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Some Help ...

Posted by Jay J on March 3rd, 1999 11:19 AM
In reply to Can anyone help me figure out my lot drainage problem? by Linda on March 3rd, 1999 10:18 AM [Go to top of thread]

As you already started to do (but may need to do more of), by looking at lots similiar to yours is good. Especially ones that are the same 'height', same age, same 'terrain', and same surrounding terrain. Then, what you need to do is determine the source of the water. Is it in fact due to a high water table, thus, preventing water from being quickly reabsorbed? Is it runoff from neighboring lots? Is it due to heavy rains only? Are the 'dips and valleys' on the lot working against you? Lots of questions lead to more questions, unfortunately.

If you had a high water table, more than likely, the builder wouldn't have been able to build unless he took mitigating measures to remove the water. I'm a little confused as to who has what for lots, PVC monitoring stations, and how old so I'm kinda ignoring that and leaving it up to you to see how 'everyone else' fits into or affects your situation. Anyway, in general, a homeowner can't alter his lot so that it channels 'new' water onto yours. This is called Altering The Flow. Unless there's natural terrain or terrain altered by the builder (having been cleared by the building permits), no one is really allowed to channel their water onto your lot to alleviate a water problem. Hence, one is to either live with the excess water or rid it other than by channeling it onto someone else's lot.

Assuming there isn't a high water table and that the water is NOT coming off your neighbors' lots, the water may be collecting due to heavy rain and clay soil. Unless you're living in pine barrens or the like, more than likely, your water is naturally clay-ey. You could consider digging a french drain to allow the water to collect but this will only allow a place for water to collect; not necessarily speed up its absorbtion in the soil! But it is an option. If you do this, line the drain with filter fabric (or the like) and use the right gravel. Essentially, you wrap the gravel in the filter fabric (top and all), and cover the last 4-6" with soil/sod/grass. Now, what's the best solution, sight unseen?

If you are able to 'collect' the water and get it to the street, storm drains will take the water away from there. You need a french drain to collec the water, and when it rises to the height of the black pipe, needs to have a downhill run to the street. 1/4" per foot minimum is OK. As long as there's sufficient downhill to the street, you don't have to be too worried about water in the pipe freezing. (This would be a problem is part of the 'run' of the pipe is level where it will freeze when the 'run' should have downslope to it the whole way.) As long as the water is clear when it hits the street, you should be able to put it there. That's why it's important to make sure the gravel in the french drain is wrapped in some type of filtering fabric. (Cut a hole in the fabrick the size of the pipe, and wrap the pipe some more, where the drain pipe meets the french drain. The key is to do enough wrapping so that dirt stays out of your french drain and the pipe.) Home Centers have the flexible black pipe you need, and clean-outs. Put in clean-outs right at the french drain, and wherever the flexible pipe makes more than a 30 degree turn. This way, if dirt gets in it, you have access to find out where the blockage is.

I have not certainly addressed your entire post but it's enough to get started. Here, where I live in SE Pennsylvania, I learned from the ice and rain storms of '94 that my lot was more out-of-wack than I thought. I ended up digging a french drain on the side of my home and black-piping the water underground to the street in front of my house, a distance of about 70'. When you face my home, there's a home 'above' us to the left, and 'below' us to the right. Our homes are tiered in my neighborhood because we're on a hill. The homeowners before us had to petition the township to come in and 'install' swales to channel water to newly-installed yard drains as the result of enormous quanties of rain water coming from the apartments behind us. There was so much blacktop and concrete back there that the yard was literally a stream during mild rain storms! W/O those swales and yard drains, the water was running up against the block foundation of the family room and ending up inside there. With these measure all in place, my lot is a much happier place to be. And FWIW, my 'downhill' neighbor gets flow from me and my uphill neighbor but it's collected in a yard drain and channeled to the street. HIS drain was part of original construction. When all our homes were built, the apartments behind me weren't there. It was AFTER they were built that water problems began for the previous neighbors.

WHEW! I've said plenty! I hope others can advise you. Perhaps your county or township or city offices can help. You may want to have them inspect your lot. It would help to take before and after pictures. LOTS of them from LOTS of angles. Video is good too. My best to ya and hope this helps.

Jay J

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