Sump discharge under water

I wanted to get some other opinions on this issue.
Background: Home was built in 2019, and is located in Michigan (so frequent freezing temps), the home is located on a canal and was a custom build.

Issue: the sump pump discharges from the crawl space into the canal to the rear of the yard. At the time of install back in March 2019 the discharge was about 6" above the water line. According to homeowner in June the water level rose above the discharge in the canal. The builder’s solution was to add an elbow to the discharge bringing the level just above the water.

As expected, when I inspected the discharge pipe, it was full of water as it has no way to drain. with the entire line being only 18-20" below ground, I cannot imagine how this pipe will not freeze solid, initially forcing water out of the overflow near the house, and then ultimately having the overflow freeze.

What is the acceptable remedy for a sump discharge that now discharges under water? it would also seem that a failure of the back-flow preventer could even end up creating a siphon from the canal to the crawlspace. I attached a simple sketch of what is going on. Please let me know what you think!
Sumpincanal.pdf (104.9 KB)

Okay in most cases (jurisdictions) if it discharging ground water into the waterway but a potentially costly issue if ANY other product is discovered in the discharge water. More-so if it is a fish bearing body of water or if it feeds a fish bearing body. Here in upstate NY a homeowner was fined by DEC (Dept of Environmental Conservation) an amount per day of occurrence equal to his yearly salary and he had to pay the cost for DEC to remediate the problem.

1 Like

Yes, it will freeze, especially if our winter is like last year.
Then there will be a real mess!
I recommend getting in touch with the county sanitarian right away.

The sump discharge will freeze with the canal and when it does the sump overflow will cause the pump to run continually.

I didn’t see, but might have missed it, at what depth is it discharging the water? Does the canal actually freeze to the bottom? Most of the canals I am familiar with (Champlain, Delaware, Erie as examples) have flowing water beneath the surface ice.

There is a PDF download ink in the 1st post. :smile:


1 Like

Thanks, Larry.

Yes, I did miss that. Most assuredly not a good way to handle the discharge.

1 Like

Thank you for the replies. the discharge pipe is literally 1" below the surface of the water. I do not believe the canal freezes solid, but it will freeze at least 8" thick if not over a foot in a hard year.