Ground Water Issues

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    • #279102
      Avatar photoBlindca


        I have several concerns about the ground water around our house particularly after a heavy downpour if anyone would care to reply.

        Our house was built in 1999. For drainage we have the typical drain tile assembly around the perimeter of the base foundation and a sump pump.

        Our property has proper grading. But there is a significant amount of clay soil on the property which is very difficult to work with.

        Our first indication of a problem was within the first year after a heavy downpour. We have two window wells in the basement one of which flooded and overflowed the sill of the window and significantly dampened one side of the floor beneath that window. On another occasion the second window well did the same thing. We have since had the builder come out and try to resolve the problem by reworking the drain tiles at the pit of the window wells – they were coated with hard silt. But there is still a tendency for water to accumulate in the wells during a rain but to not nearly the degree as before.

        This is what I have observed: there is a gap around the drain tubing where it enters thru the concrete wall of the window well. When there is a heavy rain, water and silt enter thru this gap and creates a pool at the bottom of the well. My sump pump has to run continuously to keep the well from filling. Afterwards, I have to shovel out the silt and clean off the fabric-covered tiles.

        Our house has gutters, downspouts and splash guards installed. But we seem to have trouble channeling the water away from the side of the house where both window wells are located. As an example: during a downpour, water exiting the downspout will erode the soil directly at the foot of the splash guard creating, over a period of time, a hole in the ground. We then fill the hole with dirt and try directing water further away from the house using downspout extensions that extend across our yard but this is unsightly and a hassle when mowing the yard. If we remove the extensions, the problem reoccurs. I suspect that the holes from the erosion are creating a path down to the perimeter of our foundation allowing rainwater to run from the surface down to the foundation and thru the openings around the drain tiles. When I look around at other homes in our area I don’t understand how they can get away with only using the splashguards.

        This is our third year dealing with this problem and I have yet to figure out a way to resolve it. I have given up on the builders as the last time they came out to work on this there solution was to connect all the downspouts on the problem side with 3″ perforated drain tile. Over a short period of time, of course, a “trench” had developed in the ground directly beneath the drain tile the entire length and water was being channeled down to the foundation again.

        I have heard of french drains and am wondering if this might offer a solution. I’ve considered altering this idea by digging a trench starting at each downspout and extending out to the swale. I would then line it with gravel in the same manner as a french drain but use solid train tile connected directly to the spout.

        Am I on the right track with this idea? Can anyone please offer a solution?

        Thank you,

      • #300048
        Avatar photoJohn Aldrich1

          This is a Test. I just lost 15 minutes of typing time, spent typing a reply to this inquiry when the Bulletin Board did not accept my post, and deleted my response.#@!?/&%!!!


        • #300049
          Avatar photomajorwest

            Oh boy. That’s happened to me, too – quite frustrating. That usually happens because the page you were on timed out. I’ve found that the best safeguard against that happening is just before you submit your reply, highlight your entire response that you typed, then right-click and copy. That saves it into your computers memory so that if the board times out and you lose everything you just typed, you can quickly start over simply by doing a right-click and paste.

            I look forward to hearing your response. You may reply to me at [email protected] if you wish.

          • #300050
            Avatar photoRobert Stephen Morton

              TEST??? I hate tests! Whens it got to be in by?

            • #300051
              Avatar photomajorwest

                Should I repost this again?
                It seems someone possibly had some advice for me but was unable to post because of some glitch. I haven’t heard anything from him since, but I’m still in dire need of advice.

                Robert Stephen Morton, could you perhaps offer more useful advice?


              • #300052
                Avatar photoJohn Aldrich1

                  Lee, I will try again to respond to your inquiry. I am composing my response in a Word file, and will paste it to the response page of the Bulletin Board.

                  I think that you are on the “right track” with your idea. By the way, your description of the problem is excellent. It seems to me that you must direct the storm water from the downspouts away (as far away as possible) from the foundation of your house. I recommend that you design a storm water collection system consisting of the appropriate size of PVC, SDR-35 pipe, and Sewer and Drain fittings. The required pipe size is determined by the volume of water to be transported from the maximum storm event for your area. I recently installed a storm water drainage system at my home in Timnath, Colorado where our maximum storm event will produce about 3 inches of rain over a period of several hours. The annual precipitation for this area is about 16 inches. I used 4-inch PVC, SDR-35 pipe in the collection system, and used Advanced Drainage Systems, Inc. (ADS) “Bio-Diffuser” Chambers as the dispersal system. Your building contractor suggested 3-inch perforated pipe to solve the problem. I think that he does not understand the problem. His suggested solution also indicates to me that his expertise is in a field other than the design of storm water drainage systems.

                  Determine the collection area of the roof, and then calculate the volume of water the maximum storm event will generate. Obviously, the climate of the area in which you live will have an impact on the volume of water with which you must deal. I mean, do you live in Phoenix, Arizona, Portland, Oregon, or Wagga Wagga, New South Wales?

                  Install a pipeline to transport the collected stormwater to the area that you refer to as “the swale.” A “French Drain” is the appropriate technology for dispersal of the stormwater into the soil. But the State-of-the-Art materials that are available to us today would make the French engineers, who developed agricultural French Drains, indeed envious. I am referring to plastic drainage products such as the “Xpandable Chamber from Eljen.” This really neat “French Drain” product is so new that its description is not on Eljen’s website as yet. I would have used this product for my storm water system had it been in existence at the time.

                  If you contact the Eljen folks, they will provide you with the information, and will be able to direct you to their local distributor. They may even give you some advice regarding your proposed storm water dispersal system design. I wonder if there is an Eljen Distributor in Wagga Wagga?

                  Check out their website.

                  Eljen also makes a “Gravelless” perimeter drain. The use of this product may solve the siltation problem occurring in the window wells, which you described.

                  Well Lee, good luck with your project, and if you need further direction to proceed, post a response on the Bulletin Board.

                  John Aldrich (Septic Tank Yank)
                  Septic System Consultant
                  Advanced Professional Engineering, Inc.
                  Fort Collins, Colorado
                  [email protected]

                • #300053
                  Avatar photomajorwest

                    Thank you for a very informative and thorough reply! I am putting to use several of your suggestions. I have also spoke with Eljen and they are sending me an info packet on their products since there are no distributors here in Wichita Kansas. The products on their website appear complex compared to my situation but it will be nice to look over their info. I think I am going to go with a modification of the french drain using a combination of perforated and non-perforated corregated drain tile. The french drain will run parallel the entire length of the house about 5 1/2 feet away. Then lay a solid sheet of 6×25 6mil black plastic from the edge of the house extending to and overlaping into the french drain then cover the plastic with sod. Then connect the french drain to the swale which also runs parallel to the house about 25 feet away with two (or three) separate branches of drain tile also set in a french drain. This will require that I modify my swale by trenching and laying down drain tile in it as well. Anyway, that’s my plan so far. Hmm, hope it works!

                    Thanks again for your help.

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