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Author Topic: Dewatering - Groundwater issue  (Read 964 times)

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Offline square1

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Dewatering - Groundwater issue
« on: December 04, 2019, 07:06:53 AM »
A question for those having been around the block a time or two more than I. 

My friend's sump pump is kicking on within 45 seconds of shutting off.  This is a new development (26 years she has lived in this house).  We've hit a stretch of a couple weeks straight of either rain or snow that melts quickly. 

This past summer she had many,  many shrubs & bushes removed around the perimeter of her house because she was told they were too close to her foundation.  I've helped her slope the dirt away from the foundation in the areas where removing the shrubs left low ground near the house and we've ran the downspouts out 10' from the house toward lower ground to no avail. 

The high groundwater keeps flowing into the sump crock and the pump is running almost non stop. It is also affecting the house drains negatively 

Any ideas or proven methods to move ground water away would be greatly appreciated.

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Re: Dewatering - Groundwater issue
« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2019, 07:29:57 AM »
Are there exterior perimeter footing drains? Assuming so, it sounds like they are not doing their job. Find and snake them as much as possible, try to get them working again.
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Offline square1

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Re: Dewatering - Groundwater issue
« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2019, 07:44:26 AM »
I haven't found anything that resembles a clean-out for drains in the crawlspace or outside except for the line to the septic tank. Granted I don't know if perimeter foundation drains would have an easy access clean out. Do you typically have to unearth them? Thanks.

I should add water has been standing for the past week in neighboring lawns that are lower than hers in greater amounts than ever before (to her knowledge). The ground is saturated. While working on downspouts there was water coming up through the grass where I stepped.

Offline wisconsitom

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Re: Dewatering - Groundwater issue
« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2019, 09:36:24 AM »
Square1, I might be wrong about this, but I'm right across the big lake from you and it has just been very, very wet this year.  I'm seeing water standing in areas it never did before (in my experience).

A bit about perimeter drains;  My 100+-year-old house never had a sump pit.  We would get tiny amounts of water after prodigious rainfall events.  Little trouble.  I was told that this old house probably had a tile system around the foundation perimeter that likely ties into the sanitary sewer somewhere.

Fast forward to 2019 and my street is getting reconstructed.  New sewer and water mains, new laterals where needed, and the option to put in a "mini sewer" which is a separate drain line for sump pump output to go directly into street stormwater collection system.  I opted to just put in the stub, so if I want to later, I can tap into that.  But when we learned that this reconstruction was taking place, I had the worry that when the suspected old tie-in was severed, I would now have water problems in the basement.  The laterals and the coming assessment were already going to be expensive for us, but I elected to spend still more dollars and do the safe thing and put in a pit and pump.

But when we dug the pit and did the associated plumbing down in the basement, we never found a tie-in to sanitary.  No nothing, no clue.....it may be that there is some kind of long-buried French drain....or maybe it just drains to....nothing!  So I am told by the excellent building inspectors that I know.  They say that anything and everything can be found in these old drainage systems.

Not much help I know, but at least, don't be surprised if you can't find a cleanout or any other clue for that matter, as to how your old tile system may be working-or not.

Many, many shrubs and bushes were also soaking up a lot of soil moisture.  They're gone now, and that too could be a partial factor in this.  But my suspicion is that it is just the excessive moisture that nature has been providing those of us in the north recently.

Offline Old Greenhorn

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Re: Dewatering - Groundwater issue
« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2019, 10:22:29 AM »
This may or may not help but we had a problem at my folks house with short cycling. Turned out the line was clogged due to a collapse. The water was pumping up and out just outside the wall, then coming back in right away. Also had a problem with a long line that was running right back down the line and refilling the sump. Installed a check valve in the line solved that problem.
 For the collapsed line I wound up hand digging a 60' trench 2' deep (that was fun!) and running new PVC instead of the old tar pipe they had. It was a sharp downhill run from the wall penetration, so there was never a freezing problem.
 Good Luck.
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Online Crusarius

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Re: Dewatering - Groundwater issue
« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2019, 10:58:17 AM »
I had the same problem. the corrugated pipe was filled with dirt and water went to other side of the well then right back in.

Dug up the pipe and replaced it. all is good now.

Offline square1

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Re: Dewatering - Groundwater issue
« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2019, 11:42:27 AM »
Thanks for sharing your experiences. I'm hoping somewhere in these answers I find a solution.
I can see the sump pump discharge outlet. It's some distance from the house and is dispensing a good stream of water when its running.
The larger areas of standing water than before, increased sump pump activity, and slow drains leads me to believe the bushes (there were a lot) that were removed took a lot of water out of the soil. Now we need another method to do that. 
Any thoughts on burying a 55 gal drum with holes in it and pumping any water collected off into the distant low areas? Or am I going after bear with a BB gun with that idea?

Offline wisconsitom

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Re: Dewatering - Groundwater issue
« Reply #7 on: December 04, 2019, 12:04:11 PM »
I should have thought of this earlier Square1, but does your system include a check valve?  If not, all the water that is remaining in the pipe run, but not quite pumped out into the yard can now drain back down into the pit,  The pump has to keep pumping essentially the same water over and over again.  Could this be the case?  When I rigged mine up, using a submersible pump, I placed a short stub of pvc from the pump outlet.  To this I attached a simple check valve from the hardware store.  

If you've already got this, then this message can be safely ignored.  I don't really know if you'll get anywhere with the barrel idea.  My sense right at this time is that if you're living anywhere from Maine to Minnesota, you are in an area of pronounced wetness, both this year and last.

Offline Arctiva

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Re: Dewatering - Groundwater issue
« Reply #8 on: December 22, 2019, 05:50:42 PM »
I get water in my crawl space, I pump it out to the yard that has standing water in it for it to soak back into the ground and come back into the crawl space. Difference being I have no standing water in crawl space. Bushes no amount will make any difference in groundwater level. It's been a wet 2 years. 

Offline retiredmechanic

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Re: Dewatering - Groundwater issue
« Reply #9 on: January 07, 2020, 07:19:11 PM »
not immediate solution but for long term, planting trees that suck a lot of water like willow trees can be used and the type of soil that is there has a lot to do with high moisture levels but daunting task to change the soil obviously, but the easiest solution in my book would be french drains around perimeter installed then re sealing the basement walls however I have never lived up north soooo... all I know is that ground saturation can cause serious problems when lasting long term Good Luck 
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Offline Al_Smith

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Re: Dewatering - Groundwater issue
« Reply #10 on: January 08, 2020, 09:51:37 AM »
A solution to some degree could be a series of "french drains " If the property sits above blue clay for example it's almost impervious to water penetration .This is the stuff they make clay tile and bricks from .You need an auger to go through maybe 8 feet of it and then fill the hole with large stone like number 1's and 2's limestone .It just allows the surface water to have a place to go below the clay if that's the problem . 

Offline Randy88

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Re: Dewatering - Groundwater issue
« Reply #11 on: March 19, 2020, 10:59:53 PM »
Not sure exactly what your soil type is, but I've done this for a living now for over 20 years, dewatering soil, some call it ag drainage.    

First off not knowing the soil type, planting plants will do nothing to aid your situation, mostly hinder it.    An inch of rain per acre is 27100 gallons of water, so depending on how large of area your dealing with and how many inches of rain above normal you've had, you can do the math to know how many gallons your dealing with each year on your house lot or acreage.     

I don't know if your house already has a perimeter drain around the foundation or not or anything under the basement floor itself that dumps into the sump pump.    

Around me, with twice the average rainfall each year, like its been the last five years or so now, gravity seems to work the best in the long run to solve this issue.    We've been digging up around the houses to the footings, installing plastic barrier made to go against basement walls and screwing that to the house sill to hold it in place, then installing drain tile along and below the footing all the way around the house so it slopes to either away from the house if there is slope to get it out on top of the ground and drain away, say a couple hundred feet away and let it outlet itself that way.   Or slope it towards the house in a central location and install a huge sump pit, and much larger sump pump and pump it out and away from the house if gravity isn't an option.     Then backfill along the entire house with crushed gravel up to the sill, then put a little dirt over the gravel to cover it up.    

All willow tree's will do is plug up any tile, septic drain lines or anything else and require you to replace everything in short order, same for bushes, shrubs, tree's or whatever you plant.    Nothing alive and growing can absorb enough water to make up for the excess we've been seeing the last few years.

With high water tables, most private septic systems are overloaded and not working properly, most basements are having issues with excess water damage and many basements are totally unusable for anything but poor indoor pools.   

If your not having issues with water coming back up the drains and filling the basement with water that way and your sump pump is keeping up even running non stop, consider yourself a very lucky person and if money is tight, I'd do nothing and hope for a dryer year myself.    All other options get much higher priced very quickly.    

We've had to do several houses lately that had living in the basement, only the owners came home to four feet of water in their basement and it was coming from up out of the basement drains, destroyed everything inside the basement and insurance paid for everything including what we did outside to remedy the situation with drain tile, crushed rock and plenty of tile and removing all the tree's, shrubs and doing the complete landscaping that was needed along with hooking up all the downspouts of the house to drain tile to aid moving the water away from the yard, and the several thousand feet of tile needed to tile the entire yard to lower the water table low enough they could again have living in the basement, along with mold removal from the entire house, not to mention all the interior material had to be replaced as well, several were close to 100,000 dollar claims once all said and done to fix what mother nature did in the first place. 

I can help answer any and all questions, but no I will not come there in person with equipment to work on the problem, I'm busy enough locally with the same issues, times many hundred more also due to excess rain.     

Offline peakbagger

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Re: Dewatering - Groundwater issue
« Reply #12 on: March 20, 2020, 08:29:15 AM »
FYI Make sure your insurance covers water backup, many polices specific exclude unless there is a rider purchased.

Offline Randy88

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Re: Dewatering - Groundwater issue
« Reply #13 on: March 20, 2020, 08:37:41 AM »
Many areas can't even get coverage for water damage anymore, even as a rider.    

Some companies call it flood damage protection, and if your in a flood plane or prone to flooding, doubt you can even get coverage.    Others call it damage due to excess water, as in a water pipe breaks or some other similar circumstance and has nothing to do with being in a flood plane.   

Those that had coverage I know about, were not in a flood plane and it was not deemed flood related, meaning it came out of the pipes of the house itself, even though it was the basement drain the water came up from.      The other issue was, in order to get paid on the claim, the owner had to take precautions it wouldn't happen again.   

Offline Al_Smith

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Re: Dewatering - Groundwater issue
« Reply #14 on: March 20, 2020, 01:21:18 PM »
In many cases if you cut to the chase some homes should never been built with either basements or excavated crawl spaces. I have a later ,the grade below should have raised rather than lowered. The crawl space should have been  far above natural grade with banked sides on the outside .That plus some home builders should find another way to make a living.Having said all that if you're stuck with it you have to do something .
I have two sump pumps ,one deep one high .Would you believe not too long ago both failed .So me with knee boots on in 12" of water replacing it .I still haven't replaced the high pump and I'm still grumbling about it . >:(

Offline Ianab

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Re: Dewatering - Groundwater issue
« Reply #15 on: March 20, 2020, 05:53:32 PM »
In many cases if you cut to the chase some homes should never been built with either basements or excavated crawl spaces.


Here in NZ it rains a lot, so below grade basements are very uncommon. If I dug down 8 ft here, I'd likely have 7 ft of water in the hole most of the year. :D
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