Sump Pump & Discharge Line Code Requirements

Discussion in 'Canadian Plumbing Code Questions' started by Jimbo12, Mar 29, 2011.

  1. Jimbo12

    Jimbo12 DIY'er

    Mar 27, 2011
    Ontario, Canada
    Can someone tell me what the Canadian code requirements are for sump pumps and their discharge lines (I can't really afford to spend ~$150 on a copy of the National Plumbing Code of Canada).

    I'm not a plumber but based upon my experiences and others in this forum, I am wondering if the code is adequate to protect homeowners from flood and property damage as I believe is its intent. Specifically;

    1. Reliability of pump operation
    Given the risk of flooding and property damage if the pump fails I think most people would agree that it should be required to meet high reliability standards, not unlike a circuit breaker. Unfortunately many pumps only last a few years and according to one of the leading manufacturers of submersible sump pumps, their pumps on average fail to operate correctly after a mere 4-7 years (see my post here on reliability -

    If a circuit breaker failed to protect your home from disaster because it was 4-7 years old, or less, I think most people would find this completely unacceptable.

    I would expect the code to require installed sump pumps to have a 15 year or greater average lifespan/mean time between failure. Pedestal sump pumps are relatively cheap and good ones appear to meet this requirement easily.

    2. Reliability of the discharge line
    A discharge line can become blocked due to small critters crawling into it and nesting, flooding/ice at the discharge point, and freeze if the only option is to install it above the frost line and it fails to fully empty (due to bellies forming from frost heaving or a slow drain due to lack of vent).

    I would expect the code to address each of these common problems (I've experienced 2 of them personally). For example, require a critter guard at the discharge point, or a steep pitch to prevent bellies forming from heaving, or a vent/air admittance valve. These are low cost items.

    Given the risk of flooding and property damage if this line becomes blocked, I would also expect a failsafe be required like a discharge relief. Something like this ice guard seems to be a good idea and doesn't appear to be expensive -
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2011
  2. Wrenched

    Wrenched In the Trades

    Apr 20, 2011
    Vancouver, BC
    Hey Jimbo, you ask some interesting questions.

    To the best of my understanding, model codes intentionally avoid specific prescriptions.

    If it helps you at all, the Ontario building code can be found online:

    Section 7 is based upon the NPC 2005 (National Plumbing code of Canada 2005), although this should soon be superseded by the NPC 2010.

    Of specific interest to you may be section "Sumps or Tanks."

    This, to the best of my knowledge, is just about the extent of code governance of sump pumps as per the NPC.

    Though there is also:

    ( "Withstanding Pressure" states a forcemain must be able to withstand 1.5 times max possible pressure.)
    ( Venting of Sanitary Sewage Sumps - Every sump or tank that receives sanitary sewage shall be provided with a vent pipe )

    ...and maybe a couple others.

    Section 8 covers private sewer systems.


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