my house has a sump barrel in the basement with a pipe to the outside when in rains or I water the yard water will start coming in to a level just above the pipe. I have in the past used a sump pump to drain it. It has never flooded and the question I have do I need to remove the water or is it helping or hurting the foundation to have the water there. In the winter after I drain it it usually stays empty till spring.
You did not describe the type of foundation you have. A properly built poured concrete or concrete block foundation on properly prepared soil is not adversely affected by groundwater which is on both sides of the wall. If the foundation is acting as a retaining wall, and the groundwater level is higher on one side than the other (this is rare), then you can have unbalanced pressure which can be a serious problem.
Normally you only remove groundwater from the sump if the groundwater level is close to the basement floor level. This is not to protect the foundation, but rather to keep your basement dry. A typical float setting is to turn the pump on when the water level in the sump gets within 6 inches of the top of the basement floor.
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