Gutter / storm water drain - how to install or repair?

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Old 12-01-09, 04:32 PM
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Gutter / storm water drain - how to install or repair?

Hi all -
I like to think I have a good understanding of most systems in a house, but one place I have very limited knowledge is with drain systems. I have a house that has gutter drains at four corners of the house, and 3 out of 4 are clogged. I created the problem myself, I cleaned out the gutters which were in bad shape and let most of it drain into the drains. Duh, I know. So I have tried to unclog with a garden hose, and a wimpy snake I bought at wal mart for 5 bucks, and neither of those worked. I am convinced that they are plugged beyond repair, but I don't know what is under there.
My house is on septic, no sewer here. Where the gutter downspouts drain is directly into 4" plastic 'ribbed' flexible pipe that runs directly under the ground, then 'turns' off (4" under the ground or so) and slopes away toward the yard. They don't seem to run toward the septic tank, at least I know where that is. Would the storm drain be fed into the septic tank? (or am I letting my ignorance show?)
I don't know how to proceed, because I don't know what is under there at all. Is there an actual drain field or is it just perforated flex pipe run out there? Should I get a better snake and try and snake it? Hire a pro drain unplugger person?
My idea was to just put in new drains. How hard would that be? What's involved? Would this be the super hard way to fix it? I hate not knowing what the heck is going on, but with this I am at a loss, please, any and all input would be GREAT.
Thanks in advance.
Scott
 
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Old 12-01-09, 05:06 PM
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You never, ever want the roof drains to go to the septic tank. In my opinion it is even a bad idea to have the roof (and foundation) drains go to the septic drainfield. Ideally the roof and foundation drains should run to daylight, meaning that the end of the drain piping should be low enough to promote good flow and yet be open to the air.

Sometimes it is not workable to drain to daylight and then you need to have either a drainfield similar to a septic tank or what is called a dry well. A dry well in its simplest form is a large hole filled with rock. The water from the drains empties to the rock-filled hole and slowly seeps into the surrounding earth.
 
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Old 12-01-09, 06:20 PM
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Great! Thanks for the prompt reply. I don't think the current setup has the water draining to the septic.
So I can attempt to clear what I have, but if not, then you suggest running it over my driveway or something like that? Will this be ok when the house is inspected for a sale if I use those sloping drain stones and as long as it's far enough away from the house? I would just hate to have that extra bulk out in the driveway. The other option is to dig a dry well out in the yard and run solid pipe to it? Sounds like I am going to try and use a big snake or something to clear what I have.
Any suggestions/tips on making a dry well and on snaking out/clearing my type of clog? I have always had great luck and never had to deal with stubborn drains and all mine always drained to sewer prior to this house.
Scott
 
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Old 12-01-09, 06:51 PM
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You cannot channel the water to an area where it will cause damage to someone else's property. Channeling it to the driveway may be okay as long as it drains to an area where it won't cause damage.

Where in Washington are you? You might be able to get quite a bit of information from the county website. I'm pretty sure that Snohomish County has information on this subject.
 
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Old 12-01-09, 07:31 PM
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Depending on how old the drain pipes are, you may be able to get a plumbing company to come out and snake the drains with one of their industrial snakes. I'd probably try that before replacing the pipes or rerouting the drains. Whatever you do you want to be sure that the runoff is well away from your house so you don't get water in your basement.
 
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Old 12-03-09, 10:23 AM
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If it's black corrugated pipe then most likely the pipe is plugged and it's very likely the pipe is at least partially smashed/collapsed and therefore snaking will be tough. Every plumber I have ever talked to told me snaking a 4" corrugated black plastic pipe is hard to do if it's straight and still in perfect round shape because the pipe isn't smooth inside and it perpetually hangs the snake. If it is smashed then a snake may not work.
 
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