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Grading & Drainage

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Apr 07, 2013, 04:55 PM
dwmattocks
Grading & Drainage
Five years ago my family and I bought a new home. The builder did a very poor job of grading the yard which over time has created major water problems. To compound this, he came and put in a "French Drain". Well, not really. This drain is made from NON corrugated pipe, 8". He tied in the down spouts and put "Deck Drains" in the yard that are supposed to divert the standing water into this pipe.
He is no longer licensed and does not do business in this area. However I have been fighting a losing battle with this water since 2007. I get water from the house above me, and my front yard is lower than the street. When it rains we have a pond in the front yard that eventually runs the water across my driveway. I have asked for estimates from a number of contractors and they have varied from $2000, to $4000 and up to $15,000. I don't know who to believe, and really don't have any idea how to undo the problems that this has caused. I need some advice. How do I correct this?


Dave M
Apr 08, 2013, 05:28 PM
GardenSprite
Sorry to hear of the ongoing problems with drainage. Sounds like a really frustrating situation.

I'm wondering if your state has any kind of fund to which builders must contribute to compensate victims for builder errors.

Also, besides water in the driveway and yard, is there any damage to the house which might be covered under your homeowners' policy?

Is your home the only one in the subdivision with this problem?

Was the builder also the developer, i.e., of the subdivision? If so, have you done a litigation check with your local county clerk to determine if there are any individual or class action lawsuits against the builder and/or the owner individually? Even if the builder's corporate entity is defunct, the builder may have assets individually which aren't beyond legal reach.

The technical issues are way beyond me; just thought maybe there's some legal relief for you.


My sister had a house in a similar situation. All the houses on one side of the street were on what I suspect was a drumlin. There were deep ditches in the front and in back. Houses in the back were the recipients of water which collected in the ditch (which was so squishy that it was impossible to walk in that area without sinking into the mud). The neighbors at the base of the backyard ditch placed a lot (as in tons) of rocks in that area. I don't know whether it helped or not.

Some of the neighbors in front had drainage pipes emptying in the ditch. I don't know what they were connected to; I just saw open pipes about 12" in diameter on the front ditches.

Hope you get some advice that helps you; this situation must be exasperating.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: GardenSprite,
Apr 16, 2013, 10:14 PM
lesliemorris85
Great points there raised by Garden Sprite. As far as a DIY fix for your problem, I don’t have that much experience in yard work but I think what you need to do first is check the drainage that runs from your house for any blockage.
Apr 17, 2013, 06:07 PM
swschrad
have the city inspector's office out to search the natural grading. if the developer hosed up, they can be made to fix it. if they are still around.

otherwise, pump out to the street, you can't put that water load in the sanitary sewer any more.

if you have a heavy soil, like high clay content, a French drain (deep hole full of rocks) isn't going to do a bit of good. you have to pump the water.

as for drainage... all surface water (roof, etc) has to fall away from the house at a quarter inch depth per running foot or better, and ideally downspouts and land run take that beyond the depth of the basement. few do. so a backup footing drain, sump, and outlet pipe have to do the rest.

in buying a house, you have to look for that. listing agents have got codicils in quite a few states that protect them against disclosing where the house sits in relation to mean elevation and water run. there are topographic maps all over heck and gone you must use, and flood stage info at the weather service and city hall, to make sure you aren't part of the river every third year.

this is the buyer's responsibility. Dad did it in 1954 and 1957, being smarter than your average bear (tm others.) we did it 8 years ago. everybody should, and then the blinkin' weasels who put McMansions in unfarmable swamp will be stopped from their evil ways.

/soapbox


sig: if this is a new economy, how come they still want my old-fashioned money?
Apr 20, 2013, 09:46 AM
TriciaT
I am writing to see if you have found a solution because I have the EXACT same problem. My only additional "hiccup" is the low point of my problem area is under the driveway. We have placed a drain on one side of the driveway, but cannot figure out how to channel the swimming pool of water past the driveway. Oh, the lot next to ours is a flood plain.....suggestions?!? I'm out of ideas!
Apr 21, 2013, 02:42 PM
GardenSprite
Swschrad, not to challenge you as your advice is always good (and sometimes quite funny Smile, but a codicil is an addendum to a will. Were you thinking of some kind of disclosure protection for realtors?

I'm curious because eventually, in the next 5 years, I hope to sell my house and I keep lists of considerations to address when that happens.


Tricia, I don't have a clue how to help, but I wondered about the flood plain issue. Is your lot in the flood plain as well? If so, do you know what classification the plain is? I.e., 100 year flood, 500 year flood?

See http://www.floodmaps.com/zones.htm for flood plain classifications.

Did you have to purchase flood insurance when you bought your house?

Here's a link to some information on flood plains in Georgia: http://map.georgiadfirm.com/

http://www.gafloods.org/

I don't know if this will help but it might be worth reading. Perhaps contacting the Georgia Assn. of Flood Plain Management might be worthwile; they may have literature or someone who can offer advice.

I think since you are next to (or perhaps in) a flood plain that your situation is a bit different than DWMattocks'.

I think Swschrad's suggestion would also help. Contact your local community to see what advice they can offer.

Hope you find something helpful.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: GardenSprite,