I have a sump pump in my basement that discharges several times a day. Currently, it discharges water right next to my front steps. I read that sump pumps should discharge at least 10 ft away from the the home to avoid damage to the foundation. Mine is definitely too close to my house, and I am getting water in the basement, possibly from my own sump pump discharge. I called my town to get a permit to run my sump pump under the sidewalk in front of my house so it discharges out to the gutter. They told me this was illegal and that sump pump should discharge back to my own property. This doesn't make any sense to me, especially since almost all my neighbors and even the town library run their sump pumps under the sidewalk and discharging water to the gutter! I have seen other towns do the same setup. I want to go to back and tell them this. If However, if I tell them that my entire block has their pumps to the curb, what might happen? Might they come and fine everyone? Can I make a case for myself that I should be allowed?

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    Well, it needs to discharge far enough away that it doesn't come back into the house. That could be 2 feet away or 2000, depending on the lay of the land. Jul 3, 2019 at 2:37
  • Hi mine just pools next to my front steps. That is an additional nuisance because in the summer months that little pool becomes a mosquito breeding ground.
    – ac1
    Jul 3, 2019 at 2:38
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    Hello, and welcome to Home Improvement. Unfortunately, this is a legal issue, and so is probably off-topic here; let's see what answers you get. And, you should probably take our tour so you'll know how best to participate here. Jul 3, 2019 at 11:35
  • @DanielGriscom is correct. If City Code does not allow discharge into storm system don't fight it. Look up rain gardens. You could turn it into a landscape feature. Allow the water to hit a pond and run out of the pond into a rain garden. The plants help the water infiltrate into the soil and can add significant wildlife features to the yard. Typical drainage law prohibits point discharge so don't put the pipe or any hoses too close to the property line (varies by law & district). Give it space away from the house but not on the property line (2-10 feet if possible)
    – Dano0430
    Jul 3, 2019 at 19:10
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it's a legal question. Jul 3, 2019 at 21:34

1 Answer 1


You cannot make a case for yourself saying just because others do it you should be able to (just try that with a cop when getting pulled over for speeding)

What I have done in the past is to run the drain line to the curb and fill the last foot with gravel, when there is enough water it flows through the gravel and over the curb direct draining was not allowed, but this was legal, a big nosed neighbor trued to cause problems and called the city after I did this I did not get cited but several others on the block did, now every one has the same setup, makes no sense to me but if it flows out of the ground and over the curb it was legal in that city.

  • Running the sump line to the back of the curb will cause damage to the road just like it would a foundation. Perhaps worse depending on the depth of disturbed soil and the "tightness" of the storm joints. Likely what will happen is that the water will pool in the rock bed you created and move through the rocks & soil into a joint between the structure and the pipes taking sediment with it. This causes a constant sink hole behind the curb.
    – Dano0430
    Jul 3, 2019 at 19:06
  • This is legal in town in several places where direct drainage to water he road way is not. It works exactly like a French drain , the soil and roadway are not affected because of the rock, note the first one I put in was at my grandmothers over 40 years ago, that spot is still wet regularly and the road has not been resurfaced in all these years.
    – Ed Beal
    Jul 3, 2019 at 19:49

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