AKWESASNE — No person cares for an individual’s property more than the homeowners can. As a result, homeowners are the single most important person to prevent their home from being flooded. Ensuring that a home has a well-maintained sump pump can also alleviate the burden of pumping out basements off first responders, so they can focus on saving lives.

To help residents located in the flood watch area along the St. Regis River, the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe’s Emergency Planning Office and Mohawk Council of Akwesasne’s Emergency Measures Office is providing the following tips on maintaining and troubleshooting sump pumps.

Please be proactive by ensuring your sump pump is properly operating!

  • Eliminate Sump Pump Clogs
  • Make sure the sump pump is sitting on a pedestal and not directly on the bottom of the sump pit.
  • Keep your sump pump in a sump container with a tight lid. This will not only prevent clogs but makes your basement safer for children and pets.
  • Check the Floating Switch
  • Check the floating switch, which is responsible for the on/off cycles of the pump, is free and clear. In cheaper models, it can get tangled or the pump’s vibrations can knock it against a side wall.
  • Make Sure the Discharge Line is Free and Clear
  • To make sure water can be pumped out of the basement, keep the discharge line clear with grates at the end of the pipe. That will keep small animals out as well. Add an attachment at the point where the pipe exits the basement to keep water flowing out and away.
  • Examine the Check Valve
  • This valve prevents water from backflowing into the basement. When backflow happens, your pump will run non-stop and can eventually burn out. Replace if broken.
  • Ensure the Power Supply
  • A sump pump needs power to do its job. When a storm or flood brings a power outage, what’s your plan? Some options: install a water alarm or battery-powered backup. By checking your pump regularly, you can make sure it hasn’t been accidentally unplugged (and not plugged back in) or that the circuit breakers haven’t been tripped.
  • Make Sure Your Sump Pump is Big Enough
  • Your sump pit should be big enough to handle the maximum amount of water your basement could experience. A sump pump that is too small for the volume of water will cause the pump to run beyond its capacity and could burn out.
  • Have a Backup Sump Pump

If you notice that your sump pump is nearing its end, now is time to purchase a new one. If you can afford to do, please think about purchasing a backup sump pump in the event one fails. An ounce of prevention goes a long way to preventing a flood.


If you require assistance, please contact the Saint. Regis Mohawk Tribal Police at (518) 358-9200 or the Akwesasne Mohawk Police Service at (613) 575-2340 (for non-emergent calls).