Sump Pit/Pump Question

This is not an inspection based question, it is a question about my own home that has boggled me since I bought it in July.

This house, built in 2004, has a sump pit and pump. Weeping tile enters the pit, there is an installed pump, no check valve, and the piping goes to the side of the house, and drains directly at the side of the house. All of the houses here are done like that. My neighbour says his pump wasn’t plugged in when he got the house brand new, and he only plugged it in after severe rain last year when he found a tiny bit of water in there. The pump was unplugged when I bought this house, still is, and I have never seen water there, even during rain or melting–and it doesn’t look like water was ever there. On top of this, I pay for storm sewer every month on my utility bill.

My question… any idea what the pump is doing there? It doesn’t appear to be installed in a manner that would suggest it is doing anything important (unplugged, draining to the side of the house), and the fact that I pay for a storm sewer connection.

Note that this city is designed with separate sanitary and storm sewer systems. Until now, as far as I understood, weeping tile connects to the storm sewer system.

Is there any explanation for the pit and pump in my basement? A few things came to my mind, but I really have no idea…

  1. Perhaps the pump is configured in such a way as to handle storm sewer overflow only. Is this possible??

  2. Perhaps the pump is configured on an inner weeping tile system, with outer weeping tile going to the storm sewer. Then again, everything is built so cheap these days, so such overkill seems uneconomical for a builder to do.

  3. Perhaps I am not connected to the storm sewer, and this is the primary means of draining the weeping tile, as useless as it would actually turn out to be for that since it drains to the side of the house. But in this case I would be paying storm sewer for nothing, we all would in this area…

Any thoughts?? I sure can’t figure it out…


It’s often in the city building code to put one in even if the water table is not a problem in that area.

Agreed, sometimes only certain areas of a city require a sump and pit…especially on walk-out basements in our area. In our area it is OK to plumb them into the drain system, we don’t have a separate storm system. If it is just pumped to your exterior right close to the foundation…this is a very silly installation. It is just going to be re-pumping the same water out after it soaks back down into the ground. A useless cycle.

Give your local city hall a call and get some answers. It’ll likely take about an hour till you get transfered a half dozen times, but that would be your best bet.

No footer drain connection available.

Your local codes govern. In Edmonton we have several varations. No weeping tile required before 1968. Many houses have had it installed because its the only safe way to fix a wet basement. Than it was required and was connected to the sanitary sewer system. Next came sump pits with drain to outside next to foundation. Than outside with hose to front street.
Worked great when the temperature dropped to -20,
Next came sump pit and pump to storm drain at side of house if the city decides that the water table is high enough.
So it depends on where and when the house was built.
Local knowledge is very important and your inspector should be able to explain the local standards to you.