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appleman01 03-19-2010 01:33 PM

Berm and/or French Drain Solution?? (Pictures Included)
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My neighbors house is elevated 6ft above my property, you can also see the retaining wall they built which actually helps many water issues for me. With heavy rains I get a small river that wraps from their driveway around the wall and near my foundation wall.

I removed all the ivy that was growing into the foundation and removed a yard or so of dirt to help with the grade of the soil between the wall and the foundation. I currently have a french drain dug out with a 2% slope and a small swale between the french drain and the wall. I was planning to plug the french drain into my downspout at the rear corner of the house which are all buried and run to the storm sewer.

Does this look like I have things covered? Was the french drain necessary? Can I tap the french drain into my existing sub-surface drains? Any advice is appreciated before I go any further...


Allison1888 03-19-2010 02:38 PM

I think you have things covered, but I would check with your local building dept. to see if they have any regulations on tieing it into the water system. Was the French drain needed? Hard to say, but when it comes to water...better to have more protection then not enough. Do you also have a sump pump?

appleman01 03-19-2010 02:43 PM

I do not have a sump pump. If and only if my above gutters are clogged and we get 3-5 inches of flash rain will this water seap in through the foundation and walls on this side of the house. Even then, it's only 1 or 2 slow moving trickles into my basement drain. But I don't like it either way!

One thing I thought of is to preserve some of my work here and offer to install channel drains at my cost on the edge of my neighbors driveway and push it to the street with the rest of their driveway runoff.

We have a larger 8" PVC sub-surface drainage system that was installed by previous home owners that was tied into the storm sewer and with approrpriate permits. There are a few downspouts from my house and this neighbor that tie into it along with a few surface drains on the other end of my property.

So, you think I should cover up that drain and be on my way? I was primarily concerned about water trickling into the foundation through the drain and potentially pushing silt into my downspout drain line...thanks again.

AllanJ 03-19-2010 06:16 PM

The surface ditch around the perimeter of your foundation and also roof downspouts should not be tied into a subsurface perimeter drain system (if any) where the surface water can fill the latter system. Also not into a septic system.

If it is usual and customary for downspouts to be tied into a lateral (feeder, usually underground) that goes into a city storm drain system, the perimeter ditch may also be routed there provided that the water does not catch in an underground perimeter drain system on the way down.

Water should not be ponding up against your house; if that happens you need to regrade things.

The small river that wraps down from your neighbor's needs to be rerouted, perhaps by construction of a "French drain" or swale on the property line.

* French drain (named after a country) -- Surface ditch or swale usually around the perimeter of a building. French drain (named after a person) -- Subsurface pipe (aka weeping tile) system usually around the perimeter of the foundation, either inside or outside, just below basement floor level.

handy man88 03-19-2010 06:26 PM

The first question is "where is the property line?"

The first suggestion is "don't tie in your gutter downspouts to the drain unless the drain is a 10" diameter pipe.

If you can, I would dig a trench just in front of the footer of the retaining wall. That's where all the water is coming from. In this trench, I would put down gravel and then either corrugated piping with holes or pvc pipe with holes with a mesh screen over this and then more gravel.

I lieu of this, I would put down several catch basins.

Make sure the grade of the yard is towards this french drain.

I would then run a dedicated pipe for your gutter downspouts.

Also, I would put a window well around that basement window and put a window well cover over it.

appleman01 03-19-2010 06:39 PM

All the gutter downspouts are already tied to an 8" drain that ties to the storm sewer. This new french drain will not carry ANY downspout water as this drain is upstream from all downspouts. I can let this new french drain outlet to daylight or tie it to the highest upstream downspout inlet into the 8" drain.

My property ends about 1-2 feet in front of this retaining wall. The river would have been closer to my house but I put a temporary berm in front of the ivy bed that used to span this entire area from my foundation. thanks again!

handy man88 03-19-2010 06:42 PM

I would also recommend pulling out those trees by your gutter before they get too big. That'll also allow grass to grow there.

AllanJ 03-19-2010 11:32 PM

If you regraded the land to put a swale extending for many feet along the propertyh line, where would the river go?

handy man88 03-20-2010 06:48 AM

There seems to be a decent looking slope on the sunny side of the house.

It may be a good idea to put down a dry river bed.

appleman01 03-20-2010 09:37 AM

There is a good slope to the rear of the yard. I do have a dry creek bed in the rear that runs into the storm sewer where this water will ultimately end up. There are a few catch basins in the swale of the rear yard as well, tied to 8" PVC about 3-4ft below grade. Just wondering if I should try to capture this water and push it below grade into existing PVC I have below grade or run it on the surface....


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