Sump Pump Discharge Ideas: Creative And Effective

If you have already thought about getting a sump pump, you should also have some effective sump pump discharge ideas to help you with the process. It is not always easy to discharge a lot of water into your backyard or lawn. This article also includes some areas that you need to avoid when discharging the water. Let’s go through all the important points to find out more about the options.

Sump Pump Discharge Ideas

Rain Garden

A rain garden is the greenest solution of all options to discharge the sump pump. It is a depressed area in your land where you can grow plants which will be useful to everyone. You can plan this near the bottom of a natural slope in your garden. It should be at least 10 feet from the foundation, preferably downhill from the sump pump. The place you select should be able o soak up the water effectively. How can you find the best spot for this? Dig a hole about 12 inches deep in the selected area and fill it with water. Check the hole after 24 hours, and if the water is gone, it is a suitable place for your rain garden. If water remains, you need to find another suitable spot.

Sump Pump Discharge Ideas

Dig a channel at a slight slope from the pump’s discharge to the selected area. Install PVC pipes so that the water can flow through them to the garden. Then dig the region in the selected spot in a bowl shape for the water to collect. The higher the slope is, the deeper the hole should be. To avoid the water from overflowing, you should raise the banks around the hole. Then plan the region where you expect to grow plants and cover the remaining area with drainage stones. It is better to have native plants in the area since they soak up water and can be maintained easily. This will also add beauty to your garden by attracting birds and butterflies to the area. 

Rain Barrels

As the name implies, rain barrels are plastic containers that are used to capture rainwater. In addition to collecting water from downspouts, they can also be used to hold water discharged from sump pumps. You can use the water collected in these rain barrels to water the flowers, indoor plants, and your lawn. With this, you can reduce your water bill easily.

You can use a barrel with a capacity of about 50 gallons for this. Drill a hole on the side or on the top to connect the discharge pipe. Don’t forget to place the barrel on properly leveled ground. If you elevate the barrel up to twelve inches, you can access the spout easily. Measure the distance from the sump pump to the rain barrel to decide the length of the pipe needed. Then cut the pipe accordingly and connect one end to the discharge line and the other to the hole created on the side/ top of the rain barrel. If you need, you can even connect multiple barrels to the original barrel through pipes or hoses. This is a pleasant and useful way to discharge the sump water.

Dry Well

A dry well is a barrel with holes born around it to disperse the water collected in it. However, this barrel should be underground, similar to a well. Choose a suitable location about 10 feet away from your house preferably down a slope. Mark a trench line from the house to the dry well and draw a circle of twice the width around the well. Then dig the trench at least up to 12 inches with a suitable width to install a PVC pipe. The width of the sump pump discharge line determines the size of the pipe. Then dig a hole twice the width of the dry well barrel as marked previously. Add crushed stones to the bottom of the hole and create a layer of landscape fabric at the bottom and on the sides of the hole.

Lay the PVC pipe and drill a hole in the dry well to fit this pipe extending from the sump pump discharge line. Place the dry well over the fabric layer in the hole and connect the pipe. Put the cover on the well and place the surface drain inlet on top. Add more crushed stones between the well and the fabric-lined walls of the hole. Fix a 90-degree fitting to the end of the PVC pipe near the house. Inside the open end of the fitting, place a short riser pipe and cover it with a rubber connector and hose clamps. Fill the trench and the hole with topsoil, but keep the top of the surface drain exposed. Insert the discharge line through the rubber connector and tighten clamps to fix it in place. The water will discharge to the dry well and disperse underground through the well and stones.

Storm Sewer System

The most common way to discharge water is the street which will then direct the water to the storm sewer system. However, you should obtain a Right-of-Way permit for this. It allows you to connect your drainage line to the storm sewer structure legally. There are a few things that you need to know regarding this. Connect the drainage line in the storm sewer system right of way. Follow the shortest distance when crossing the street in case the right of way is on the opposite side of your house. The drainage line should be 4 inches maximum and a PVC pipe is preferred. The drainage point should be at least 5 feet away from the adjacent property.

Another important thing that you need to know is that you should disconnect the discharge line from the street from the 1st of November to the 1st of April. This is to prevent freezing during the winter. If you are unable to discharge the sump pump straight to the street, you can also connect the discharge line directly to the storm sewer pipes. But there should be a city inspector on the site during this procedure.

What Are the Places You Should Avoid Sending Water to?

The first thing you need to avoid is discharging water too close to the foundation of your house. The discharge point needs to be at least 10 – 20 feet away from your home. If not, the discharged water will reabsorb into the soil and you will have to remove it again. This will wear out your sump pump quickly. Also, the constant flow of water can damage the foundation as it causes erosion.

Also, in case you have a septic tank system, avoid discharging water too close to it. This is because it can cause flooding if you drain water into the sewer system. Certain cities also have legal restrictions when it comes to this case and even consider it as pollution. 

The final region to avoid discharging water is your neighbors’ land. It is simply common courtesy and is also against the law in some regions. So avoid discharging your excess water so as to cause discomfort among your neighbors.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I Bury Sump Pump Discharge?

You can bury the sump pump discharge line in the yard. If not, you can also extend out above grade at a downward slope. If you bury the pipe, make sure that it is buried at least 12 cm below the frost line. The frost line here is the maximum depth of ground below which the soil doesn’t freeze.

How Do You Bury a Sump Pump Drain Line?

First, dig a trench for the sump pump drain line with a width of at least 2 feet wide. The depth of this trench is 2 feet in addition to the depth of the frost line in your area. For example, if the frost line in your area is 12 inches, you should dig the trench 3 feet deep. Make sure to place the sod pieces on the side as you remove them so that you can use them again to cover the trench.

How Far From House Should Sump Pump Discharge?

The sump pump’s discharge point should be at least 10 feet away from the foundation of your house. To be on the safer side, you can extend this distance up to 20 feet. It is always good to extend this distance since it protects your home’s foundation from possible water damage.

Do Sump Pump Discharge Lines Freeze?

Yes, sump pump discharge lines can freeze mostly in the northern region. This happens as the pipe endings are covered with ice and snow in the winter. Since the water cannot exit through the pipes, this will cause major inconveniences to the household. The best way to prevent this freezing is with insulation. You can bury the line deeper underground or add insulation using hay and a tarp.


You are now aware of the best sump pump discharge ideas that you can use at your home. Proper discharge of water not only creates a pleasant living space but also helps you to avoid conflict with your neighbors and legal authorities. Make sure to check the condition of your sump pump discharge once in a while to make sure that everything works in order. This is important, especially if you have an outdoor sump pump.

Leave a Comment