House Below Level of Road = Water Worries


Old 01-12-08, 09:17 PM
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House Below Level of Road = Water Worries

I'm new to this, so I'm not sure if this is exactly the right place to post this question. A couple of years ago, we purchased an older two-story home. It was built in 1893, so part of the foundation (the original part) is stone. Our home has a crawl space. We are located in Indiana, which just recently received a lot of rain and had a LOT of flooding. Our home was definitely affected by this, and we have had problems with a flooded yard and crawl space at least three times in the two years we've lived here.

The recent flood we had had water completely filling our crawl space, and it also had most of our yard about 1 foot under water for a couple of days.

I've read a lot about landscaping / drainage and things of that nature, but few things ever seem to totally "fit" my situation. Hopefully someone here can help!

We have two big problems with our home. First, we live on approximately a 1/4 acre lot, and our home is basically at the lowest point in that lot. The highest point (in our backyard) is where the city sewer line runs, and I don't think there's any good way of getting that level down.

The second problem is the bigger one. We live on a state highway, and the highway is higher than our yard. (Obviously, the highway was built AFTER our house was built.) There is a storm sewer under the edge of the highway, with a drain in front of our property. That drain often gets backlogged with water. We've complained, and it's been vaccuumed out a couple of times since, but in our recent flood it got backlogged again. Even if that drain were working properly, there's no where else for the water to go except into ours and our neighbors' yards.

I've started building raised beds around our home to try to keep the water away from our foundation and crawl space, but I'm limited in what I can do with that. I have also acquired six 55-gallon barrels that I plan to either convert into rain barrels or dry wells. And I have purchased a used landscaping pond and a fair bit of 4" perforated drain pipe. (I'm not 100% sure how I'll used the drain pipe, but I got it VERY cheap.) I've had dirt and rocks brought in to try to raise the level of the yard, too. I'm far from having all that I PLAN to do to help alleviate the water problems we've had, but our recent flood has me thinking that my original plans aren't going to be good enough, even when I get all the work done.

HELP!!! Does anyone have any suggestions? Any helpful advice would certainly be appreciated. I don't want to do all this work, and then it be for naught.

And, if I put this question in the wrong forum, please direct me to the right one!

Thanks! -mmregsguy
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Old 01-13-08, 07:46 AM
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A consultation with a landscape engineer should be helpful. You have the option of doing the work yourself or hiring him to do so.

A French drain system can be installed in the landscape and water directed to drainage ditches or dry wells. French drains located at the bottom of embankments to collect and send water to ditches or dry wells can minimize the amount of water received in the landscape down embankments. It is recommended that lawn slope at least 1' every 50' in order to properly carry water away from foundation. Additional drainage around the foundation can be installed. Connect downspouts to drains and direct water to a dry well.

Do not direct water on to neighbors' properties. You can also try to discuss with the State Highway Dept. the runoff issues from the highway's embankment onto your property, explaining that the runoff is damaging your property. Call, send a letter, and document all contacts. They have apparently been lax in investigating and correcting runoff issues.

Some links for more info on French drain systems:
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