Sump Pumps

Sump Pumps: Essential Advice for Winthrop Property Owners


Living in Winthrop, many property owners know the importance of sump pumps in managing moisture and preventing flooding. A typical sump pump system includes several key components: drain tile, a sump pit (which extends below the slab to collect surface water and groundwater), a sump pump, a float or switch, and a drain line. The drain line should direct water outside, ensuring it stays on your property and doesn’t affect your neighbors.

Understanding the Problem
One major issue arises when sump pumps are connected directly to the sanitary sewer system. This connection introduces a significant amount of storm water into the sewer system—storm water that doesn’t require treatment at the Wastewater Treatment Ponds. The sanitary sewer system isn’t designed to handle this excess clean water, leading to several costly and damaging consequences:

1. Increased Infrastructure Costs: The region may need to build larger and additional sewer pipes and treatment facilities, leading to higher sewer fees and utility rates for everyone.
2. Sewage Backups: Excess storm water can cause sewage backups into buildings, creating health hazards and property damage.
3. Environmental Impact: Sewage overflows can pollute waterways and other environmentally sensitive areas.

The Minnesota Rural Water estimates that up to 80% of inflow and infiltration (I/I) issues stem from private sources. This includes defective sewer service lines and improperly connected sump pumps, downspouts, and foundation drains. Excessive I/I necessitates the construction of larger, more expensive sewer infrastructure.

 What Can You Do?
To protect our community’s system and keep utility costs down, consider the following steps:

1. Inspect and Repair: Regularly inspect and repair any damaged sewer service lines to prevent leaks and infiltration.
2. Upgrade Pipes: If you have older clay pipes, consider replacing them as they may be beyond their service life and more prone to damage.
3. Check Connections: Ensure that sump pumps and building drains are not connected to the sanitary sewer system. Redirecting this water appropriately can significantly reduce the strain on our wastewater treatment facilities.

By taking these actions, Winthrop property owners can help maintain the integrity of our sewer system, protect the environment, and avoid unnecessary costs. Let’s work together to keep our community safe and efficient!

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