Drainage/runoff problem... what to do?

majesty8June 1, 2010


I appreciate the advice and experiences. To cut to the chase, here's the issue I'm having:

I live on a sloped property where (typically during spring or real heavy downpours) there's runoff going to my neighbor's property where a small pool of water collects into the back of his detached garage.

Having acknowledged the situation when my neighbor raised his concerns of it, I hired a very knowledgeable drainage contractor (I was very pleased with his work by the way!): he noticed the downspouts from my gutters that could have contributed to the runoff wasn't directed anywhere other than away from my house. He piped and routed the downspouts not only away from my home (and my neighbors of course), but all the way to the end of my property where the drainage ditch is. He did a great job and I hoped it was the end of the issue... unfortunately the runoff problem still persist.

I can only think of two things that as to why I may still have this runoff problem:

  1. Broken drain pipe along the slope of my property where water runs to the neighbor's property. I had a lot of trees cut down where the only access route for the cherry picker truck was (you guessed it!) the slope where I'm having runoff problems with. The drainage pipe is barely exposed (I'd say only about 3 inches) and my neighbor highly suspects this pipe is the culprit.

  2. Well system. My home was on well water until I bought it. I haven't used the well since I piped city water in. In conjunction with the truck having gone through the slope of my house, could the weight of the truck possibly created an opening in the soil for the spring to have overflowed and contributed to the runoff?

I will look into getting this problem solved, at least replace/reroute the possible damaged drain pipe my neighbor says is the culprit. BUT... what if this runoff problem persist? My neighbor knew and acknowledged the amount of work done to my house. But who's to say this has been a preexisting problem with the previous owners of my home?

Thanks again for your input.

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Water runs down hill. No matter what you do, it is going to run downhill. I think you've done more than is to be expected. It appears to me any man made causes for additional water have been eliminated. Whatever flows at this point is natural. Your neighbor needs to take some action if water is entering his garage. If there is pooling, then he needs to add drainage.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2010 at 9:23PM
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For once, I agree with windslam. You've done all you can. The rest is up to your neighbor and he needs to add drainage solutions to his property.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2010 at 10:22AM
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The only thing I would do first is get your original contractor out to confirm or deny the neighbors allegations. If the current problem was caused by heavy equipment brought in by your contractor, he needs to be aware of it. If it's proven that that is not the problem then your neighbor needs to route the runoff around the back of his garage and out to the street. Have your neighbor there when the contractor assesses the situation and keep it friendly.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2010 at 12:56PM
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I agree you should not assume that there is something with your property you can "fix" at this point.

Why not suggest your drainage contractor to him, to install a french drain or a gutter to move water from his garage to the drainage ditch or at least around the garage?

Unless you're clearly discharging water directly onto his property the law of most (if not all) states is that the water is his problem. While you can get confirmation there are no broken pipes at this point he should prove that you've done something to create the problem, which it appears you have not.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2010 at 4:17PM
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Thank you all for your input and perspectives! I've actually learned quite a bit and am arming myself with more knowledge concerning this situation. From what I've learned, my situation here is pretty much not solely my problem but my neighbor's as well. I had a drain guy come out and upon seeing his property, he said my neighbor's garden (adjacent to his garage and has a 6" retaining wall) could very well be causing this issue. To make it worse, my neighbor's attempt to either dam/redirect the pooling issue with sandbags isn't helping! In all, there doesn't appear to be any drainage on his property, which got me thinking...

But to spare you a long boring story, it's now comforting to know that this issue i'm having here is a combination of his creating the problem (the garden) and that he happens to have the lowest lying property. It seems now that this problem could very well have been a preexisting condition for which my neighbor is trying to make it my problem. Either way, I'm having the county soil and water department come out here to assess and give me a definitive explanation as to why this problem is occurring. From the looks of it, I hope to have not been "taken for a ride" by my neighbor. But I'm for a proactive solution, and if its what everyone suspects all along that it isn't necessarily my problem, then I'll have peace of mind knowing I can wipe my hands clean of this problem. Wish me luck!

    Bookmark   June 20, 2010 at 5:50PM
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Let us know what you find out. Good luck!!

    Bookmark   June 21, 2010 at 7:35PM
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WHEW! This has been a mentally exhausting experience, but I'm so glad that I'm finally able to wipe my hands clean of this situation. I had 3 people come look at this situation, and ALL 3 (I even had a county soil and water rep. come out) said this pooling problem is a combination of my neighbor's low lying property and his garden he built! The county official even gave me a topographic map of our properties which clearly explained why this is happening. My neighbor's garden is actually blocking the path of where the water needs to go, and he's making it worse year after year building mulching and building his bed up!

I have yet to tell him of this news, but I wanted to make sure all 3 expert opinions on this matches before I tell him. I was going to tell him today, but today being the 4th of July, I am not going to spoil his weekend. I'm even more comforted to know that the county official gave me an extra card for my neighbor if he still thinks it's still my problem! LOL.

Thank you all for your replies and support!

    Bookmark   July 4, 2010 at 10:43PM
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Any further updates?

I'm glad to know about what you were told. I have a neighbor that seems even more unreasonable. Water isn't pooling but, because she's downhill, water flows from my yard to hers (what doesn't soak in) and she has complained that the water carries soil which dirties her stone patio.

I've asked her for suggestions about how I can change the law of gravity.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2010 at 11:51AM
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