June 11, 2007

Sump Pumps Causing Problems on Streets and Sidewalks

I received a question regarding sump pump discharge hoses draining into the streets, storm drains, and sidewalks.  Here’s an excerpt of the message,    " This issue was reviewed during the neighborhood walk around last year.  I don’t know that anything was resolved, but as I recall, CDPC representatives agreed that it may need to be addressed.  The standing water in the alley causes slimy slick spots that are dangerous.  Last year, [name removed] slipped in the slime on her bike and fell down.  Yesterday, I slipped in the slime and fell down.  I strongly believe that something needs to be done about the drainage."  

Our neighborhood lies in a area with a relatively high water table and clay-laden soil. There are many homes in Victor Gardens whose sump pumps run frequently. Quickly responding to this neighbor’s concerns, Shelly Tompkins of CPDC, has suggested a few options, including rain gardens for homeowners with sump pump issues:

I was relieved to meet one of the alley homeowners by happenstance last Friday and we discussed the sump pump circumstances. 


Here's the overall info and resolution:  To date, the City has not allowed sump pump hose directed to the storm water sewer.  There are many cities that will not allow it at all.  I understand why people don't want the sump pump delivering the water to the lawn.  Lawn root systems are very short, it stays very wet surrounding the hose area and it is uncomfortable to mow or to play on.  I think that it is a concern throughout the neighborhood and not exclusive to the alley homesites.  Three individual sump pump hoses are causing the slippery problems on the alley.  The resolution to the slippery alley problem is for the three individuals pumping on the alley surface to keep it on the lot surface instead.  Also, those throughout Victor Gardens that do not like the wet surface on the lawn can use the following resolution as well. 


Any resident can resolve the sump pump concern by installing a Rain Garden at the end of the sump pump hose no closer than 10' from the foundation of the home.  I have attached a design sheet provided by Applied Ecological Services. It shows how easy it is to individually resolve these sump pump concerns.  The proper use of native plants in a Rain Garden will immediately absorb water faster through the depth of plant roots.  The perennial plants are very low maintenance and the surface surrounding the plants can be wood chips or rocks.  Most people want to avoid weeding.  Topping the ground surface around the plants and under the chips or rocks can not be plastic, but can be a product that can stop weeds, while still allowing water to seep through.  Depending on distance from one home to another, neighbors could share the Rain Garden sump pump use and expense by positioning it between two homes on the lot line.  Half the investment of time and money, twice the use!


I researched the two garden centers closest to Victor Gardens, but they do not have native plants and one didn't even know what a Rain Garden was.  Below are three local garden center resources for native plants.  I have worked for several years with Applied Ecological and they are a great resource and I have been to Outback Nurseries and it's a fun native-shopping experience. 


Landscape Alternatives

25316 St. Croix Trail

just south of Osceola on Highway 95



Applied Ecological Services/Spring Lake Nurseries

21938 Mushtown Road

Prior Lake, MN



Outback Nurseries

15280 110th St.

Hastings, MN



More research on how to install a Rain Garden are:




I hope all this information will help each homeowner resolve their sump pump concerns.  I think that there is a great Rain Garden example at the Hugo City Hall if anyone wants to see one first hand.  Please share this information with all the VG residents.  I plan to share it with every future resident through a recommendation in our Landscape Policy.  I am also going to forward it to Ryland Homes as a recommendation to avoid the potential for any future homeowner warranty concerns.


Shel “