sump pump water into rain barrel?

stockypete(6/7)April 16, 2008

I guess the subject line says it all...

Moved into a new house recently and am starting my veggie gardens this year. We have a finished basement with sump pump that runs regularly when it rains (which we have had a good deal of lately). The previous owners installed interior french drains around (most of) the inside when they finished the basement. Originally they drained it directly into the sanitary system but at least in our area, by code you can't do that so the plumber replumbed it to go outside the house.

I would like to redirect the outlet into a rainbarrel to collect the output for use in the garden (right now it just kicks out off the foundation, but what considerations do I need to keep in mind before I do so? Do I need to treat with bleach and/or check PH occasionally? Ideally I will hook the rainbarrel into my gutters also.

Yes I'm checking through the old posts, haven't run into this variation of the question yet but don't want anyone to think I'm not looking already. :-D

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Were you able to come up with a solution to this issue? I have a similar problem and would appreciate your thoughts.

From a practical standpoint, once outside would your sump pump have enough power to expel most of the water up into a barrel? While I'm sure some of the water could reach that high, I am concerned that I couldn't get all of the water up to the barrel and don't know what would happen to the water that remained in the piping between the sump pump and the barrel?

    Bookmark   May 6, 2008 at 11:42AM
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Great questions because I have the same problem and have also wondered if the pump had enough power to get the water up the side of a barrel or tub. My guess is that whatever was left in the hose when the sump pump stopped running would drain back down into the sump. My sump drains out to the backyard via flexible drain pipe, a distance of about 30 feet, flat and then slightly below grade.

What if I were to drill a hole the size of the drain pipe into the bottom side of a tub or barrel then caulk around the opening with something like silicone? That way, the water wouldn't be going uphill. Still, might that collected water then flow back into the basement sump somehow anyway? Right now, the water just flows out into the back yard where it doesn't really bother anything, just makes an oak tree happy. I'd like to make use of that water.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2008 at 7:53AM
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It probably will depending on how much vertical distance (head) you have from the pump and barrel. It is better to push water than pull it. I use a small impeller pump to push water 50' with about 10 feet of head into the top of a barrel On the issue of "flow back" you could use a check valve to prevent backflow.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2008 at 9:26PM
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bunkers(z5 CO)

How do you get the water out of the barrel and make sure its reasonable clean? I'm assuming it might be fine for an open hose, but not clean enough for sprinkler use unless you filtered it a lot and then ran an expensive pump to create the pressure. Even then I'd go through a rain barrel full of water in 10 minutes flat.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2008 at 1:14AM
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Yes you can do that. It's just ground water and there shouldn't be anything wrong with that. Your pump shouldn't have any problems pumping it up another 5 feet or so. Just make sure you guys have check valves comming off the pump in the house (about 2 feet above the floor and the flow arrow facing out of the house). My only suggestion would be to have a second pipe comming out of your barrel so any extra water after it's filled and also air can flow out of the barrel. Then connect that pipe to where ever you want the extra water to go.

You might have to treat it somehow but I don't think that you would. It sounds like a great idea. If you get a lot of water you can pipe more then one barrel to each other. Kinda like series lighting.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2008 at 4:57PM
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What great information, fmart and fishboy. Thanks so much. I didn't realize it until now, but the hose coming out of my sump pump already had a check valve installed by the plumber who put it in in the beginning. Fmart, I like your idea of more than one barrel. Thanks again, both of you.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2008 at 8:45AM
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It really sounds like, to me at least, that your problem will be easier then you think. good luck with it and let us know how it went.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2008 at 12:55PM
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Our 20-year old sump pump has no problem pumping the water another five feet into a rain barrel. We have a raised ranch, so we are only pumping the water out about six feet to begin with. The sump pump water doesn't seem to get stagnant and I believe is much cleaner than roof water. The connection to the rain barrel is only temporary and once the barrel fills, I direct the sump water back to the lawn.

Here is a link that might be useful: Running Sump Pump Into Rain Barrel

    Bookmark   July 26, 2008 at 11:17PM
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I have been trying to figure out the same problem. My sump runs for quite awhile after a good rain and probably a few times a day during the dry periods. My thought was to connect 3 barrels together and bury them along the foundation right below the sump line. I already have an underground drain that takes water to the back of the yard. I major concern is using the proper connections to hook the barrels together.I feel I need to use at least 2 inch connectors so water travels easily thru each barrel. When I decide to use the water I can toss a little pump in the first barrel and hook up a garden hose. I think this setup will allow me to water the garden for the whole season.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2010 at 11:41PM
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I routed our sump pump outputs to our rain barrels and so far the system has worked well over the last two summers. It really extends the watering capacity of the rain barrels. The soil is mostly clay around our house and does not drain well so the sump pumps will run for days after a storm, keeping the barrels topped off.

In my opinion the sump pump water is cleaner than the roof run off when you consider the roof water is open to bird droppings and the sump pump water is at least filtered through the soil.

Anyway if your interested in what my system looks like I put together a web page on about it (see attached link on dual feed rain barrels).

Here is a link that might be useful: dual feed rainbarrel system (roof water and sump pump)

    Bookmark   August 23, 2010 at 9:30PM
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What specs would a pump need to drip irrigate a 10 x 20 hillside community garden plot from a storage barrel on the plot? What lift/head, etc do I need to look for in a pump? I will power it with batteries, and use a timer to cycle it off and on. It need not move much water��"as little as 1 to 2 gallons per minute would be o.k.

Worst dry and hot conditions scenario, the maximum amount or water that the pump would need to move would be perhaps 26 to 40 gallons of water per day. This is a guess, of course.

The barrel must be placed no closer than 2 feet from the top of the plot, or from any of the boarders around the plot, and it cannot exceed five feet. This rules out gravity drip, which needs to be elevated 3 feet (according to a Chapin Living Waters person that I contacted), which would cause the barrel and pedestal to exceed the community garden's height limitations.)

We're in a drought, the climate is dry and the soil is sandy, and I want to save water.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2014 at 6:20PM
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