French Drain or Dirty Water Submersible Pump?

chuehDecember 31, 2009

We have had this house for 3 years. The flooding gets worse and expands. I was thinking of digging a trench for a French drain to redirect the water. On the other hand, my husband who always favors short and quick fixes likes using machines to do all the jobs, except himself. He suggested that we use a dirty water submersible pump. I saw the advertisement of the pump and the picture of it on the local shops, yet I have no idea how it works. Anyway, it does not look promising to me at all.

Please take a look at the exact same picture of our problematic walk way. The deepest water depth is where I drew with the blue pen. I am thinking of digging a trench where I drew with pink pen. The orange-brown line is where all the water is going. Our right side neighbor is much higher than us; whereas our left side neighbor is lower than us. I think that the trench just needs to reach to the middle of the yard.

Which method is more practical and aesthetic? And When either the method is used, what should I pay attention to? What else I should know about doing it?


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I'm a little confused. Are we looking at the driveway in front of your home looking across the street? Regardless of the french drain or the sub pump, where do you expect the water to go? Also, is this a situation that exists after a rain? Is there enough fall to flood the police car?

    Bookmark   January 2, 2010 at 10:23AM
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Yes, it is the driveway, and the flood stays on the walkway adjacent to the driveway. I expect the water flowing downwards, which is towards the police car. However, there is a lawn in the neighbor's where the police car is and my yard, flood does not stay the neighbor's driveway (where the police car is).

Every time when it rains at a regular pace, it floods on walkway. If it just drizzles, it is not flooding. I would say 8 out of 10 times of rain, it floods.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2010 at 1:17PM
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Where I live, it is against the law to redivert water toward a neighbours property. At all times it must be directed to a drain (usually here a storm water drain that drains into a municipal drain).

However it looks like you live out of the urban area so this may not apply. If you dig the french drain according to your diagram, won't you you be directing MORE water toward your neighbour on your left?(as the picture is...the house with the police car

Whose property is the one on the extreme left of of the photo? I can see a downpipe and a drain. Are they flooded when it rains?

    Bookmark   January 3, 2010 at 4:19AM
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I presume the police car is sitting on the neighborhood street. Does your home sit above or below street level. As an example, the house across the street appears to be below the street level. If your home is below street level, where do you expect the water to go. What are the blocks laying on the the walk/drive surface intended for.

Basically, you think your husband is lazy because he doesn't share your french drain idea. Again, either way, where do you expect the water to go?

    Bookmark   January 4, 2010 at 8:19AM
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I get the impression that the photo is taken from your front (or back) door and the flooding is limited to the sidewalk. is that correct? Sump pumps and french drains are usually added when a basement floods. You have not mentioned any flooding inside your house and it appears from the photo that the majority of the water is going away from your house. Is that correct? (If not, you have more 'splainin' to do, as Ricky Ricardo would say.)

It is not clear why the water isn't draining off the sidewalk and into your little garden. As a first step, I would suggest simply aerating the garden. If you have red clay, you would need to add sand, peat, and compost. This should give the water a more porous surface to drain into.

BTW, if you basement is leaking, the water is not coming from the sidewalk in the photo you posted. Please provide more information. Thanks.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2010 at 10:00PM
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Thank you all for the replies.

No, No where else is flooding, except the sidewalk. Surprisingly, both my neighbor across us and the left one have no flooding problem. I guess that both of their houses have an immediate slope next to their houses.

When it rains, you can see the water is sitting on top of the lawn and flooding our sidewalk. I don't see that happening in neighbor's yard. I am puzzled, very, very....

However, I guess that since the huge slopes to the left neighbor is leading all the water flowing down, whatever coming from our right is eventually going to the extreme left down the slopes.

Yes, I actually did aerate the lawn and try to change the soil property a little by adding sand, peatmoss, and compost. However, I guess it would take some time to really take some effect or see the changes...

    Bookmark   January 5, 2010 at 8:30PM
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Looks like you need to run drain pipe from your downspouts out to the street or some other area in your yard away from the house. Not sure if the house sits higher than the street hard to tell from the pics. Not good to have standing water around the foundation will cause other issues in future. I is not difficult for someone handy around the house. I had to do it to mine several years ago

    Bookmark   January 7, 2010 at 12:39AM
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I will echo Doug, but the drain pipe will need to go UNDER your sidewalk and out to the middle of your yard. At the far end, have a dry well (a hole filled with rocks) for the pipe to drain into. Then cover the whole thing with soil and re-seed the grass or lay down sod.

Will be easier than a French drain but harder than installing a sump pump. Sorry!

    Bookmark   January 7, 2010 at 7:52PM
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