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Old 06-15-2012, 08:07 AM   #1
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Standing Water in Underground Pipe w/French Drain??


End of last year we had drainage work done because of basement water. All downspouts were diverted underground into tubes which flowed down to the front yard. There is a large underground stone pit towards the end of the PVC pipes. THe pipes then bend up to the yard with pop up emitters to expell the water. There are holes drilled in the bottom of the PVC tubes over the rock pit. Problem is we have standing water in the PVX tubes, for some reason it does not drain into the rock pit, then into the ground. It has not rained a week and the water level has not changed in the pipes when I take off the pop up emitters and look down. I even drilled a few more holes in the bottom of the PVC, where the elbow is.

My question is why is the water sitting there and not draining at all into the ground?? There are holes in the PVX pipes were the elbow starts, yet nothing drains. It is starting to smell now and have bugs. I even drained it with a wet vac a few weeks ago to check the holes. No clogs. Its clear. I drilled through the bottom and can feel the rocks underneath. Why the heck is the water not draining through the holes at all, and what can I do? I contacted the contractor, but having some issues having them come back out.

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Old 06-16-2012, 07:48 AM   #2
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Standing Water in Underground Pipe w/French Drain??


Ayuh,.... Got any Pictures,..??

Yer story ain't makin' alota sense...

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Old 06-16-2012, 08:11 AM   #3
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Standing Water in Underground Pipe w/French Drain??


Water will only drain into the soil if it's permeable and not already oversaturated.

I wouldn't go drilling holes into something without knowing why it was designed that way.
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Old 06-16-2012, 05:08 PM   #4
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Standing Water in Underground Pipe w/French Drain??


OK, here are some more details and some photos. Basically, we had water in our basement from the downspouts dumping the water to the one area of the house where the basement was. We had underground drainage installed where the downspouts go into in ground boxes with 4" PVX pipes leading it down the front yard and exiting through pop up emitters. We have 3 emitters, 2 for the downspouts and 1 for the sump pump that really is not used now. Under the emitters where the PVC pipes bend up to the surface is the underground rock pit. There are holes in the bottom of the PVC pipe where it bends up and should drain straight down into the pit and then into the ground. Problem is NONE of the water is draining through the holes in the bottom of the tubes, just sitting there, and the holes are right in the bottom of the water, so no clue why the heck nothing is draining into the ground. Attached are some photos which should help. Any ideas please help!

Also, I have drained the water out of the tubes with a wet vac a few times, but even the small amount of water left does not go away. Has not rained in a week now too. Holes can be seen at the bottom, they are 3/8" drilled holes. I added a couple new holes when the landscapers said it was fine since it was just draining down, but due to some other issues now they are not calling me back (other work with family not completed)
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Standing Water in Underground Pipe w/French Drain??-lawn1.jpg   Standing Water in Underground Pipe w/French Drain??-lawn4.jpg   Standing Water in Underground Pipe w/French Drain??-lawn3.jpg   Standing Water in Underground Pipe w/French Drain??-lawn2.jpg  
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Old 06-16-2012, 06:06 PM   #5
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Standing Water in Underground Pipe w/French Drain??


If they are not pitched properly, or were let to drop down while. back filling, there would be your problem.

I would be contacting who ever installed the system and have them come back and fix it. Of course, what is stopping you from flushing them with a hose.
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Old 06-16-2012, 06:16 PM   #6
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Standing Water in Underground Pipe w/French Drain??


The obvious question here is, why do you care? Is the grate at the house taking all the water that comes to it? If so, good. If not then you certainly have a problem. So, next question, is the same amount of water being pumped into the grate also coming out the pop up? As in, the pipe is not draining into the 'rock pit', just acting as a straight shot to the pop up. If that's the case then something's not right with the pipe.

Or, as I replied before, there's something about the soil that's not accepting any more water. It's either oversaturated already or the wrong kind of fill (like solid clay) was packed back in around it.

But if it's taking all the water, and not simply expelling an equal amount at the end, why worry about what little is left in there?
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Old 06-16-2012, 11:28 PM   #7
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Standing Water in Underground Pipe w/French Drain??


The are a few reasons why I care. First, the standing water in the pipes are causing bugs and mosquitos all over the place. Second, it seems like there is about the same amount of water going into the grates that is being expelled, and very little is getting absorbed into the ground and the rock pit like it was supposed to. With that happening, the old standing water sits there until the next rain comes, which could be over a week causing the front area of the house to stink too when that nasty water finally is expelled. Also, with the lack of water going into the ground as it was supposed to, the bottom part of the yard has become a swamp after each rain, and stays that way a long time.

The fill was not solid clay but softer top soil. We had clay initially in the ground which was taken away in the area where the drainage was placed. If the ground is oversaturated from all the rain, how long would it take before any water is drained? It did not rain for over a week and the standing water did not move. It is like filling a cup of water, placing it on the ground, drilling a hole in the bottom and the water does not move for a week.

I can drain the tubes tomorrow as dry as possible and fill them back with a measured amount of water to test if anything actually is being drained into the ground. I cannot fully tell with the combined downspouts going into the tubes if there is actually less water being expelled than it is taking in.

@Greg: What would flushing with a hose do? I can do that of course, but ho would that help? Also, I did contact them again. They were great about calling me back and were going to come out and check it. They had agreed to do a job for my parents though too back in April and said they would come out in a week or so to get it started. Middle of JUne they never called or showed up so my parents got the work done somehwere else. They did not want to keep calling and begging them to do work that they should WANT to do for a nice amount of $$. When they called, my parents told them the job was done by someone else because they never called or anything for the last 2 months, just vanished basically. I think they are holding that against me now and have not called me back since they spoke to my parents last week. Great, eh?

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Originally Posted by wkearney99 View Post
The obvious question here is, why do you care? Is the grate at the house taking all the water that comes to it? If so, good. If not then you certainly have a problem. So, next question, is the same amount of water being pumped into the grate also coming out the pop up? As in, the pipe is not draining into the 'rock pit', just acting as a straight shot to the pop up. If that's the case then something's not right with the pipe.

Or, as I replied before, there's something about the soil that's not accepting any more water. It's either oversaturated already or the wrong kind of fill (like solid clay) was packed back in around it.

But if it's taking all the water, and not simply expelling an equal amount at the end, why worry about what little is left in there?
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Old 06-17-2012, 08:17 AM   #8
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Standing Water in Underground Pipe w/French Drain??


Is the rock pit full now? Water in the pipes will back up when the pit is full. Filling a dry well with rocks drastically cuts down on the capacity of the dry well.

After the rock pit fills up, where is the water supposed to go?

The drain pipes may be below the water table at the time. In that case any water in the drain pipes will not percolate into the ground using the perforations in the pipe.

What is the elevation of the rock pit top relative to the ground surface at the downspouts? What is the elevation of the popups relative to the pit bottom? How deep is the pit?
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Old 06-17-2012, 09:01 AM   #9
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Standing Water in Underground Pipe w/French Drain??


As long as the pop-ups are closed, along with the flapper leading to the downstream pips, mosquitoes should never be a problem. Again, only way to fix is to dig it all up and start again. So, why haven't you called who installed it, to come and fix it?
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Old 06-17-2012, 09:03 AM   #10
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Standing Water in Underground Pipe w/French Drain??


Thanks for that link.

I do not know if the rock pit is full as it is fully covered with soil. The top of the rock pit is approximately 16" below the ground surface where the pop up emitters are located. The surface level of the pop ups is about 1 foot below the level of the downspouts due to lawn grading. The pit is around 3-4 feet deep ( I do not know the exact number though offhand). I guess if the water table is high enough the water would have nowhere to go, but being so dry now for a longer period of time I would think it would start to drop and seep back into the ground some. Maybe I am totally wrong with my thoughts here though.

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Is the rock pit full now? Water in the pipes will back up when the pit is full. Filling a dry well with rocks drastically cuts down on the capacity of the dry well.

After the rock pit fills up, where is the water supposed to go?

The drain pipes may be below the water table at the time. In that case any water in the drain pipes will not percolate into the ground using the perforations in the pipe.

What is the elevation of the rock pit top relative to the ground surface at the downspouts? What is the elevation of the popups relative to the pit bottom? How deep is the pit?
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Old 06-17-2012, 09:04 AM   #11
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Standing Water in Underground Pipe w/French Drain??


You might need a larger pit, but usually at the end of the run, you will have water in the el's, unless it is done correctly.
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Old 06-17-2012, 10:09 AM   #12
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Standing Water in Underground Pipe w/French Drain??


I think a problem, now that I think about it, is that they used solid PVC for the entire run, just the holes at the elbow area to drain. Nothing is draining along the pathway down without the holes, just the end. Is that normal to do that way?
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Old 06-17-2012, 12:58 PM   #13
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Standing Water in Underground Pipe w/French Drain??


Yes, unless you use street el's.
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Old 06-17-2012, 08:00 PM   #14
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Standing Water in Underground Pipe w/French Drain??


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I think a problem, now that I think about it, is that they used solid PVC for the entire run, just the holes at the elbow area to drain. Nothing is draining along the pathway down without the holes, just the end. Is that normal to do that way?
Actually it is acceptable to have a solid pipe sloping away from the house to carry away the gutter water.

At least for the first several feet near the house, the main purpose of perforations in the drain pipe is to collect more water to carry away as opposed to let water soak into the soil, although under dry conditions water will soak into the soil.

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