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Thread: Yard flooding

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member bcdudley's Avatar
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    Default Yard flooding

    We moved into our house about 6 months ago. When we did the back yard was in immaculate condition. About 2 months afterwards, water started running down the alley out of a drainage culvert behind our house. A couple days later we started noticing soggy spots in the yard. Now, most of the backyard is a mud pit. We had the city come out and look, but they would not do anything. This was during the middle of a multi month sever drought. We are still on stage 3 water restriction. I need help. Here is a picture and drawing to help illustrate. The alley is about 30 feet higher in elevation than the street in front of our house.





    The flooding is mostly occurring in the upper part of the yard. The drain in the middle of the yard runs to the front of the house and has a constant and steady stream of water pouring out of it. I measured about a month ago and it was about a gallon a minute. The water is coming out of the ground further up the hill behind my house. It seems to be coming from a vacant rent house about a half mile away. The yard there looks nice, but if you take a step into it, your foot sinks up past the ankle in mud. The city checked and said there was not water flowing through the meter so it must be a natural spring. I measured that at about 10 gallons a minute coming down the culvert. The majority of the water is flowing down the alley, but I think there is enough of it getting into our yard somehow to flood it out.

    The city drainage guy that came out said that we have utility lines (Phone, electric and cable. No water) in the back yard and the water is flowing through the pipes into our yard and that is causing the flooding. There is a cemetery about 2 or 3 miles uphill from us and he says the water is all the washout from that.

    I spoke with a neighbor who has been in the neighborhood for over 30 years and they said they the alley used to be a creek. The city rerouted the creek when they built the neighborhood. I have been told that sometimes when you reroute a creek like that, the water can find it's way back.

    Since there is an utility easement, I am not allowed to dig in the affected area to install any type of drain. The easement is the back half of our upper yard, right about where the railroad ties end.

    Please help with any suggestions.

    Thank you.

  2. #2
    DIY Junior Member Mitchgo's Avatar
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    Check with your local codes .. I have a feeling whoever told you that you aren't allowed to dig in the utility easement is wrong. I could be wrong though due to your codes. where I live you must call in for utility locates but digging is okay. As long as they do there locates they aren't liable for any damages that you may cause. I've even dug across the states natural gas pipe line 10' in diameter only at 3' in depth ( with of course the gas guys watching me ). As a irrigator- while digging I run into utilities more then you can imagine.

    Well for one-I'm a irrigation expert and not drainage expert. But like most things in life- to solve the problem is how much you are willing to invest into it.

    A simple effort would be to install a drainage system around the perimeter of the fence 2' down with perferated pipe 1" drain rock / sand and tie into your existing drain. A company could easily do that in 3/4 day-full day .

    A advanced effort would involve replacing all of your soil in the back with a sandy loam and 4" of top soil ( Actually not as big of deal as it seems ) with an elaborate drainage system to collect and divert water run off.

    Unfortunately - there is no simple solution that will just 'fix the issue'
    Last edited by Mitchgo; 01-27-2012 at 12:34 AM.

  3. #3
    DIY Junior Member gunner95's Avatar
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    Default Dallas sprinkler repair guy

    The only pipes in your back yard are sprinkler pipes. 99% of the time it is a sprinkler issue, especially if it stayed wet during the drought last summer. Try turning off your sprinkler control valve in the front by the water meter and see if it dries up. If it does then you know its a sprinkler issue and go from there. Read the troubleshooting info at www.dallas-sprinkler-repair.com and call me if you have any questions.

  4. #4
    DIY Junior Member bcdudley's Avatar
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    I had the sprinkler system turned off for the last 3 months and the yard stayed wet. I also put down lots of winter rye to help try to soak up the water. It kept the mud at bay, but the whole yard is still very soggy. I have also checked the meter over a weekend we were gone the entire time and it did not move, so I am certain the water is not coming from anything of ours.

    Is there any type of equipment for locating the source of the water if it is coming from one of the utility lines, maybe like a listening device?

  5. #5
    DIY Junior Member Mitchgo's Avatar
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    It's possible the cities main is leaking. It's pretty normal for a water districts piping system to have 5-10% of water loss with no knowledge of where it is unless massive investigation is done. I'm not sure if the city will conduct a investigation with an accoustical leak detector from the request of a homeowner.

    It's possible that one of your neighbors upstream of you has a leak and the runoff is going into your yard.

    It's possible that a city drain could have broke and the water is running into your yard.

    Even in drought conditions there are underwater springs . The location of these change as well due to water will always follow the path of least resistance

    After rereading your first post it seems you have done as much as you can do outside of your property already

    I think the best thing for you to do is to divert the water from your house rather then trying to find the source/issue.
    Last edited by Mitchgo; 03-17-2012 at 10:18 AM.

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