Sump pumps causing groundwater to infiltrate into wastewater

Colorado Springs Utilities prevents groundwater from infiltrating wastewater systems. / Taylor Bishop -- FOX21 News
Colorado Springs Utilities prevents groundwater from infiltrating wastewater systems. / Taylor Bishop -- FOX21 News

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — With weather like we have been experiencing, sump pumps are flying off the shelves of hardware stores, but they can cause big problems for homeowners and city utilities alike.

Colorado Springs Utilities had crews on standby with pumps and vac trucks on the west side of town Tuesday due to large amounts of groundwater infiltrating into wastewater systems. They said sump pumps could be to blame.

“French drains and other drains will drain into this area where the sump pump is and then it will pump that water out to a different location,” Larry McNabb with Olson Plumbing and Heating said.

But there is more to it.

“The biggest challenge that we run into is a lot of people don’t realize that they even have a sump pump in their house if they moved into an established neighborhood perhaps,” Colorado Springs Utilities spokesman Steve Berry said. “If they do, there’s some confusion about how they’re supposed to be installed.”

And how might they be improperly installed?

“They should not be discharged into your indoor wastewater pipe or your plumbing and they shouldn’t be discharged out of the house and into a wastewater service line,” said Berry.

“A lot of times what we find is that they’ve got the sump pump going into the sewer which is not legal. It needs to be daylighted outside of the house and away from the house so that you know you’re just not recirculating the water,” said McNabb.

And wastewater is not the only thing it affects.

“Typically it’s going to back up back into your house and the biggest issue there is obviously cost, huge cost implications, damage to a basement, but also you’re introducing wastewater backflow into the house,” said Berry.

Professionals said a sump pump’s lifespan should be about 10 years. If you are unsure whether yours is correctly installed, your best bet would be to call a licensed plumber to have it serviced.

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