back yard flooding

GurvyApril 17, 2014

Sorry for a similar post that is related to one in a different forum here. And sorry for the long post.

Have a major problem in my back yard. New home (less than 1 year old). Have had an area outside by basement sliding doors where there was water accumulating. Issue has been present since we moved in. In the Winter, there was no problem but since the Spring thaw, there is an issue with the water accumulating and draining out. The builder cam by to assess the issue and initially said that the area needed to be better graded, but the area is just not drying. He opened up a trench about a foot wide and 8-10 inches deep to let the water drain with minimal relief. I tried yesterday to push some of the water into the trench with a shovel, but the water just kept on coming up from the ground.

Today, the builder stopped by and had his guys dig another trench and opened it to the level of the foundation exposing the footing drain (about 1 foot at most deep from the ground) on both sides of the basement door. One of them is gushing and the black pipe is bubbling and the the water is now definitely draining, but not drying up (incidentally, this is the side that is beginning to have water seeping up through a settlement crack in the basement floor). The other side is showing stagnant water. The footing drain has been open to daylight further deep into the yard corner and has been putting out minimal water as compared to the other properties.

He says that the sprinkler person used the ditch witch and probably caused a crack in the pipe midway into the yard and that has caused the drainage problem. However, I do not think that is the case since there is no water coming up in that area of the sprinkler piping. My feeling is that there is a crack in the footing drain closer to the foundation. Basic law of physics, right?? If there is a crack the water will come out from that area, and not back up towards the foundation and gush out from there, right??

Any input into what could be causing this and what I should do to further evaluate this.

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If this is that flexible black drain piping, it may have been crushed completely shut. The ditch digger for the sprinkler could have done that. It basically rips through the ground like a giant chainsaw. Cable trenching machines do the same thing, I have seen them go through a drain pipe like that. It will not necessarily open it up so that water comes up out of the ground at the damaged spot, it may just stop it up completely.

Either way you need to fix this pronto or you'll have more water in your basement. Do you have a drawing of where the sprinkler pipes are so you know where this might have happened? If you can find the spot, dig it up, trim off the damaged ends and put a joiner there to reconnect them.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 4:19PM
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Your house may have been built over an underground "natural spring".

Do you think a French Drain next to foundation would help?

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 4:21PM
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Your house may have been built over an underground "natural spring".

Do you think a French Drain next to foundation would help?

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 4:22PM
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Thank you for the replies here. We were able to trace the drain pipe from a sketch by the builder. Followed it to the sprinkler lines that were still fresh from the Fall. Found a gash in the drain just below the sprinkler pipe. Had to get yard dug up and regarded to allow new pipe placement and let the dirt dry. Hopefully this is the end to the issue now. Now to go after the sprinkler company for negligence. Thanks again!!

    Bookmark   April 22, 2014 at 6:19AM
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Before you go after the sprinkler guy, step back and take a look at this from a broader perspective. Did you provide the sprinkler company with the underground piping layout before they dug?

Did the builder or general contractor hire the sprinkler installer, or did you oversee this work yourself? The one who hired the sprinkler company shares the responsibility.

If the sprinkler sub was given inaccurate information about the underground conditions, he is not "negligent". It is impossible to see everything underground, unless you have an accurate drawing that tells you what to look for and where.

Were the other utilities marked out? Domestic water, gas, sewer, electric? Or are you in an area without any underground utilities? It is the responsibility of the competent person overseeing the excavation to check the available drawings and have an underground locator survey, if there are utilities present that are hidden. It is the property owner's responsibility to provide that information and agree to pay the cost of the underground locator survey. Both parties have a responsibility, and ignorance is not defendable.

If the drawings indicate there are no underground utilities, there is no reason for a survey. The ground penetrating radar (GPR) will not detect a plastic pipe buried in soil, unless the person is specifically looking for a plastic pipe in the immediate location at a certain depth. Even then it's not very accurate. GPR is way more accurate in detecting metal pipes, live electrical, and gas lines. It will pick up the most hazardous stuff.

Figure out what drawings or utility markings were provided to the sprinkler contractor, and then go from there.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2014 at 1:30PM
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