Be Nice and Clear the Ice

Published on February 15, 2019

Discharges from sump pumps and other drain pipes can cause icy conditions, particularly during the winter season. Help keep the sidewalks safe for emergency responders, kids walking to school and your neighbors.

Consider re-routing sump pump discharge. If a sump pump or other drainage pipe creates an icy hazard in the sidewalk or street, try to re-route the discharge to a location that does not create a hazard.

Try to clear the ice from the sidewalk or street.  If ice does form from sump pump or other natural drainage from your yard, try to clear away the ice.  You can spread some ice melt or sand (available at hardware stores) on the area, or try to remove the ice with a shovel.

The County's Drainage Policy provides the following guidelines:

  • Roof and surface drainage collected by a pipe should be discharged approximately 10 feet from the edge of the property, to allow spreading and infiltration of water.
  • Concentrated flows should not be discharged onto the sidewalk, street, curb or gutter.
  • Sump pumps must not discharge to the sidewalk, street, stormwater planters, pervious driveways or to the gutter. Sump pump discharge must not result in concentrated flow to off-site owner's property. Read more about the sump pump discharge policy.

In accordance with Arlington County Code, Chapter 17-6 — Obstructing or Littering Streets and Other Public Places — discharge from a sump pump must not create a safety hazard or nuisance in the public right of way.

Additionally, the County's snow removal ordinance requires all Arlington property owners to clear snow and ice from public sidewalks adjacent to their property within a designated time period.