Drainage problems

by Tina
(PA)

Hi, I recently (about 2 yrs ) had my house renovated, increased the square footage & made it handicapped accessible for my son. the contractor allegedly "graded" the water away from my house, out of my backyard to run between the neighbors houses & out into the storm drain in the street, but I now have pools of water all the way around my house whenever it rains. In front of my garage & front door,, both sides of my house & my backyard look like swimming pools. I've spent a good amount of money adding stone & dirt, landscaping, grass seed, fertilizer, mulch,anything to help but as soon as it rains my yard is just a giant swimming pool & I'm sure a lot of the water just washes into my neighbors' yards behind me. I know that they are also upset. Contractor put in a rain run off pit in my backyard (doesn't seem to be doing anything) with a pipe that runs to my back fence& it has been tampered with by them, smashed down,covered with rocks, push up on top of my fence, etc. numerous times! They've never knocked at my door & talked to me! Maybe we could figure out a way to remedy the situation or at least figure out what is happening in their yards!! I've heard from other people how upset they are with me!!! The contractor caused this I'm sure & I'm now stuck with fixing everyone's water problems!

I understand their frustration, I feel it as well!! I want to fix the problem for all of us & I trusted my contractor to do things right & he just didn't! I've spent over $5000 since renovating to help this situation & nothing seems to work! I don't know what else to do or who I can contact to help!!! I didn't cause this problem & I feel for all parties involved but I also feel like I was only trying to better my sons life! What can I do about the water situation?

RESPONSE

Hi Tina,

I haven't seen your property, looked at any grades, etc. but I would tell you a few things in my opinion just from what you have said.

If water is pooling around your house and garage, it has either not been graded away from your house, or it has and that water has not been diverted properly. You said the contractor put in a runoff pit. I am not sure how this was designed. A drainage pit is a very large area which either collects surface water which gets pitched to it and/or is a collection area for drainage pipes leading to it. It is typically a concrete drum with holes in it or just a large hole filled with stone. However it is very large and the size of it is usually calculated by an engineer so that it is constructed correctly and made large enough to accommodate all the water going into it.

It is possible that you can have the property graded in such a way that all water is diverted to a drainage pit. Another option is to have drainage pipes at your house. These are pipes with holes in them to let water enter. They are then connected to a solid pipe which is pitched and leads to the drainage pit.

The pit should never have a pipe in it leading to neighbors' properties. This is actually illegal.

You probably need a drainage plan which shows the way the water problem is solved. At this point, I would recommend you contact an engineer that does this type of design work. They will be able to do a topographical survey of your property and then devise an appropriate plan for you. Have them then recommend a qualified contractor to follow their plan. I know this will cost some money but it should rectify your problem.

I hope this was helpful.

Susan

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