How to Create a Sump for Drainage

The first step in creating a sump pump is to dig a hole.
The first step in creating a sump pump is to dig a hole. (Image: méthode de construction de Latrine image by Ahmat Saleh from

There are two types of sumps used for drainage. One is used to collect underground water such as rain water, while the other is used to drain sewage. However, both are similar in construction and can be built from scratch using simple tools and materials.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Pit with 1/4-inch holes
  • Solid Pit
  • Gravel
  • Drill
  • Pump or two alternate pumps

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Sump for Underground Water Drainage

Dig a hole if the sump will be used to collect underground water such as rain water.

Estimate the width of the hole to fit gravel at the bottom and the sides once the pit or bucket has been installed into the hole.

Spread gravel at the bottom of the hole.

Insert pit or bucket. Make sure the pit has tiny holes all over it that are less than a quarter inch or make several tiny holes all over the bottom and sides of the pit.

Fill the side gaps with more gravel.

Discharge the water with a pump.

Sump for Sewer Water Drainage

Use a solid pit with no holes if the sump is to be used for sewer drainage.

Size the pit according to plumbing codes. More bathrooms increases the size of the pit.

Drill a hole on the side of the pit to coordinate with the pitch of the pipeline coming from the bathroom to drain the sewage into the pit.

Insert the pit into the ground.

Use one pump or two alternate pumps to discharge the sewage up to the sewer line.

Tips & Warnings

  • Gravel is used to keep sand out and allows water to drain faster by traveling through the gravel instead of straight into the ground, which later creates mud.


  • Ioannis Panagiotou; Plumber; New Jersey
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