Rain and groundwater drainage piping and what to do with the water

   / Rain and groundwater drainage piping and what to do with the water #1  

jim_wilson

Veteran Member
Joined
Jun 13, 2004
Messages
1,772
Location
Northeast MA
Tractor
Kubota B3200 w/ BH77 & 12", 18" & 24" buckets, Kubota B50 SSQA w/ 54" & 60" buckets, LandPride FDR1660, Artillian Fork frame, Extreme 3pt rake, Concrete Mixer, MyTractorTools grapple adapter
After we moved into our place about ten years ago I discovered that we had a somewhat wet basement during certain times of the year.

To try and solve this problem I have installed some footer drain piping around the house foundation and also installed some other drain piping on other parts of the property where it appeared that there were drainage issues. I also installed drainage grates in front of each one of the garage bay openings for the new barn I built. The intention was to run piping over to the lowest part of the property and basically have them drain to the grade thru openings in a retaining wall I am putting in along that lowest part of the lot to allow me to build up the grade some.

I originally used a laser level to site everything out and figure out whether or not the piping would actually come out above grade in that location so they could naturally drain. I'm close to completing just one of the footer drainage pipes - and I've found that my calculations may have been a little off - since it's ending up about a foot and a half or so below grade in that location - and I can't really extend it out any further to make it come out above grade.

So it seems like I've got a problem there - and I'm not quite sure what the solution is. I was thinking of putting in a drywell - but I'm not sure if they're even legal around here (MA) . My other thought was just to put in a pit filled with rocks or sand and let the pipe drain into that and absorb into the soil - but I'm not really confident that will work because of what I've seen with the water table during the really wet season (it seems as if the water table is really close to the ground during a wet spring because you can dig down a foot or so - and it will fill up with water very quickly)

I'm wondering if maybe I dig down 6 or 7 feet if that would actually drain into the ground better - maybe the water is actually running along the soil layers and not absorbing in?

My sense is that a hole in the ground during the wet season around here is going to FILL with water from the surrounding ground though - not drain water that is dumped into it.

Then there's the issue of the drainage in front of the garage doors - it should be normally just run off from the driveway - does that need to get treated as contaminated water? Or can I just drain that off to grade also?

I'm starting to wonder if I shouldn't put in large sump and mount a pump in it - run some piping a couple hundred feet or so to the front of the property (highest part) - and dump the water to the storm drain system in the street.

I wanted to avoid this because it would rely on electricity to drain the water off and leave a pump to monitor and maintain - plus a bunch more piping to install.

Wondering what kind of suggestions people have on this problem
 
   / Rain and groundwater drainage piping and what to do with the water #2  

Husaria Farm

New member
Joined
May 4, 2013
Messages
3
Location
Ipswich, MA
Tractor
John Deere 4600
Jim,
I have many similar issues with my property (also in NE MA). Be aware that the conservation commission (Conscomm) in your town likely has jurisdiction over what you can do with the water. Especially if you are in an area around, next to or in wetlands. They recently passed storm-water runoff regulations which may not allow you to dump water into storm drains. I know, sounds ridiculous. But if you get in trouble with the ConsComm, watch out. A lot of this depends how active the commission is in your community. Your town hall likely has a copy of the regs you need to follow (or at least be aware of). Good luck. I spent three years getting an Order of Conditions approved to allow drainage improvements around my house including a dry well, berms, piping, a filter bed, and rain gardens. Spent the budget on getting the basement dry and usable on the approval process.

As far as your thoughts on solving your problems. Your dry well idea will likely fill with water in the spring and heavy rain periods making it irrelevant to fixing your drainage issue unless you find a sand seam in the ground similar to what they do for septic systems. The water needs to "perc" into the ground. If your soil conditions are anything like mine, then you may have a clay or similar layer that prevents the water to drain. Sometimes if you can break through that layer allowing the perc, you may be successful.

A sump can work in low lying areas only if you can direct water to drain away. They do have battery back-up systems in case of power failure. You would need to build a sump well to collect the water and in a fashion not to get clogged up with mud.

Hope I didn't discourage you. There is a solution to most problems. Just might not be an easy one.
 
   / Rain and groundwater drainage piping and what to do with the water
  • Thread Starter
#3  
OP
J

jim_wilson

Veteran Member
Joined
Jun 13, 2004
Messages
1,772
Location
Northeast MA
Tractor
Kubota B3200 w/ BH77 & 12", 18" & 24" buckets, Kubota B50 SSQA w/ 54" & 60" buckets, LandPride FDR1660, Artillian Fork frame, Extreme 3pt rake, Concrete Mixer, MyTractorTools grapple adapter
Jim,
I have many similar issues with my property (also in NE MA). Be aware that the conservation commission (Conscomm) in your town likely has jurisdiction over what you can do with the water. Especially if you are in an area around, next to or in wetlands. They recently passed storm-water runoff regulations which may not allow you to dump water into storm drains. I know, sounds ridiculous. But if you get in trouble with the ConsComm, watch out. A lot of this depends how active the commission is in your community. Your town hall likely has a copy of the regs you need to follow (or at least be aware of). Good luck. I spent three years getting an Order of Conditions approved to allow drainage improvements around my house including a dry well, berms, piping, a filter bed, and rain gardens. Spent the budget on getting the basement dry and usable on the approval process.

As far as your thoughts on solving your problems. Your dry well idea will likely fill with water in the spring and heavy rain periods making it irrelevant to fixing your drainage issue unless you find a sand seam in the ground similar to what they do for septic systems. The water needs to "perc" into the ground. If your soil conditions are anything like mine, then you may have a clay or similar layer that prevents the water to drain. Sometimes if you can break through that layer allowing the perc, you may be successful.

A sump can work in low lying areas only if you can direct water to drain away. They do have battery back-up systems in case of power failure. You would need to build a sump well to collect the water and in a fashion not to get clogged up with mud.

Hope I didn't discourage you. There is a solution to most problems. Just might not be an easy one.

I hadn't thought of the conservation commission - as far as I know - I am not near any wetlands, but I guess I'd have to check that. I thought about the drywell - but I'm pretty familiar with the way the water works on my property and I just don't think it's going to really work at the time of the year when it would be most needed - because the water level on the low part of my property is practically at grade during the wet season. I guess I'd have to go down and find a sand seam layer like you were suggesting - but I've already been down six feet or so on a few places in the property and there was no indication of a sand layer there anywhere.

I'm not a soil expert - but I think what I've got 2-3 feet down is a really hard packed clay/gravel layer - it's sort of a light yellowish beige color - hard packed and definitely not "sand". I dug down to it a few years back when I put the foundation in for my barn and after five years I've seen absolutely no signs of settling from that foundation so I believe this layer is pretty hard packed. At the time I was doing the excavation for that foundation - the hole sat over the winter - the next spring I got a trash pump to get all the water out of the hole so I could get the form guys in to do the concrete work - and once I had finally drained all the water out of the hole - there was literally water coming right out of the sides of the excavation. After a day or two of that - I noticed that all of the water that was underneath my house foundation was also gone - I had basically drained all the water from the lot into the foundation hole into that excavation and then pumped it all out.

Honestly what I'm trying to do is get something going that won't call too much attention to itself so I can just quietly take care of the problem without it turning into a federal case. I don't want to flood out the neighbors , pollute the water table - none of that. If the solution for dumping the water from the drainage grates in front of the garage is just to put in a leech field or something like that with a trap in front of it so it doesn't silt up - that's not a big deal for me.

I'm sort of wondering at this point though whether there is a solution for some of this stuff - if they cut off dumping water into the storm drains that cuts off one potential solution unless I just do something like make it it drain down the driveway so it's just not noticed.

My other thought was to pump all of the water into water storage - put in a couple thousand gallons of water storage capacity - and just pump all the water into that. That would keep it all on the lot - and it would allow me to water the crap out of the lawn and use it for gardening - etc . They do have water usage restrictions around here quite often - in fact we are under one now in a lot of the surrounding towns. All of the footer drain water would be clean rainwater- the water coming from the drainage grates along the garage are a potential problem because they would pick up contaminants from the driveway - but maybe there's a way to filter that?
 
   / Rain and groundwater drainage piping and what to do with the water #4  

dave1949

Super Star Member
Joined
Apr 17, 2009
Messages
12,559
Location
nowhere, md
Tractor
Hanomag
Sounds like a difficult problem.

When you sighted the drain line, that is ending up 18" below grade where you want the outlet, how much fall did you measure from the garage door grate to the retaining wall? How far is the distance and at what slope did you install the drain pipe at? Any wiggle room there?

It wouldn't take much of a pump to lift the water one or two feet just before it passes through the retaining wall if you built a sump pit there. Maybe you could have a solar powered pump that is backed up by a 120v pump when needed.

A big cistern would be useful by the sounds of it, but I think it would have to be really big to take up enough water to help. If it were open to the ground water, it seems like it be would full already when you need it. So, it would need to be something like one or more of those giant poly tanks buried in the ground.
 
   / Rain and groundwater drainage piping and what to do with the water
  • Thread Starter
#5  
OP
J

jim_wilson

Veteran Member
Joined
Jun 13, 2004
Messages
1,772
Location
Northeast MA
Tractor
Kubota B3200 w/ BH77 & 12", 18" & 24" buckets, Kubota B50 SSQA w/ 54" & 60" buckets, LandPride FDR1660, Artillian Fork frame, Extreme 3pt rake, Concrete Mixer, MyTractorTools grapple adapter
Sounds like a difficult problem.

When you sighted the drain line, that is ending up 18" below grade where you want the outlet, how much fall did you measure from the garage door grate to the retaining wall? How far is the distance and at what slope did you install the drain pipe at? Any wiggle room there?

It wouldn't take much of a pump to lift the water one or two feet just before it passes through the retaining wall if you built a sump pit there. Maybe you could have a solar powered pump that is backed up by a 120v pump when needed.

A big cistern would be useful by the sounds of it, but I think it would have to be really big to take up enough water to help. If it were open to the ground water, it seems like it be would full already when you need it. So, it would need to be something like one or more of those giant poly tanks buried in the ground.

Yeah - there's no real wiggle room there. Most of the pipe is already buried - it was a good 2-3 years ago that I did it and the details are sort of hazy about what I measured out - but I am sure that when I buried the pipe I put in as shallow a pitch as I thought I could get away with and still get it to drain. I'm thinking that the cistern with pump idea might be my way out. I have thought off and on about putting in rainwater collection and storage anyway - so maybe this is my excuse. I'd have to bit the bullet and spend the money to put in the underground storage and figure out how to plumb the system - but at least that would give me a place to dump the water to even if I did have to pump it around a little to get it there.

From what I've been reading the restrictions on what you can do with water have gotten worse - putting it into rainwater storage would likely comply with any rules around "keeping water on the property" and it would give me water storage to water the lawn or garden as much as I wanted to during the dry months. The cost of the actual storage is the biggest thing that has kept me from putting in storage already - it usually costs about $1.25-$1.50 per gallon of storage capacity from what I've seen. So it starts getting expensive when you're looking at more than a rain barrels' worth of storage.
 
   / Rain and groundwater drainage piping and what to do with the water #6  

dodge man

Super Member
Joined
Oct 25, 2008
Messages
8,679
Location
West central Illinois
Tractor
JD 2025R
One thing you need to look at is the volume of storage. I think you will find that even a couple of large tanks will get filled up during a large rain, and they you will be back to square one, what to do with the water. I don't think you want to try and store all of the water, maybe just enough to water your lawn, and they you still need to figure out the best way to get rid of the rest of it.
 
   / Rain and groundwater drainage piping and what to do with the water #7  

dave1949

Super Star Member
Joined
Apr 17, 2009
Messages
12,559
Location
nowhere, md
Tractor
Hanomag
I've looked at those large tanks when I was researching solar hot water space heat systems. They are not cheap and I don't know where you could look for a used one. You wouldn't want one with certain types of contamination from previous use.
 
   / Rain and groundwater drainage piping and what to do with the water #8  

GLyford

Veteran Member
Joined
Feb 25, 2009
Messages
1,296
Location
MA
MA also has restrictions on cisterns, as they assume you will try to use it for potable water. I have a few rain barrels about and most will fill up completely with just one good storm, or only a couple of light rains...and those are off of sheds with smaller area than the house.

My gut reaction would be to lessen the drain pitch to minimum (say 1/10 or 1/8 per foot or less, as opposed to the usual 1/4" per foot) though that would mean digging all your piping up again.

But since water will find its own level, maybe you can find a way to use that. Perhaps a dry well part way down the slope, with the input lower than the output "overflow", which then slopes to daylight at your retaining wall? You'd have standing water in the input pipe to the level of the output pipe until the soil dried out enough to where the drywell itself would drain into the soil again, but it might be good enough to get you past the worst of it.

Just a thought...
 
   / Rain and groundwater drainage piping and what to do with the water
  • Thread Starter
#9  
OP
J

jim_wilson

Veteran Member
Joined
Jun 13, 2004
Messages
1,772
Location
Northeast MA
Tractor
Kubota B3200 w/ BH77 & 12", 18" & 24" buckets, Kubota B50 SSQA w/ 54" & 60" buckets, LandPride FDR1660, Artillian Fork frame, Extreme 3pt rake, Concrete Mixer, MyTractorTools grapple adapter
One thing you need to look at is the volume of storage. I think you will find that even a couple of large tanks will get filled up during a large rain, and they you will be back to square one, what to do with the water. I don't think you want to try and store all of the water, maybe just enough to water your lawn, and they you still need to figure out the best way to get rid of the rest of it.

Yeah - I've got to go and do some sort of estimate on how much storage space I would need based on how much collection area and rainfall we get. A storage system would need to have an overflow - but I think I could pipe that off to a different part of the lot and drain to grade. The water storage would basically act as a 'buffer'
 
   / Rain and groundwater drainage piping and what to do with the water
  • Thread Starter
#10  
OP
J

jim_wilson

Veteran Member
Joined
Jun 13, 2004
Messages
1,772
Location
Northeast MA
Tractor
Kubota B3200 w/ BH77 & 12", 18" & 24" buckets, Kubota B50 SSQA w/ 54" & 60" buckets, LandPride FDR1660, Artillian Fork frame, Extreme 3pt rake, Concrete Mixer, MyTractorTools grapple adapter
MA also has restrictions on cisterns, as they assume you will try to use it for potable water. I have a few rain barrels about and most will fill up completely with just one good storm, or only a couple of light rains...and those are off of sheds with smaller area than the house.

My gut reaction would be to lessen the drain pitch to minimum (say 1/10 or 1/8 per foot or less, as opposed to the usual 1/4" per foot) though that would mean digging all your piping up again.

But since water will find its own level, maybe you can find a way to use that. Perhaps a dry well part way down the slope, with the input lower than the output "overflow", which then slopes to daylight at your retaining wall? You'd have standing water in the input pipe to the level of the output pipe until the soil dried out enough to where the drywell itself would drain into the soil again, but it might be good enough to get you past the worst of it.

Just a thought...

Geezus - I didn't realize they had restrictions on cisterns too. Sometimes I really hate this state. I wouldn't hook this thing up on any way to the water in the house - I'm thinking of it exclusively for watering the lawn and garden and maybe I'd put in a hydrant for washing the cars or something like that. Outside water only.
 
 
Top