LESLIE: Talking to Paula in Illinois. What can we do for you?
PAULA: Hi. I was wondering about a garden that would absorb or – you know, the sump pump in my yard really gets saturated; the yard area.
PAULA: The ground.
PAULA: So is a garden a good way to, you know, absorb some of that water?
TOM: Well, does the sump pump run more after a heavy rain?
PAULA: It does.
TOM: OK. So a couple of things here. First of all, let’s talk about how to reduce the amount of water that the pump has to pump out. Secondly, let’s talk about what we can do with that discharge.
TOM: The answer to the first question is if your sump pump is working overtime you probably have a drainage problem somewhere at the foundation perimeter.
LESLIE: Especially after a drain.
TOM: Yeah, exactly. So your soil is probably a bit too flat and needs to be regraded to slope away from the walls more.
PAULA: I’m going to do all that. That is something I’ll do in the spring.
PAULA: But it’s more than that. It runs, you know, all year round. So it has to do with underneath my foundation.
TOM: Hmm. Yeah, but you told me that it’s worse after rain.
PAULA: Yes, it runs – oh, I would say worse – well, please, during the rain – you know, the one in August?
PAULA: That thing could not keep up. It was unbelievable.
TOM: I’ll bet. Right. So, a couple of things we want you to do. We want you to improve the grading and the drainage. Do the soil. Clean the gutters out. Extend the downspouts out away from the foundation perimeter. Now, on the extension, if your house – is your house positioned in such a way where you could possibly install some underground drains off of those gutters and then take that water, perhaps, to the street or some other place on the property where it could drain with gravity?
PAULA: There’s one possibility.
TOM: Because if you could do that, that would be the hot ticket because you could also take the sump pump discharge and drop it into the same line. There is a fitting that takes a four-inch drain pipe off of the gutter system and it converts it to a four-inch round PVC connection and then you could use solid PVC pipe and actually solidly pipe this underground and then discharge it somewhere off or towards the edge of the property. And I would physically plumb the sump pump discharge right into that. Be careful that you have at least a quarter-inch per foot pitch, which is not very much …
PAULA: Correct. Mm-hmm.
TOM: … but that will take the water out and that will stop that ponding in that corner. Because probably what’s happening, if that water’s dumping out right there, it’s a vicious cycle. It just goes right back through the soil …
TOM: … in through the foundation and back into the sump again.
PAULA: That’s very possible. Because for four years this thing ran continuously. I mean it was just – it drives me crazy.
TOM: It was the same water. It just kept rerunning. (everyone chuckles) Paula, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
PAULA: Thank you.