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Old 08-02-2011, 08:12 PM   #1
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Backyard Drainage w/ Underground Phone Lines (Photos)


How do you drain this? We're perplexed on what to do. The orange line represents the underground phone lines as marked by Verizon. The white line represents the area that we wanted to install a french drain system into. The shaded area is a soupy, soggy, mess, due to the runoff from the hillside after storms. We had hoped to use the french drain like a moat.

Unfortunately there's not really a way to go around the other side of the house.

I dug a 2 foot post hole and filled it with water - after 24 hours it only percolated about 4 inches out. I would be willing to try a flo-well but I don't feel confident it's going to work.

The only thing I can come up with is to terminate on one side of the line, install a NDS pop-up drain cap, and install a catch basin with a grate on top on the other side of the line and proceed. It's certainly not the best solution.

Any suggestions?


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Old 08-02-2011, 10:36 PM   #2
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I would dig under the phone lines. You can just carefully hand dig the dirt right by them and if you cut them on accident it is no big deal. Verizon has techs that are bored anyway.

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Old 08-02-2011, 10:48 PM   #3
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I would dig under the phone lines. You can just carefully hand dig the dirt right by them and if you cut them on accident it is no big deal. Verizon has techs that are bored anyway.
I'm not sure how deep they are yet - will find out tomorrow. It's hard to tell from this photo but the lot is incredibly level and these drains need to run into the front yard and into a roadside grass ditch - we have no stormwater system.

I'm dropping this drain 1/4" or so every 8' and I need to go about 150' feet with it so on this side of the ditch I'm going to be very close to surface level. Probably no more than 4-5 inches deep. If I dig down under the lines, say a foot, there's no way I'll ever get back up to ditch level at the exit.

I would much rather have overhead lines!
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Old 08-02-2011, 10:50 PM   #4
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Backyard Drainage w/ Underground Phone Lines (Photos)


Then go over them. The point is not to worry about it and just dig carefully in that area. No reason to reengineer your entire project because of a couple of phone lines.
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Old 08-03-2011, 02:13 PM   #5
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Backyard Drainage w/ Underground Phone Lines (Photos)


Being a phone guy, i would say cafeful and dig beside of the cable to deternine the depth. Don't get carried away with a pick axe, just shovel a little bit away unitl you find it. More than likely being it's in your yard, its not going to be very deep. Then carry on with your plans and you'll be OK.
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Old 08-04-2011, 09:44 AM   #6
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Backyard Drainage w/ Underground Phone Lines (Photos)


Before you start, figure out where the water you collect is going to finally go.

If the overall terrain is not sloped enough for the French drain pipe to slope
downhill and still reach the surface then you will need a drywell, and a pump
to empty it out if it should fill enough to submerge the entering French drain
pipe end.

Another idea is to regrade the land so the low area is a line along the edge of
tje woods in back. (You may end up carving down a part of the woods.)
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Last edited by AllanJ; 08-04-2011 at 10:05 AM.
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Old 08-04-2011, 04:21 PM   #7
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The phone line is a direct bury line so you can dig on both sides of the line and move it up or down. Mark the area good so when you are digging you will not forget about the area. I can't tell you haow many times I have seen a gas or phone line get hit even when marked. Don't forget to take into consideration the catch basin depth when you get started you will probably be around 6-8" deep at the start of your flow line.
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Old 08-04-2011, 04:39 PM   #8
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Not sure if you're using cable internet or not, but if so, have you thought about just going with VOIP and abandoning the Verizon lines all together?
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Old 08-10-2011, 12:43 AM   #9
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Backyard Drainage w/ Underground Phone Lines (Photos)


Sorry guys, stopped getting notifications on this post for some reason.

We would love to regrade the lot but unfortunately it really isn't an option. As it stands our siding is basically on the ground in some places. The house should have been build about 3 blocks higher but what can ya do? We basically have, in most places, 6 inches of elevation change between our roadside drainage ditch and our yard level. That's across 35' of distance. It's a constant struggle but we manage.

We're not able to touch the woods as it's actually a 35 foot high wall. We're in Virginia so any flat land you find in residential neighborhoods is more often than not the direct result of former strip mining - as is our case. Western Virginia doesn't have naturally flat land.

We had Verizon out to see about getting rid of the underground line entirely as we had a drop installed from the pole about 20 years ago. We haven't actually utilized the underground line in as many years. Unfortunately, he said the neighbors do still use it, and our house is still a part of the circuit so they can't even remove the section that runs to our home. He said they could move the junction box and the line to the very edge of the back yard... for $1700. Figures. We have Comcast phones and couldn't be happier. Vonage isn't available here.

A drywell was a consideration. Unfortunately, beyond the sod, the ground is clay. I dug a 3 foot post hole, scraped up the sides, and filled it with water. The level changed 4" in a few days. It would take the drywell a month to empty. This may turn into a catch basin with a sump pump project in the end. The yard is incredibly soggy and with that we're concerned a sump pump would run 24 hours a day and end up needing replacement sooner than later.

We did phase 1 of this drainage project this past weekend but it didn't involve this area near the phone lines. I should find out this coming weekend how deep these are and I'll report back on what we ended up doing so others can benefit from it.

THANKS to everyone - you guys and gals are great!
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Old 08-10-2011, 12:47 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AllanJ View Post
Before you start, figure out where the water you collect is going to finally go.

If the overall terrain is not sloped enough for the French drain pipe to slope
downhill and still reach the surface then you will need a drywell, and a pump
to empty it out if it should fill enough to submerge the entering French drain
pipe end.

Another idea is to regrade the land so the low area is a line along the edge of
tje woods in back. (You may end up carving down a part of the woods.)
This was something we looked at about a year ago. The only issue is where to go from there. We have about 25' of separation between us and our neighbors. We would have to either drain it into their yard (illegal obviously) or make a turn and drain it out to the street. Unfortunately, there's only 6 inches of elevation change between the front of the house and the ditch across about 35'. We would need the water caught into a ditch of this type to run 80' from the back of the property line to the street. I don't think we would ever be able to get the right slope.

Every contractor we have ever had looked at the issue says the same thing: "House should have been built about 3 blocks higher." Very true.
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Old 08-10-2011, 12:48 AM   #11
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Backyard Drainage w/ Underground Phone Lines (Photos)


Also, I know it's going to be asked, but the top of the french drain would nearly have to be at surface level at the origin. Luckily, it's at a very low traffic area and hopefully will at least afford us 5 or more years before clogging and needing replaced. A small price to pay for peace of mind and a dry lawn.
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Old 08-10-2011, 10:36 AM   #12
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Backyard Drainage w/ Underground Phone Lines (Photos)


If a French drain gets waterlogged (fills up) it will behave as if it did not exist.

A dry well and pump could be in the middle of a run to the front where you run
out of slope and start a new slope to finish the run to the front.

A shallow surface ditch, often with a hard surface, which might be along the
foundation or along the property line, is also called a French drain provided
it carries water away as opposed to just provide a place to soak in. Once you
are away from the problem area, a pump can discharge the water onto one
of these for the rest of the run to the front, saving the need to excavate
and lay more pipe.

(A very shallow surface "drainage ditch" which is more than about 3 feet wide, has
slope so large amounts of rainwater does go somewhere else, and that can be
part of the lawn, is called a swale.)

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Last edited by AllanJ; 08-10-2011 at 10:58 AM.
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