How to Design a Sump Pump Basin

Updated February 21, 2017

A sump pump system is used to remove unwanted water from a variety of areas. The design and configuration of the sump pump basin, also known as the sump pit, will depend on the type of water-entry problem you are experiencing. Some basins will be designed to catch groundwater, while others will only gather surface water. Each situation must be evaluated to determine what type of basin is needed.

Determine the type of sump basin you will need for your situation. If you are attempting to counteract water seepage coming up from below the residence, a pre-manufactured basin may be your best option. These basins have pre-drilled filtered holes that will allow groundwater to enter the sump basin and be pumped out. In this application, the object is to collect the water before it reaches the surface. Such a sump basin will be extremely difficult to make yourself. The holes must be properly prepared to allow water into the basin but prevent dirt and debris from entering and clogging the pump.

Choose between concrete and plastic for the sump basin. In a basement with a concrete floor, concrete sump basins are the most common type. A section of the floor will need to be removed and a hole excavated to build the basin. This can be done with a special saw or an electric jack hammer to break up the concrete. Once the debris is removed you will build a wooden frame to contain the new concrete. The concrete walls and base need to be approximately 3 inches thick. If you feel more strength is required, rebar or a wire mesh can be added to the lining. The sump basin needs to be designed to accommodate a covering of some type. A metal grate will help prevent anyone from stepping in the pit but allow surface water to flow in.

Size the sump basin to fit your needs and more importantly to the size pump you intend to install.The average basin will be between 18 and 24 inches across. On average, a sump basin will be between 24 and 30 inches in depth. Most concrete sump basins are square or rectangular, while the majority of pre-manufactured basins are circular. The shape of the basin is of little importance as long as the pump fits easily into the base with a minimum of 2 inches of clearance on each side.


If you intend to add a battery-back-up pump you may want to consider making the basin slightly larger.


When planning the location of the basin do not place it near any underground utility lines or sewer drains.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • Pad and pencil
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Tom Raley is a freelance writer living in central Arkansas. He has been writing for more than 20 years and his short stories and articles have appeared in more than 25 different publications including P.I. Magazine, Pulsar and Writer's Digest.