Cranbury officials look to create new regulations for sump pump discharge

Scott Jacobs

Cranbury Township officials have set a final public hearing on a new ordinance to establish sump pump and mechanical discharge regulations.

The public hearing will be on Nov. 25 at the next township committee meeting.

The new regulations will provide enforcement and management of discharge and flow from sump pumps in town.

“This is one of those things that have been a housekeeping item for a number of years. We needed to do something,” Cranbury Mayor James Taylor said. “In theory, this should reduce people’s sewer bills and improve roadway issues that we have with sump pumps discharging into the streets.”

He said officials have heard from residents about neighbors in town discharging water from their sump pumps into the street.

“This can create ice issues and other hazards. We have had other issues where we have seen an increase in sewer flow,” Taylor said. “We really have looked at ways to drive down the cost for residents and this is one of those ways.”

The regulations would not allow sump pump discharges or mechanical discharge of any stormwater directly onto any township street or sidewalk, into the sanitary sewer, or directly into any public drywell, according to officials.

However, stormwater can be discharged into an established watercourse, which is constructed land that serves as a runoff for surface waters; a natural drainage course, only if an established watercourse is not available; or a yard that is capable of absorbing the discharge without creating water pools; and a drywell or gravel infiltration trench located on the property owner’s property.

“The challenge is that there are some places where people have sump pumps that are discharging directly into sewage and there are some places that water discharge onto the street is eroding township roads,” Committeeman Mike Ferrante said. “That is the emphasis behind these new regulations.”

He said one of the goals of sump pumps is to try and return the discharge to permeable (filter) surfaces.

“Part of this is an environmental issue and a good practice. We just do not want the premature decay of roads in town,” Ferrante said. “The goal of this clear language in the ordinance is to prevent unintended consequences of a new regulation.”

He said he wanted to make certain with the new regulations that sump pumps were discharged into permeable surfaces and would have the chance to recharge ground water.