Sump Pump Draining into the Yard? Why? What To Do About It?

A basement or crawl space sump pump keeps your house dry but it might make a muddy mess in the yard. Knowing why the sump pump is draining into the yard and why the yard is flooded are interrelated problems.


Why Is the Sump Pump Flooding My Yard?

Half an inch deep water puddle in the yard is enough for mosquitoes to breed in.
Half an inch deep water puddle in the yard is enough for mosquitoes to breed in.

Using a sump pump to prevent basement flooding is extremely important, but it can flood the yard. Which can cause multiple other problems. Such as a soggy yard or a puddle that floods the neighbor’s property.
It is normal for a yard to be wet after a strong rainstorm. However, if it stays wet for more than one day, that is a problem. That means that the earth is not able to absorb all of that water. Soggy soil and puddles can’t be used or maintained. Plus, it could attract pests and mosquitoes.
A basement sump pump is supposed to pump the water away from the house. That way the water doesn’t flow back into the house. However, that could cause a puddle in the yard.

High Water Tables and Clay Soil Cause Poor Yard Water Drainage

First, shallow groundwater is pretty common in many parts of the USA. That means rain water can’t percolate into the ground, because the soil is already saturated.
Living near a lake, swamp, river or natural spring oftentimes means there is a high water table. Then when there is a heavy rain the water table rises towards the ground surface. This will force water through basement floors and walls. Which causes the sump pump to activate and pump the water back outside. Since the ground is already saturated the water will flood the yard.
In most of the USA, if you dig below the topsoil, you will find clay soil. That clay can severely slow water from passing through it. That results in flooded yards after heavy rains.


Drain Sump Pump Water to Approved Locations

In the city, the best place to drain sump pump water is into the street drainage system. Do not pump that water into the city sewage system. That would be illegal because the water could back up into basements through sewer drains.

Each city has different regulations, such as this one:

In the City Of Roseveille MN which is a suburb of Saint Paul MN the City Ordenance says: “The discharge line shall not be directly discharged into the public right-of-way unless approved by the Public Works Director…”
Don’t have street storm drains where you live? Check with the local government for proper ways to dispose of the water. There may be a drainage ditch alongside of the road.
Otherwise, consider making a water garden with plants that love being soaked with water.

A rain garden like this one can soak up water from the sump pump discharge.
A rain garden like this one can soak up water from the sump pump discharge.

Rural Home Owners Should Consider French Drains and Dry Wells

A dry well can be used in an area where the water puddles. The dry well lets the water collect underground and seep into the earth over time. Depending upon the type of earth the water might drain to slowly to be effective.
One solution is to increase the size of the dry well. Another solution is to use a French drain to move the water to a location where the water can drain away.
In more severe situations you might need a sump pump at the end of the French drain to pump the water further away.Is The Sump Pump Draining into The Yard Constantly?
An automatic basement sump pump will continue to pump water as long as water enters the sump basin. In other words, water is finding its way into the basement.
As previously mentioned, this may be due to a high water table.
Another possibility is that the water that is pumped into the yard is flowing back into the basement. So, make sure that the sump pump discharge is far enough away from the house to prevent this.
Also, be sure that the water from the sump pump and roof gutter downspouts run away from the house.

Slow draining backyard puddle. The problem could get worse if the basement sump adds water to the puddle.
This poor soil drainage puddle could get worse from the basement water pump discharging into the yard.


Poor Soil Drainage Causes Backyard Flooding.

Compacted soil and clay soils can prevent the surface water from percolating through the earth. This can result in flooded yards even when the sump pump isn’t operating.
The best solution is to slope the yard away from the house or flooded area. This will let the water drain away naturally.
A drastic solution is to mix large amounts of sand into the soil.
The most common solution is to add a dry well and or French drains. However, you may need an outside sump pump to aid with the dry well or French drains.

Sump Pump Draining into Yard from Broken Water Pipe

Is the water bill higher than usual? That could mean that there is a broken water pipe.
Oftentimes the city water line runs for a distance underneath a house and may be leaking. This may be indicated by a wet spot on the basement floor. Although, that same wet spot may be caused by a high-water table.
Sometimes a water pipe inside of a wall is leaking. This results in the wall and or floor being wet.
Is the yard wet even though it hasn’t rained? This could be a broken water pipe from the city supplied water main. If the broken pipe is on your property, you are responsible for the repairs.

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