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Connect Sump Pump to Dry Well, Not Sewer

For decades, it was common for sump pumps to discharge directly into the sanitary sewer system. However, every year, more and more communities ban the practice. The solution? A dry well.


All drains in your home, including floor drains, sinks, laundry tubs, toilets, and bathtubs drain directly into the sanitary sewer. The water then flows to a wastewater treatment plant.

When a sump pump is connected to the sanitary sewer system, groundwater and rainwater collected by the pump are added to the sanitary sewer system.

Overhead view of round aeration basins and filtration ponds at a wastewater treatment plant
Aeration basins and filtration ponds at a wastewater treatment plant

According to the Metropolitan Council Environmental Services, in Minnesota, just one home continuously pumping stormwater from its foundation or basement into the sewer system equals roughly what 40 homes would send down the drain on a typical day.

Sump pumps are designed for groundwater and rainwater. Sanitary sewer pipes are designed for sewage. When the two mix, it can spell disaster.

A typical sanitary sewer pipe from the home to street is only 8 inches in diameter, and only so much sewage can flow through the pipe at any given time.

The extra water from a sump pump can overwhelm the system, pushing sewage back into basements. In heavy storms, sewage might come out a basement toilet or washing machine drain.

In addition to being a stinky mess, exposure to raw sewage poses a health risk.

To prevent this, communities are banning the practice of connecting sump pumps to sanitary sewer systems.

Some cities permit older homes with sump pumps connected to the sanitary sewer system to be “grandfathered” in and remain connected while prohibiting the practice in new homes.

Other communities are mandating all sump pumps disconnect from the sanitary sewer system.

If a sump pump can’t drain into the sanitary sewer system, where does the water go?

Sump pump drainage hoses should stay outside the house. They may drain water into the yard or into the street to flow toward a stormwater drain.

Increasingly, sump pump owners are opting to install a dry well.


Workers sitting on buckets digging dry well sump pump trench
Crews dig a trench as part of a dry well installation project

A dry well is an underground structure that disposes of unwanted water. It is a covered, porous-walled chamber allowing water to slowly soak into the ground.

Water collected in the dry well is slowly released into the ground.

Computer rendered image of a Flo-Well dry well system
Flo-Well dry well

When installing a dry well, a hole for the well will be dug in a homeowner’s yard. A trench leading from the home to the dry well will be dug, with a pipe connecting the sump pump to the well laid in the trench.

Flo-Well dry wells collect, retain, and discharge stormwater on-site, offering a gravel-free alternative to a traditional dry well. Flo-Well dry wells are modular and can be connected in series or stacked to meet a variety of project needs.

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