I am about to do drainage project for my sump pump discharge drain. I am confused about what kind of material to use either solid PVC or corrugated.

I live in the Chicago area where winter temp gets below freezing quite often.

I was also thinking of attaching downspouts to it as well.

My questions are:

  1. Is it better to use Corrugated or solid PVC?
  2. How deep my trench should be?
  3. What can I to prevent the line from freezing in winter?
  • 1
    The nice part about the solid pipe is that it's easier, in my mind, to ensure that you have the downward slope you want to the outfall.
    – SteveSh
    May 22, 2020 at 0:44
  • You're asking several distinct questions here. It's better to keep them separate. They're not really related to each other.
    – isherwood
    May 22, 2020 at 13:58

2 Answers 2


If you have to pump you want to get the water away from the home so use smooth wall it will drain easier. In a trench you would want to be below the frost level. Make sure to extend the drain far enough away or down hill or your power company will start sending you Christmas’s cards (joke for high use electric homes).


You can use either. Smooth wall PVC is a little less likely to clog, and is a little stronger but beyond that they both will carry water away.

The sump should discharge out the house above ground level. In winter you would either detach the drain pipe from the outlet and allow the water to collect near the foundation (not ideal) or you would have some kind of air gap. (Like a ground level drain that the discharge pipe is aimed at.) This way if the underground portion freezes, the liquid water is still able to escape, running out over the ground. If you skip this you could end up with a plugged discharge and a burnt out sump pump.

See: https://structuretech1.com/sump-system-defects/ for more information.

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