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Old 04-23-2014, 09:57 AM  
ScottCh
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Default Slope, Drainage, and Driveway Problem

Hi Folks,

I looked through all of the topic areas and didn't see a better one for this problem. I hope this is OK.

Our house was built in the early 90s. When we moved in a few years ago, the concrete driveway was cracked, heaved, and buckled in places. We had it repaired, which involved removing and re-pouring about 45 feet of it.

The driveway installer told us that the ground under our driveway was wet, and we needed to create a moisture barrier or a french drain to keep it dry underneath.

Our driveway is only about six feet away from our upslope neighbor's. Inbetween is a landscaped buffer which is part lawn, part hedgerow.

Adding to the drainage problem is that the front gutter on their house drains onto their driveway, which sends some of the water down the slope and onto ours. They have in-ground sprinklers, so it's not unusual to find water running across our driveway several times a year.

It turns out that our home's previous owner had a bad relationship with this neighbor. They mentioned this to us during a brief conversation when we moved in. They have been reluctant to talk to us, and I can't help but wonder if the drainage problems played a big role in that.

I installed a black plastic landscaping fence along the edge of our driveway after it was repaired, but this isn't doing enough. There's enough water accumulating that it either goes over or under pretty often. We even had to add topsoil on the other side of the driveway due to runoff erosion.

I am tempted to put in a french drain. Would perforated black pipe along the upslope edge work for this purpose? It seems like the holes in the pipe might get filled with debris. There also needs to be a place for the drain to discharge. I see that a few of our neighbors have cut holes in the cement curb to allow water to drain to the gutter pan along the street. That would be the most likely choice, but I wonder if I would need permission from the town to do that.

If anyone has some experience handling this kind of problem, I'll be very grateful for the help.

Scott C. in Cary, NC USA



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Last edited by ScottCh; 04-23-2014 at 02:11 PM. Reason: fixed wording (buffer not barrier)
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Old 04-23-2014, 10:13 AM  
nealtw
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Do you have a perimeter drain around the house and does it drain to the city storm system.



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Old 04-23-2014, 12:32 PM  
Wuzzat?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ScottCh View Post
I am tempted to put in a french drain.
It never worked for us but we have clay. Check your soil permeability.
http://www.dot.state.fl.us/rddesign/Drainage/files/EXFILTRATIONHB.pdf
This report actually mentions your place
http://www.bae.ncsu.edu/topic/permeable-pavement/SWFWMD.pdf
and the people cited in this link may help you (everybody likes to talk about their job).
Page 5-33 of this link
http://www.itc.nl/~rossiter/docs/fm5-410/fm5-410_ch5.pdf
has an interesting chart.

Rather than taking labor intensive & costly gambles I'm for a 24vac pump with float switch and piping that routes this water elsewhere.

Our narcissistic neighbors dump water onto our property and there is nothing we can do about it. If we build a low dam and their property floods we are at fault.

You could also look up books on 'neighbor law'. Nolo Press puts out some of these.
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Old 04-23-2014, 01:14 PM  
bud16415
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French drainage works great as long as you have a place for the water to go. I put one in at my old house to drain a couple acres of land that would flood each spring. The idea of a French drain is to cut a slot into the ground and the water traveling the surface will flow along until it hits the slot and then dive in. the slot I made was 2’ wide and 4’ deep I put about a foot of large stone in the bottom and then (2) 4” plastic lines with the holes side by side. They make a sock to go over it if your soil calls for that to keep smalls out. I then filled the slot flush to the top with large stone. The mistake people make IMO is to want grass to grow on top and they put a layer of top soil. Where my tiles ended I brought them to the surface and into a collection box with a grid lid. It gave a point for water to enter but also a place to get at the end of the tiles if they ever needed cleaned out. By the sound of it your drain won’t have to be as massive as mine and you could rent a ditch witch and cut a 6’ slot as a DIY project. As long as the path to the street or drainage line is downhill it will work.

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Old 04-23-2014, 01:26 PM  
ScottCh
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nealtw View Post
Do you have a perimeter drain around the house and does it drain to the city storm system.
Hello Nealtw,

That's food for thought. We have some drains in the lawn on the upslope side of the house. It's not obvious where these go, and we do not have a plan for the house (the town did not require them back then).

It seems impractical to tap into those. We would have to pipe under 30 feet of concrete slab to get a pipe from the driveway edge to the backyard at that end of the house.

Thanks,

Scott
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Old 04-23-2014, 02:04 PM  
guyod
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Keep in mind that since your old drive was heaving that means water was getting under driveway then freezing. Most french drain system do nothing in winter. If it was me I would install a french drain with a liner under it going up to a birm higher than driveway.

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Old 04-23-2014, 02:39 PM  
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There are people who can get a pipe under the driveway.

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Old 04-24-2014, 07:21 AM  
ScottCh
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Thanks for all of the good information everyone. I lean strongly towards fixing this problem by adding drainage rather than starting a legal conflict with a currently neutral neighbor. Given that the ground has a pretty good slope at this end of the block, the water is always going to run down from his property, across ours, and on to the neighbor on the other side.

So it really comes down to who has to put in some work to keep it from causing damage along the way. I plan to look for a consultant who understands drainage and can recommend the best way to handle this. I regret that the original builder didn't put in that effort, as these were supposed to be better than typical houses. It would have been a lot easier to do when the ground was being broken.

Thanks again.

Scott C.

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Old 04-24-2014, 07:47 AM  
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You also need to limit erosion, I guess by slowing the flow rate or making the surface more resistant to erosion.

And a change made in one place affects others.

With a spinning laser level you might be able to make a topographic map of the area so you see the whole picture before anybody picks up a shovel.
http://www.google.com/search?q=topographic+map&client=safari&rls=en&tbm= isch&imgil=uHGk49pje3y8jM%253A%253Bhttp%253A%252F% 252Ft0.gstatic.com%252Fimages%253Fq%253Dtbn%253AAN d9GcQyp3rZgYBmft9Q1EjmaD14fQXO0FxHaFolpeoZZ8FbTwLy HPTD%253B500%253B318%253B3ZqZtwhUd1M6KM%253Bhttp%2 5253A%25252F%25252Fwww.compassdude.com%25252Ftopog raphic-maps.shtml&source=iu&usg=__uJKb-4F0MdwL3q3wDh-9JwB8kC4%3D&sa=X&ei=YBZZU6-KDe7NsQTM8IDICA&ved=0CEYQ9QEwBA#facrc=_&imgdii=_&i mgrc=uHGk49pje3y8jM%253A%3B3ZqZtwhUd1M6KM%3Bhttp%2 53A%252F%252Fwww.compassdude.com%252Fi%252Ftopo-example.gif%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.compassdude.c om%252Ftopographic-maps.shtml%3B500%3B318
That way, if you get bids they'll all be bidding on the same scope of work, which is the image or drawing you show them.

You'll need your plat.

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Old 04-27-2014, 08:47 PM  
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Before doing anything serious, it wouldn't hurt to talk to your local AHJ people--they may have some thoughts (and more importantly, restrictions) on what you may or may not do.



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