Waterloo – Sump Pumps and Piping Systems


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As part of their Senior Design Capstone course, Civil & Environmental Engineering students recommended and designed systems for resolving sump pump discharge issues that have created problems in residential Waterloo neighborhoods.

The City of Waterloo recently transitioned away from a combined sewer system, but problems remain as individual sump pumps in residential homes discharge onto the street or surrounding properties. Sump pump discharge entering the sanitary sewer system has caused sewer overflows, basement backups, and ice & algae growth. The engineering team analyzed existing infrastructure and topography to determine appropriate courses of action to resolve these water issues.

The three-part solution includes installing drain tile, building rain gardens, and allowing individual homeowners to route their sump pump discharge into nearby waterways. To encourage residents to participate in the solutions, the team recommended that the city consider incentives for properties to disconnect their sump pumps from the sanitary sewer and connect to appropriate outlets. As many of the areas have a large percentage of houses with access to the existing infrastructure, many properties will be able to disconnect immediately without additional infrastructure built. The team also prioritized areas where the City can focus attention on constructing solutions in order to see the greatest impact of improvments.

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