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Thread: Do you guys do drainage questions?

  1. #1
    DIY Member RCraig's Avatar
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    Default Do you guys do drainage questions?

    toilet problem of several months ago completely solved due to the help of many people on this forum.

    Next, very different issue: large amount of water accumulation in driveway after it rains. It started years ago as a small pool that my then small son liked to play in. The water now fills the driveway such that as you drive in from the street, you are driving through a minor lake. Luckily, it accumulates in the half of the driveway that comes in from the street (not much water in the portion of the driveway that is close to the house).

    The driveway is dirt/gravel. I think there must be shifts going on in the level of the driveway versus the level of the street we live on. I rented a small pump (Geyser II) and pumped the water over to the storm drain just down the street. This worked well, but it is only a temporary solution as the lake will fill up again next time there is precipitation. The other problem is that I live in New Hampshire and last winter we had an ice rink in the driveway.

    THanks, RUth

  2. #2
    DIY scratch-pad engineer leejosepho's Avatar
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    A local landscaper would be able to actually take a look at your drive and its surrounding area and possibly make some suggestions, but I can tell you at least a little since I also have a gravel drive that used to occasionally pool.

    Over time, gravel drives tend to get low in the center. They need to be at least flat, if not crowned. Then, they either need to be higher than the surrounding grass or whatever (if they do not readily drain down quickly), or else they need some kind of drainage system underneath them. To drain away water from right next to my house and in front of the garage, I have a deep, rock-filled trench running from under the drive in that area and on over into an area away from the house that drains much better. However, your own solution might be as simple as having another load of gravel dumped and spread in the area that tends to flood.

  3. #3
    DIY Member RCraig's Avatar
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    Thanks so much for the information. My neighbor has some gravel and we did add some to the driveway. The lake is very huge, that is when it rained most recently. My neighbor kindly offered us the rest of his gravel, as he doesn't need it any more. However, my fear is that if we put lots more gravel down, the water will run back towards the house. In other words, the current situation is tolerable because the lake is at the end of the driveway away from the house. If I put lots of gravel down there, I am not sure where the water will go.

    We had the driveway measured. from the door of the garage to the street is exactly level. Not a good situation as far as I understand these things. Thanks again for any thoughts or advice you might have. My general fear is that I have a drainage problem and I am not sure that I can solve it very well by working on the driveway. My other fear is that drainage means digging things up and perhaps backhoes and things that cost a huge amount of money. Ruth

  4. #4

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    Hi, I live in NH, have a gravel driveway and am familiar with the ice rink. There are a couple of approaches to solving this. The easiest is what you are doing, build up the driveway so that it is higher than the grass on either side of it. The rain will accumulate in the grass instead of the driveway. Alternatively you need to find a low spot you can dig a trench to to allow the water to run away from the driveway. This is more expensive and will require digging, gravel and I'd throw in a corrugated drainage pipe for good measure. Also if you think water from the street is flowing onto your property contact the town, they may be able to help in that case.

    If you cannot solve the problem either of these ways, then you should consider getting a landscaper to look over the situation and give you advise as to what to do.

  5. #5
    DIY Member RCraig's Avatar
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    Good points, and it is nice to have someone who understands the NH ice rink phenomenon.

    I am someone nervous about the option of building up the outer portion of the driveway in my case. The reason is that it is really quite a bit lower than the surrounding grass. I would have to add probably at least 3- 5 inches of gravel. Several fears: one is that the gravel would have nothing to keep it in place and would start invading the lawn, making problems for lawnmowing next summer. The other fear is that such a build up of the outer portion of the driveway where the water pools (THINK BIG POOL) might end up sending water back towards the house. In other words, I don't want the net result to be a big pool in the inner portion of the driveway adjacent to the house, resulting in water seeping into the garage.

    The driveway is not particularly helpful in terms of slope. The outer portion of the driveway is lower than the level of the street. As you drive into the driveway, there is a slight upward incline. I believe that this is what is keeping the water to the outer portion of the driveway. The driveway then slopes downward a bit as you head into the garage.

    Anyway, I hadn't thought about whether water from the street is coming into my driveway. Much of the pool is probably rain that is falling on our property. However, you are likely right, rain that falls in the street in front of our house may well be adding to the pool. I can probably test this with food coloring or other types of tricks I learned from this forum when I had the toilet problem.

    Snowing up here today, but rain predicted for tomorrow. THanks again< Ruth

  6. #6
    DIY Member RCraig's Avatar
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    Default Utility pump - Simer Geyser III

    Does anyone have experience with this pump. I rented one and it worked like a charm to remove the lake from my driveway.

    I am thinking I should buy one. Here is my question: Driveway is dirt and gravel. I cannot get a clear understanding from the product literature as to whether it is ok to use this pump repeatedly in this mucky situation. It worked fine with the rented pump. But if I buy a pump, it don't want it to be filled with dirt/girt and break down after a couple of uses.

    If anyone has any ideas of pumps that would be useful for this situation (pumping water out of dirt/gravel driveway, water is not deep but there is a lot of it) -- could you let me know. Thanks, Ruth

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    Master Plumber Redwood's Avatar
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    Ruth I like to think of mechanical pumping as a last resort.
    Is there any possibility of putting in a catch basin and a line to drain it away?
    Even to a drywell would be better than a pump.

  8. #8

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    As Redwood pointed out a pump is a last resort solution.

    I have no experience with that pump. That said my experience with sump pumps is that they will handle slightly muddy water without a problem. I have used them repeatedly in such conditions and none failed or showed rapid wear. Gravel is another story, but gravel should be heavy enough that it won't float and won't get sucked into the pump in the first place. The one thing you have to watch out for is leaves. They can get sucked up against the pump's intake screen and block the flow of water. This will cause the pump to overheat as most are water cooled (and if the pump does not have thermal overload protection it will burn out). Most new pumps have thermal overload protection, however it only provides so much protection. Trip the overload enough times (as soon as the pump cools down it will restart automatically in most cases) and the pump may burn up anyway.

    I know a drywell is a pain and more expensive to install, but once it was done it would work virtually forever and all you would need to do for maintenance is clear the leaves out of the grate in the driveway occasionally. If you get the pump think of it as a short term solution.

    EDIT:Ok I looked up the pump. Not much info on it as you said. I believe that it has an auto shutoff when it pumps down all the water yes? If so the leaf problem won't be as critical. Also I believe it has a fairly tight filter screen so no gravel worries. Make sure not to place it on dirt as the intake is on the bottom. Also DON'T ALLOW IT TO FREEZE WITH WATER INSIDE IT. You don't have to store it in a heated space, but you have to be sure to drain it out good.

    -rick
    Last edited by drick; 12-11-2008 at 08:17 PM.

  9. #9
    Master Plumber Redwood's Avatar
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    Freeze it will in New Hampshire!

  10. #10
    DIY Member RCraig's Avatar
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    Sorry to reveal my ignorance. I don't know what a catch basin with a line to drain it away is. Very unfortunately, I also don't know what a drywell is.

    I know that the pump is not the solution. It is only a temporary patch. So I am very interested in learning about these other possibilities. Thanks, Ruth

  11. #11
    Master Plumber Redwood's Avatar
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    A catch basin would be similar though smaller than the drains used along the roads. A pipe or line which is pitched to drain by gravity either to an open area or a perforated container underground surrounded by process stone where the water can easily run into the ground.

  12. #12
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    A sump pump is a bad choice for a problem like this. The screen will cover over with leaves and other debris and burn the pump up.

    A sewage pump that will handle 2" solids would be a far better choice. They are of coarse more money, but they will work.

    I agree also that a catch basin would be ideal with a place for the water to soak in naturally.

    bob...

  13. #13
    DIY Member RCraig's Avatar
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    Default catch basin and sewage pump

    Thanks for these thoughts. I know a catch basin or some kind of improved drainage is really the only solution to my problem, the thing I am worried about is the cost. My neighbors had a similar problem. They ended up spending thousands and thousands, they needed perforated pipes put in underground along their drive way, and these then connect to the storm drain that runs along our street.

    When I rented that little pump, I just had to pump the water about 10 feet. Once I get the water out to the street, it will flow right down and go to the storm drain and disappear forever! The problem is that our driveway is a bit lower than the street right out front. So water accumulates in the driveway. If you can get it out and over just a bit, it heads for the storm drain.

    About the sewage pumps, I checked your web site, and here is the part I am not sure of. The pump I am using attaches to a garden hose. The place where the water is pulled in is covered by a black mesh-type screen. This pump is a portable thing, not a permanent solution. I just pump the water out, and then return the pump to the rental place. I am a little worried about the sewage pumps not being fitted to my application, which is a very shallow "lake" that fills up the entire driveway. There is a large amount of water, but it is not very deep.

    Thanks so much again, we had another storm so despite all my pumping I have an ice rink in my driveway. Ruth

    PS. What is a drywell? Perhaps someone could enlighten me as to how this compares to a catch basin? R
    Last edited by RCraig; 12-13-2008 at 03:18 PM. Reason: additional thought

  14. #14
    Master Plumber Redwood's Avatar
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    The catch basin mearly catches the water.
    It would then have to be piped to the storm sewer or other place to get rid of it.

    A dry well is a possibility. It is a container or several containers together like the one shown below. Process stone is placed around this container to help the water absorption into the soil.


    \There are other configurations possible but this is the concept.

  15. #15
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    The pump I am using attaches to a garden hose.
    +

    So we are not talking about much water at all. That kind of pump will only move about 5 gallons per minute. The sewage pump I'm referring to would move 100 gpm. It would also pump two inch solids. It would only be used if you had a catch basin that would also end up with leaves and twigs in it. The one Redwood mentioned above would be the best solution, but I don't know what your driveway would look like afterwords.

    bob...

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