of Hutchinson has not pursued strong measures of enforcement. As the issues above have increased in frequency and magnitude, it became clear that the City had to act to correct the situation.
Sanitary Sewers – Underground pipelines that collect and convey wastewater from homes/business sinks, toilets, showers, washing machines, etc., to a treatment facility.
Treatment Facility – Consist of concrete structures, buildings, and equipment which clean the wastewater before discharging to area streams and lakes.
Storm Sewer – Underground pipelines that collect and convey rainwater and groundwater from streets, parking lots, roofs, lawns, etc., to area streams and lakes.
Sump Pumps – Pumps that are installed in the sump pits located in basements of homes/businesses. The sump pump conveys ground or rainwater that may enter the home/business to the outside of the home/business onto lawns or into storm sewers.
Cross Connection – Sump pumps that are connected to the sanitary sewers instead of going directly outside of homes/businesses on lawns or storm sewers.
Connecting Your Sump Pump to a City Tile
In some areas of town you may have the option of connecting your sump pump discharge to a city tile line that may be located behind the curb line. Only sump pump water is allowed to discharge into the tile line. No down spouts or surface inlets are allowed to be connected because of the potential of plugging the tile line. You will need to obtain an excavation permit to perform the work and make the connection. We will also provide you with specifications to ensure that your system operates as intended.
An inspection will need to be done by city staff to verify that the connection was made according to the city specifications.
If you are interested in connecting your sump pump discharge, would like to know if the tile is available adjacent to your property, or you have any other questions please call: (320)234-5682.