Neighbor's drainage issue causing problems

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
maggabelle
Posts: 32
Joined: Fri Apr 14, 2017 2:44 pm

Neighbor's drainage issue causing problems

Post by maggabelle » Mon Jul 02, 2018 6:57 pm

UPDATED: The city public works employee went out and took a look. He dug the drain out: https://imgur.com/a/tCaCykn and let the business owner know that they are responsible for cleaning it. When he called back he said he didn't think they were even aware that they had a drain on their property, but that they were receptive to maintaining it.

My property is located directly next to a commercially owned building owned by the company that occupies it. The commercial property has a parking lot that drains to a small area (15ft by 20ft of grass) that has some sort of in-ground spherical metal grate - presumably hooked up to the city storm sewer. This grate is only about 6 feet from my property line and the grading in this area is very flat. My home is built about 4 feet from my property line (in the 1920's), so this drain is about 10 feet from the foundation of my house.

When it rains heavily - and it does frequently - this drain is not sufficient. I am unsure whether this is due to a clog or whether this is a capacity issue, but water pools in the area and I have had up to 5 inches of standing water against the side of my house and water coming in the basement as a result.

I have drafted a letter I plan to send via certified mail. I have also contacted my insurance company and alerted them to the issue. The third thing I've done is call up public works for my city and asked them to take a look at it. The gentleman from the city I spoke with wasn't sure if there was anything they could do. If the drainage system was code compliant when installed, then it wouldn't matter if it was no longer adequate unless they had made changes without permits. He told me he'd go out and take a look at it and if it is a clog issue, he can talk to them, but I'm just not sure that will be sufficient.

Are there any other steps I should be taking? I was eventually hoping to finish this basement, but as it stands it is completely unfinished and likely to stay that way if water can't be stopped from pooling against the house. Insurance would not cover damage from this issue and the previous owner stated that the house had no water problems (obviously untrue).
Last edited by maggabelle on Wed Jul 11, 2018 8:09 pm, edited 2 times in total.

megabad
Posts: 287
Joined: Fri Jun 01, 2018 4:00 pm

Re: Neighbor's drainage issue causing problems

Post by megabad » Mon Jul 02, 2018 7:06 pm

How old is commercial property? Has it been modified over the years? Would contact a lawyer. In some cases, if owner made modifications to property (or parking lot) that might have made the problem worse (overtly or not), owner may be responsible for damage to adjacent properties. Modifications might include something minor such as changes to landscaping or repaving. not legal advice.

User avatar
TxAg
Posts: 1243
Joined: Sat Oct 17, 2009 11:09 am

Re: Neighbor's drainage issue causing problems

Post by TxAg » Mon Jul 02, 2018 7:12 pm

Worst case scenario, could you add dirt along your side of the house to help push water the other direction?

adamthesmythe
Posts: 2080
Joined: Mon Sep 22, 2014 4:47 pm

Re: Neighbor's drainage issue causing problems

Post by adamthesmythe » Mon Jul 02, 2018 7:15 pm

Before you send the letter, you may want to review drainage law (yes, there is such a thing) in your state.

maggabelle
Posts: 32
Joined: Fri Apr 14, 2017 2:44 pm

Re: Neighbor's drainage issue causing problems

Post by maggabelle » Mon Jul 02, 2018 7:17 pm

TxAg wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 7:12 pm
Worst case scenario, could you add dirt along your side of the house to help push water the other direction?
We've considered that and still think that might help, but there is SO much water in this area that I don't think it would fix the problem.

We've also considered digging a trench and installing drainage tile (the black tubing with the holes), covering it with rock, and taking it all the way to the back of our property to help funnel the water away from the area. This would be a significant amount of work though for something that seems to be their issue.

maggabelle
Posts: 32
Joined: Fri Apr 14, 2017 2:44 pm

Re: Neighbor's drainage issue causing problems

Post by maggabelle » Mon Jul 02, 2018 7:23 pm

megabad wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 7:06 pm
How old is commercial property? Has it been modified over the years? Would contact a lawyer. In some cases, if owner made modifications to property (or parking lot) that might have made the problem worse (overtly or not), owner may be responsible for damage to adjacent properties. Modifications might include something minor such as changes to landscaping or repaving. not legal advice.
The commercial building was built in 1991. At some point they planted trees in the area with the drainage - pine trees - and there are always a significant amount of pine needles in the area and covering the drain (I think these keep the water from draining). The current owner has only owned the building since 2016 - it was owned by the county before, but the current owner was previously the tenant of the building while the county owned it. I have only owned this house since October of 2016.

maggabelle
Posts: 32
Joined: Fri Apr 14, 2017 2:44 pm

Re: Neighbor's drainage issue causing problems

Post by maggabelle » Mon Jul 02, 2018 7:31 pm

adamthesmythe wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 7:15 pm
Before you send the letter, you may want to review drainage law (yes, there is such a thing) in your state.
I've been looking into it, but it is very dry reading. :p

This is what I have learned:

It sounds like in my state (Iowa), the landowner who has higher elevation may drain water onto lower elevation property, but the dominant estate (higher elevation) cannot alter the natural drainage of the land to such an extent as to cause substantial damage. I would hope that water getting in the basement counts as substantial enough damage.

The dominant estate also cannot change the drainage of their property and redirect the water onto mine. I think that constructing a parking lot and causing the vast majority of water from the property to channel to that one area should count as redirecting the water. And it may be that the drain installed in the area should be adequate but is not due to lack of maintenance on it. The city should have had to approve the drainage proposed when the building was constructed.

They do have a right to create an artificial watercourse, but I, as an adjacent landowner, am not obligated to receive the water. "If the artificial watercourse alters its course and flows onto land where it would not have flowed previously, the adjacent landowner is not obligated to receive the drainage."


When I alerted my insurance company they recommended sending the letter after I described the situation. Not that they are experts, but they said that the water collected in that area is the responsibility of the landowner who has an inadequate or not maintained drain and the water should not be my problem.

User avatar
3CT_Paddler
Posts: 3215
Joined: Wed Feb 04, 2009 5:28 pm
Location: Marietta, GA

Re: Neighbor's drainage issue causing problems

Post by 3CT_Paddler » Mon Jul 02, 2018 8:01 pm

Maggabelle, I would have a local civil engineer who is well versed in drainage take a look at it. It could be the drain is undersized, it could be the pipe it connects to is undersized, or it could be the downstream system it connects to is undersized. It could also be that the connected pipe has filled up with sediment over the years, and has a reduced capacity to convey storm water. Following the pipe system and checking for clogged or silted pipes is a good, low cost start you can undertake.

A civil engineer won't be as expensive as a lawyer, but it could easily cost you several hundred to several thousand for them to assess the situation and come up with a solution. Having public works take a look at it is a good start as well, but in some localities they may lack the staff or desire to take a meaningful look at your drainage.

maggabelle
Posts: 32
Joined: Fri Apr 14, 2017 2:44 pm

Re: Neighbor's drainage issue causing problems

Post by maggabelle » Mon Jul 02, 2018 8:28 pm

3CT_Paddler wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 8:01 pm
Maggabelle, I would have a local civil engineer who is well versed in drainage take a look at it. It could be the drain is undersized, it could be the pipe it connects to is undersized, or it could be the downstream system it connects to is undersized. It could also be that the connected pipe has filled up with sediment over the years, and has a reduced capacity to convey storm water. Following the pipe system and checking for clogged or silted pipes is a good, low cost start you can undertake.

A civil engineer won't be as expensive as a lawyer, but it could easily cost you several hundred to several thousand for them to assess the situation and come up with a solution. Having public works take a look at it is a good start as well, but in some localities they may lack the staff or desire to take a meaningful look at your drainage.
Thanks! Public Works is going to go out and take a look first. I'm trying to be patient, so I'm going to wait until I get a call back with what he found out. He was going to look at their original building plans and see if they have completed work without permits that may be causing this issue.

The previous owner owned the home when the commercial building was constructed, but they used it as a rental and did not take very good care of it. It is possible this has been an ongoing problem from when the commercial building was first constructed and that it has been inadequate all along, but I have no way to know - one of the two has passed away now who owned it and the other has moved away.

Dottie57
Posts: 3682
Joined: Thu May 19, 2016 5:43 pm

Re: Neighbor's drainage issue causing problems

Post by Dottie57 » Mon Jul 02, 2018 8:30 pm

I would start documenting the problem with pictures, dates, rainfall amounts, etc.

maggabelle
Posts: 32
Joined: Fri Apr 14, 2017 2:44 pm

Re: Neighbor's drainage issue causing problems

Post by maggabelle » Mon Jul 02, 2018 8:36 pm

Dottie57 wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 8:30 pm
I would start documenting the problem with pictures, dates, rainfall amounts, etc.
The last time it rained I went out and took photos and video of the problem, so I've got that started! I'll have to add the rainfall amounts to my notes about it.
Last edited by maggabelle on Mon Jul 02, 2018 8:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

gmc4h232
Posts: 147
Joined: Wed Jan 27, 2016 8:11 am

Re: Neighbor's drainage issue causing problems

Post by gmc4h232 » Mon Jul 02, 2018 8:50 pm

Who’s property is the drain on? If it’s on yours, you can have the line cameraed easily enough to look for root intrusion, pipe collapse, or other potential clogging culprits. Public works may camera the line for you when they come out to take a look.

maggabelle
Posts: 32
Joined: Fri Apr 14, 2017 2:44 pm

Re: Neighbor's drainage issue causing problems

Post by maggabelle » Mon Jul 02, 2018 8:53 pm

gmc4h232 wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 8:50 pm
Who’s property is the drain on? If it’s on yours, you can have the line cameraed easily enough to look for root intrusion, pipe collapse, or other potential clogging culprits. Public works may camera the line for you when they come out to take a look.
The drain is not my property. It is six feet on their side.

My best guess is that no one from the commercial building EVER goes over to this little area. It is fenced off from their parking lot and on the back side of the building blocked by trees. They probably have no idea that they should be maintaining it.

Public Works said they could talk to the owner of the drain if it seems clogged, and maybe just notifying them of the problem will be enough if they really don't know.

WhyNotUs
Posts: 1293
Joined: Sun Apr 14, 2013 11:38 am

Re: Neighbor's drainage issue causing problems

Post by WhyNotUs » Mon Jul 02, 2018 9:09 pm

Just for my own curiosity I would find out what the system is supposed to be- dry well, connected to municipal stormwater, etc. Either of the first two options can be clogged and the drywell is a relatively simple maintenance task.
I own the next hot stock- VTSAX

User avatar
rob
Posts: 2951
Joined: Mon Feb 19, 2007 6:49 pm
Location: Here

Re: Neighbor's drainage issue causing problems

Post by rob » Mon Jul 02, 2018 9:10 pm

In addition to trying to get it fixed on their side... I would suggest a french drain just inside your property line..... Assuming you have somewhere to drain the water.
| Rob | Its a dangerous business going out your front door. - J.R.R.Tolkien

focusedonwhatmatters
Posts: 97
Joined: Wed Nov 29, 2017 11:49 am

Re: Neighbor's drainage issue causing problems

Post by focusedonwhatmatters » Mon Jul 02, 2018 10:03 pm

You have gotten some excellent advice. I had a similar issue with my neighbor (residential) who created pits on his property line to collect his water (and denied doing so.) Well, that water ended up in my basement to the tune of 100+ gallons every time we would get a downpour. I took lots of photos and hired a civil engineer who wrote a detailed report describing the situation. I composed my own letter to the neighbor demanding reimbursement for my damages and included the engineer's report. It was sent by certified mail. I felt my case was strong and was prepared to go to small claims court, but my neighbor turned my letter over to his insurance company who asked me for receipts, then promptly paid me. It fell under the liability portion of my neighbor's policy.

Good luck to you. Flooding basements are a big stress!

ResearchMed
Posts: 6626
Joined: Fri Dec 26, 2008 11:25 pm

Re: Neighbor's drainage issue causing problems

Post by ResearchMed » Mon Jul 02, 2018 10:14 pm

focusedonwhatmatters wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 10:03 pm
You have gotten some excellent advice. I had a similar issue with my neighbor (residential) who created pits on his property line to collect his water (and denied doing so.) Well, that water ended up in my basement to the tune of 100+ gallons every time we would get a downpour. I took lots of photos and hired a civil engineer who wrote a detailed report describing the situation. I composed my own letter to the neighbor demanding reimbursement for my damages and included the engineer's report. It was sent by certified mail. I felt my case was strong and was prepared to go to small claims court, but my neighbor turned my letter over to his insurance company who asked me for receipts, then promptly paid me. It fell under the liability portion of my neighbor's policy.

Good luck to you. Flooding basements are a big stress!
Is this going to be a continuing problem?
If so, is his insurance company going to just keep forking over the checks after each heavy rainfall?

Doesn't sound great, but what a nice surprise for this stage!

RM
This signature is a placebo. You are in the control group.

BobTexas
Posts: 23
Joined: Sat Dec 30, 2017 11:56 pm

Re: Neighbor's drainage issue causing problems

Post by BobTexas » Mon Jul 02, 2018 10:17 pm

I may have missed this, but did you talk to the owner? I would do that before getting lawyers and the city involved

brennok
Posts: 159
Joined: Wed Jun 01, 2016 10:18 pm

Re: Neighbor's drainage issue causing problems

Post by brennok » Mon Jul 02, 2018 11:19 pm

Go and look at the drain. We had a similar problem in our work parking lot. The drain was so packed with dirt you couldn't even see the drain pipe and it was this way when the company moved into this location. Finally when they redid some concrete they had someone look at it and it just needed to be shoveled out. Ever since the water drains fine.

If you can't see the pipe when looking straight down on it and all you see is dirt, it is more than likely packed so only drains as the water works through the dirt.

Nate79
Posts: 2782
Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2016 6:24 pm
Location: Portland, OR

Re: Neighbor's drainage issue causing problems

Post by Nate79 » Mon Jul 02, 2018 11:25 pm

BobTexas wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 10:17 pm
I may have missed this, but did you talk to the owner? I would do that before getting lawyers and the city involved
+1

Cruise
Posts: 528
Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2016 7:17 pm

Re: Neighbor's drainage issue causing problems

Post by Cruise » Tue Jul 03, 2018 4:30 am

Nate79 wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 11:25 pm
BobTexas wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 10:17 pm
I may have missed this, but did you talk to the owner? I would do that before getting lawyers and the city involved
+1
+1000

maggabelle
Posts: 32
Joined: Fri Apr 14, 2017 2:44 pm

Re: Neighbor's drainage issue causing problems

Post by maggabelle » Tue Jul 03, 2018 7:08 am

Cruise wrote:
Tue Jul 03, 2018 4:30 am
Nate79 wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 11:25 pm
BobTexas wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 10:17 pm
I may have missed this, but did you talk to the owner? I would do that before getting lawyers and the city involved
+1
+1000
The owner is a large company with a presence in multiple states - I'm not sure quite who to even talk to. They have a general inquiries phone number on their website I could try. The company is in the social services field and I know people who have worked for them. Their company structure is a mess and I'm told they are chronically short on staff and nothing gets done - totally disorganized with lots of unnecessary bureaucracy and the attitude of "that's someone else's job." I have my doubts that giving them a call will yield any results, but I can try!

scoreboard
Posts: 14
Joined: Tue Dec 12, 2017 8:19 am

Re: Neighbor's drainage issue causing problems

Post by scoreboard » Tue Jul 03, 2018 7:17 am

In Texas this would be your problem and you would need to install a french drain to pull the water away from your residential property. Not the commercial property owners issue if water is running onto your property/into your basement (at least where I live).

Of course the easiest resolution is probably to get the existing drain blown out and see what happens.

BobTexas
Posts: 23
Joined: Sat Dec 30, 2017 11:56 pm

Re: Neighbor's drainage issue causing problems

Post by BobTexas » Tue Jul 03, 2018 7:19 am

Just walk over and ask at the front desk and show your pictures. Someone there takes care of property issues. I would start by trying to get them to clean it out.

Rupert
Posts: 3294
Joined: Fri Aug 17, 2012 12:01 pm

Re: Neighbor's drainage issue causing problems

Post by Rupert » Tue Jul 03, 2018 7:26 am

maggabelle wrote:
Tue Jul 03, 2018 7:08 am
Cruise wrote:
Tue Jul 03, 2018 4:30 am
Nate79 wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 11:25 pm
BobTexas wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 10:17 pm
I may have missed this, but did you talk to the owner? I would do that before getting lawyers and the city involved
+1
+1000
The owner is a large company with a presence in multiple states - I'm not sure quite who to even talk to. They have a general inquiries phone number on their website I could try. The company is in the social services field and I know people who have worked for them. Their company structure is a mess and I'm told they are chronically short on staff and nothing gets done - totally disorganized with lots of unnecessary bureaucracy and the attitude of "that's someone else's job." I have my doubts that giving them a call will yield any results, but I can try!
They have insurance for this. You just need to find out who their insurance company is.

maggabelle
Posts: 32
Joined: Fri Apr 14, 2017 2:44 pm

Re: Neighbor's drainage issue causing problems

Post by maggabelle » Tue Jul 03, 2018 7:39 am

scoreboard wrote:
Tue Jul 03, 2018 7:17 am
In Texas this would be your problem and you would need to install a french drain to pull the water away from your residential property. Not the commercial property owners issue if water is running onto your property/into your basement (at least where I live).

Of course the easiest resolution is probably to get the existing drain blown out and see what happens.
I'm in Iowa and it would seem that here it is their problem because they drastically changed the flow of the natural water to cause harm.

daheld
Posts: 157
Joined: Wed Sep 13, 2017 8:14 am

Re: Neighbor's drainage issue causing problems

Post by daheld » Tue Jul 03, 2018 8:20 am

maggabelle wrote:
Tue Jul 03, 2018 7:08 am
Cruise wrote:
Tue Jul 03, 2018 4:30 am
Nate79 wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 11:25 pm
BobTexas wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 10:17 pm
I may have missed this, but did you talk to the owner? I would do that before getting lawyers and the city involved
+1
+1000
The owner is a large company with a presence in multiple states - I'm not sure quite who to even talk to. They have a general inquiries phone number on their website I could try. The company is in the social services field and I know people who have worked for them. Their company structure is a mess and I'm told they are chronically short on staff and nothing gets done - totally disorganized with lots of unnecessary bureaucracy and the attitude of "that's someone else's job." I have my doubts that giving them a call will yield any results, but I can try!
I would really encourage you to just start with an request, in person, to speak to whoever may be able to help you. I don't know how large of a company it is, or how many employees they have at that location, but there's a decent chance they have a facilities manager. It may be someone who covers a number of their properties, but there is likely someone who is responsible for this type of stuff.

I would just walk over and explain it, nicely, to a receptionist or whoever you can talk to. Start there. You might find you're able to at least get them to investigate or clean out the drain. As long as you're nice, it absolutely cannot hurt and you may get some serious relief from just doing this.
As long as you're not nasty to them, most businesses are interested in being decent neighbors. They don't want the headache of dealing with angry neighbors and may be willing to help you out.

Glockenspiel
Posts: 432
Joined: Thu Feb 08, 2018 1:20 pm

Re: Neighbor's drainage issue causing problems

Post by Glockenspiel » Tue Jul 03, 2018 8:23 am

3CT_Paddler wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 8:01 pm
Maggabelle, I would have a local civil engineer who is well versed in drainage take a look at it. It could be the drain is undersized, it could be the pipe it connects to is undersized, or it could be the downstream system it connects to is undersized. It could also be that the connected pipe has filled up with sediment over the years, and has a reduced capacity to convey storm water. Following the pipe system and checking for clogged or silted pipes is a good, low cost start you can undertake.

A civil engineer won't be as expensive as a lawyer, but it could easily cost you several hundred to several thousand for them to assess the situation and come up with a solution. Having public works take a look at it is a good start as well, but in some localities they may lack the staff or desire to take a meaningful look at your drainage.
This. I’m a civil engineer in a neighboring state of yours and a qualified civil engineer’s services will generally run between $125-$225/hour. You’ll have a hard time finding a civil engineer at a consulting firm to look at your issue for anything under $1,000-$5,000. Based on your description, it sounds like the grate is undersized and the grading surrounding it is too flat. A possible fix could be just grading a low 6” berm to block off that drainage to get more drainage into the grate. They could have done some unpermitted work that increased storm water runoff to the area, creating this problem. Also, if you see the grate clogging up with debris, just go clean it out. If you have any damages, I would certainly get a lawyer involved.

maggabelle
Posts: 32
Joined: Fri Apr 14, 2017 2:44 pm

Re: Neighbor's drainage issue causing problems

Post by maggabelle » Tue Jul 03, 2018 8:42 am

Glockenspiel wrote:
Tue Jul 03, 2018 8:23 am
3CT_Paddler wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 8:01 pm
Maggabelle, I would have a local civil engineer who is well versed in drainage take a look at it. It could be the drain is undersized, it could be the pipe it connects to is undersized, or it could be the downstream system it connects to is undersized. It could also be that the connected pipe has filled up with sediment over the years, and has a reduced capacity to convey storm water. Following the pipe system and checking for clogged or silted pipes is a good, low cost start you can undertake.

A civil engineer won't be as expensive as a lawyer, but it could easily cost you several hundred to several thousand for them to assess the situation and come up with a solution. Having public works take a look at it is a good start as well, but in some localities they may lack the staff or desire to take a meaningful look at your drainage.
This. I’m a civil engineer in a neighboring state of yours and a qualified civil engineer’s services will generally run between $125-$225/hour. You’ll have a hard time finding a civil engineer at a consulting firm to look at your issue for anything under $1,000-$5,000. Based on your description, it sounds like the grate is undersized and the grading surrounding it is too flat. A possible fix could be just grading a low 6” berm to block off that drainage to get more drainage into the grate. They could have done some unpermitted work that increased storm water runoff to the area, creating this problem. Also, if you see the grate clogging up with debris, just go clean it out. If you have any damages, I would certainly get a lawyer involved.
The employee from public works said he'd check to see if they have done any work without permits. I called public works because I wasn't sure whether the city was responsible at all for maintaining a drain like that - the property used to be owned by the county until 2016.

My hope is to get the owner of the drain to check it for clogs and not have to pay for it myself. Current actual damages are limited because the basement is unfinished, but the house was purchased with the plan to finish the basement so the water intrusion is limiting the full use of the house. I'm not going to finish it just to have their water damage it so I can claim actual damages.

There is a significant opportunity cost though because the house is a rental and if the basement was finished it would rent for quite a bit more.

CurlyDave
Posts: 611
Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2016 11:37 am

Re: Neighbor's drainage issue causing problems

Post by CurlyDave » Tue Jul 03, 2018 11:32 am

Even if they "solve" the problem by cleaning out the drain, the problem will return the next time it clogs up.

If they clean the drain and you finish the basement, it will eventually flood again.

You either need to build up the grade on your side of the property line to divert the water, or somehow drain the water that does come over.

maggabelle
Posts: 32
Joined: Fri Apr 14, 2017 2:44 pm

Re: Neighbor's drainage issue causing problems

Post by maggabelle » Tue Jul 03, 2018 11:46 am

Here is a photo of the drain after I uncovered it a little: https://imgur.com/a/ZBDcgUh

maggabelle
Posts: 32
Joined: Fri Apr 14, 2017 2:44 pm

Re: Neighbor's drainage issue causing problems

Post by maggabelle » Tue Jul 03, 2018 11:52 am

CurlyDave wrote:
Tue Jul 03, 2018 11:32 am
Even if they "solve" the problem by cleaning out the drain, the problem will return the next time it clogs up.

If they clean the drain and you finish the basement, it will eventually flood again.

You either need to build up the grade on your side of the property line to divert the water, or somehow drain the water that does come over.
We're planning on both. French drain along the property line with raised grade on our side. We only have 3-4 feet to work with before the property line though, so we don't have much to work with. It is is also VERY shady, so we're going to have a hard time establishing plants to keep the dirt in place. With the amount of water that accumulates in the area I don't think this will be enough if they can't keep their drain clean.

User avatar
3CT_Paddler
Posts: 3215
Joined: Wed Feb 04, 2009 5:28 pm
Location: Marietta, GA

Re: Neighbor's drainage issue causing problems

Post by 3CT_Paddler » Tue Jul 03, 2018 12:28 pm

maggabelle wrote:
Tue Jul 03, 2018 11:46 am
Here is a photo of the drain after I uncovered it a little: https://imgur.com/a/ZBDcgUh
Yes that is a significant amount of leaf litter that will perpetually clog the drain. Sometimes engineers meet the design standard without designing for reality... Or trees were added after the fact or the engineer had zero input on the landscaping plan (typical).

I would also avoid the French drain solution as a last resort. French drains that are taking lots of off-site drainage can slowly degrade in performance over time due to siltation.

A swale or berm along your property that directs it to a downstream inlet or back on their property is typically a better solution. It's hard to say much more without a better understanding of area drainage. Good luck.

Cruise
Posts: 528
Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2016 7:17 pm

Re: Neighbor's drainage issue causing problems

Post by Cruise » Tue Jul 03, 2018 12:41 pm

3CT_Paddler wrote:
Tue Jul 03, 2018 12:28 pm
maggabelle wrote:
Tue Jul 03, 2018 11:46 am
Here is a photo of the drain after I uncovered it a little: https://imgur.com/a/ZBDcgUh
Yes that is a significant amount of leaf litter that will perpetually clog the drain. Sometimes engineers meet the design standard without designing for reality... Or trees were added after the fact or the engineer had zero input on the landscaping plan (typical).

I would also avoid the French drain solution as a last resort. French drains that are taking lots of off-site drainage can slowly degrade in performance over time due to siltation.

A swale or berm along your property that directs it to a downstream inlet or back on their property is typically a better solution. It's hard to say much more without a better understanding of area drainage. Good luck.
How about installing a concrete drainage conduit?

maggabelle
Posts: 32
Joined: Fri Apr 14, 2017 2:44 pm

Re: Neighbor's drainage issue causing problems

Post by maggabelle » Tue Jul 03, 2018 1:49 pm

3CT_Paddler wrote:
Tue Jul 03, 2018 12:28 pm
maggabelle wrote:
Tue Jul 03, 2018 11:46 am
Here is a photo of the drain after I uncovered it a little: https://imgur.com/a/ZBDcgUh
Yes that is a significant amount of leaf litter that will perpetually clog the drain. Sometimes engineers meet the design standard without designing for reality... Or trees were added after the fact or the engineer had zero input on the landscaping plan (typical).

I would also avoid the French drain solution as a last resort. French drains that are taking lots of off-site drainage can slowly degrade in performance over time due to siltation.

A swale or berm along your property that directs it to a downstream inlet or back on their property is typically a better solution. It's hard to say much more without a better understanding of area drainage. Good luck.
Based on the satellite images of the area from the 1970's that I looked at I believe those trees were there at the time they constructed the building, or they took some trees down and put new ones in (there was obviously something there).

I don't think we can create a big enough swale to contain or move the water. We have ~3-4 feet from the edge of our house to the property line. There is a fence along most of the property line since their parking lot goes right up to the line. We'd have to take the swale on our property right past the house to get the water to the backyard from the side yard. I know this is a little confusing.

This is a satellite view of the area: https://imgur.com/a/Iutu7hd

I don't know whether the rest of their roof ties in as well or not.

Cruise
Posts: 528
Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2016 7:17 pm

Re: Neighbor's drainage issue causing problems

Post by Cruise » Tue Jul 03, 2018 2:45 pm

Is your property co-compliant? Having a structure 3 feet from the property line would not meet code where I live.

focusedonwhatmatters
Posts: 97
Joined: Wed Nov 29, 2017 11:49 am

Re: Neighbor's drainage issue causing problems

Post by focusedonwhatmatters » Tue Jul 03, 2018 3:07 pm

ResearchMed wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 10:14 pm

Is this going to be a continuing problem?
If so, is his insurance company going to just keep forking over the checks after each heavy rainfall?

Doesn't sound great, but what a nice surprise for this stage!

RM
The original guy sold, and the new owners fixed the problem before they moved in. Apparently it was flooding their house, too. You can't bury water coming off a huge roofline into a 5' deep pit just ten feet from your property and not have water intrusion eventually. All the new owners had to do was install a French drain to the street where the water would run to the city drain.

User avatar
3CT_Paddler
Posts: 3215
Joined: Wed Feb 04, 2009 5:28 pm
Location: Marietta, GA

Re: Neighbor's drainage issue causing problems

Post by 3CT_Paddler » Tue Jul 03, 2018 3:17 pm

maggabelle wrote:
Tue Jul 03, 2018 1:49 pm
3CT_Paddler wrote:
Tue Jul 03, 2018 12:28 pm
maggabelle wrote:
Tue Jul 03, 2018 11:46 am
Here is a photo of the drain after I uncovered it a little: https://imgur.com/a/ZBDcgUh
Yes that is a significant amount of leaf litter that will perpetually clog the drain. Sometimes engineers meet the design standard without designing for reality... Or trees were added after the fact or the engineer had zero input on the landscaping plan (typical).

I would also avoid the French drain solution as a last resort. French drains that are taking lots of off-site drainage can slowly degrade in performance over time due to siltation.

A swale or berm along your property that directs it to a downstream inlet or back on their property is typically a better solution. It's hard to say much more without a better understanding of area drainage. Good luck.
Based on the satellite images of the area from the 1970's that I looked at I believe those trees were there at the time they constructed the building, or they took some trees down and put new ones in (there was obviously something there).

I don't think we can create a big enough swale to contain or move the water. We have ~3-4 feet from the edge of our house to the property line. There is a fence along most of the property line since their parking lot goes right up to the line. We'd have to take the swale on our property right past the house to get the water to the backyard from the side yard. I know this is a little confusing.

This is a satellite view of the area: https://imgur.com/a/Iutu7hd

I don't know whether the rest of their roof ties in as well or not.
Yes you would be limited on that front. You can also install yard drains that connect to drainage PVC pipe (Home Depot and Lowe's carries them), but you would probably need to tie in to a downstream ditch/swale or inlet.

Globalviewer58
Posts: 465
Joined: Fri Jul 18, 2008 3:26 pm

Re: Neighbor's drainage issue causing problems

Post by Globalviewer58 » Tue Jul 03, 2018 3:24 pm

OP: The drain photo shows an obvious first step will be to properly maintain the drain so it is clear of any resistance to the flow of water. Removing the vegetation periodically is going to be an on-going need. I would see how this changes the ponding problem before investing in other remedies.

ResearchMed
Posts: 6626
Joined: Fri Dec 26, 2008 11:25 pm

Re: Neighbor's drainage issue causing problems

Post by ResearchMed » Tue Jul 03, 2018 4:10 pm

Globalviewer58 wrote:
Tue Jul 03, 2018 3:24 pm
OP: The drain photo shows an obvious first step will be to properly maintain the drain so it is clear of any resistance to the flow of water. Removing the vegetation periodically is going to be an on-going need. I would see how this changes the ponding problem before investing in other remedies.
Our neighbors (new build residential) were required after the fact (after the new owners moved in, alas, and had their basement flooded fully several times!) to put in industrial pumps and large grates in back, and connect them to the sewer. The house was built on wetlands (would love to know the backstory of how *that* was approved!), so no surprise there was a water problem, ahem.
But what was new was flooding the neighboring yards, too.

Those grates are huge, bigger than a manhole cover.
Can you tell what the diameter is of that grate?

What is surprising is that IF there is a very serious clogging problem, that the debris isn't backed up higher.
If water is actually flowing through the grate, and apparently it is, then either probably it's partially clogged or it's just not wide enough somewhere (everywhere?) to handle the heavy flow.
One of those is more easily fixed...

Have you ever seen water actually really "flowing into" that grate, or does it seem to be more standing water there as well as elsewhere.
And what is the grading. That grate should be set "lower" than the surrounding land, and all of the surrounding land should have a suitable grade in that general direction (unless it all gets so deep that the water can get over little berms or other natural slightly higher areas, and still get to the grate when rain is very heavy).

RM
This signature is a placebo. You are in the control group.

maggabelle
Posts: 32
Joined: Fri Apr 14, 2017 2:44 pm

Re: Neighbor's drainage issue causing problems

Post by maggabelle » Tue Jul 03, 2018 4:22 pm

Cruise wrote:
Tue Jul 03, 2018 2:45 pm
Is your property co-compliant? Having a structure 3 feet from the property line would not meet code where I live.
My house was built in the 1920's and it was compliant when built. The garage is literally built right on the property line to the other neighbors and their house is about 3 feet from my property line on that side. It's just how they were built and there is no changing that.

maggabelle
Posts: 32
Joined: Fri Apr 14, 2017 2:44 pm

Re: Neighbor's drainage issue causing problems

Post by maggabelle » Tue Jul 03, 2018 4:23 pm

Globalviewer58 wrote:
Tue Jul 03, 2018 3:24 pm
OP: The drain photo shows an obvious first step will be to properly maintain the drain so it is clear of any resistance to the flow of water. Removing the vegetation periodically is going to be an on-going need. I would see how this changes the ponding problem before investing in other remedies.
Yes, it should be maintained. I would like the owners of the drain to maintain it and not have to do it for them.

likegarden
Posts: 2607
Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2007 5:33 pm

Re: Neighbor's drainage issue causing problems

Post by likegarden » Tue Jul 03, 2018 4:31 pm

A berm is an easy solution for the op. On one site of my property neighbors were letting their water from roof gutters freely flow onto my property not far from my basement which already has 2 sump pumps. They could have drained that water underground to a location far away. I bought bags of top soil and covered those with landscape fabric and created a good looking berm.

Why could you not rake those leaves and debris away from neighbor's drain and take a look inside?

maggabelle
Posts: 32
Joined: Fri Apr 14, 2017 2:44 pm

Re: Neighbor's drainage issue causing problems

Post by maggabelle » Tue Jul 03, 2018 4:32 pm

ResearchMed wrote:
Tue Jul 03, 2018 4:10 pm
Globalviewer58 wrote:
Tue Jul 03, 2018 3:24 pm
OP: The drain photo shows an obvious first step will be to properly maintain the drain so it is clear of any resistance to the flow of water. Removing the vegetation periodically is going to be an on-going need. I would see how this changes the ponding problem before investing in other remedies.
Our neighbors (new build residential) were required after the fact (after the new owners moved in, alas, and had their basement flooded fully several times!) to put in industrial pumps and large grates in back, and connect them to the sewer. The house was built on wetlands (would love to know the backstory of how *that* was approved!), so no surprise there was a water problem, ahem.
But what was new was flooding the neighboring yards, too.

Those grates are huge, bigger than a manhole cover.
Can you tell what the diameter is of that grate?

What is surprising is that IF there is a very serious clogging problem, that the debris isn't backed up higher.
If water is actually flowing through the grate, and apparently it is, then either probably it's partially clogged or it's just not wide enough somewhere (everywhere?) to handle the heavy flow.
One of those is more easily fixed...

Have you ever seen water actually really "flowing into" that grate, or does it seem to be more standing water there as well as elsewhere.
And what is the grading. That grate should be set "lower" than the surrounding land, and all of the surrounding land should have a suitable grade in that general direction (unless it all gets so deep that the water can get over little berms or other natural slightly higher areas, and still get to the grate when rain is very heavy).

RM
The drain itself is probably 6-12 inches lower than the immediately surrounding grade. It slopes up over the course of maybe 4-5 feet directly around the drain. Then the neighbors property slopes up dramatically to their building (built in 1991 - they probably raised the land to do it), and only very gradually toward mine. I only have 3-4 feet of space by the house to change grading on my side - not that they would likely complain if I altered their grading some as well... but the area that ponds is almost the entire length of my house (30+ feet, by at least a width of 10-15+ feet at 5 inches deep by the house.

There is a very obvious "stream bed" forming where the water is then running from that area into my backyard in that small 3-4 foot wide area and eroding the dirt.

I've never been over at the house already when it starts raining - it is a rental, so I'm not there that often. We've started going over regularly during rains to check on it. The last time it rained heavily we went over about 30 to 45 minutes after it started and the water was already 5+ inches deep up against the house.

maggabelle
Posts: 32
Joined: Fri Apr 14, 2017 2:44 pm

Re: Neighbor's drainage issue causing problems

Post by maggabelle » Tue Jul 03, 2018 4:43 pm

likegarden wrote:
Tue Jul 03, 2018 4:31 pm
A berm is an easy solution for the op. On one site of my property neighbors were letting their water from roof gutters freely flow onto my property not far from my basement which already has 2 sump pumps. They could have drained that water underground to a location far away. I bought bags of top soil and covered those with landscape fabric and created a good looking berm.

Why could you not rake those leaves and debris away from neighbor's drain and take a look inside?
I'm waiting for the public works employee to go take a look and get back to me. I don't want to change it from how they have it before he looks at it. It isn't supposed to rain for the next few days at least, so it doesn't need to be cleaned today.

RickBoglehead
Posts: 329
Joined: Wed Feb 14, 2018 9:10 am

Re: Neighbor's drainage issue causing problems

Post by RickBoglehead » Tue Jul 03, 2018 5:17 pm

Pretty clearly they have to maintain their drain.
likegarden wrote:
Tue Jul 03, 2018 4:31 pm
On one site of my property neighbors were letting their water from roof gutters freely flow onto my property not far from my basement which already has 2 sump pumps. They could have drained that water underground to a location far away.
In any community I have lived in, that is not allowed.

At our cottage, the empty lot next door is getting a house built on it, first time ever. Owner is building a retaining wall, on the property line, to ensure that none of his water comes onto my land.
Last edited by RickBoglehead on Tue Jul 03, 2018 5:22 pm, edited 2 times in total.

User avatar
Doom&Gloom
Posts: 2015
Joined: Thu May 08, 2014 3:36 pm

Re: Neighbor's drainage issue causing problems

Post by Doom&Gloom » Tue Jul 03, 2018 5:19 pm

That really looks more like a slow leak in the ground than a drain.

Good luck in getting some cooperation from them!

User avatar
unclescrooge
Posts: 2208
Joined: Thu Jun 07, 2012 7:00 pm

Re: Neighbor's drainage issue causing problems

Post by unclescrooge » Tue Jul 03, 2018 5:22 pm

BobTexas wrote:
Tue Jul 03, 2018 7:19 am
Just walk over and ask at the front desk and show your pictures. Someone there takes care of property issues. I would start by trying to get them to clean it out.
Ask the receptionist for the facilities manager/supervisor or property manager.

maggabelle
Posts: 32
Joined: Fri Apr 14, 2017 2:44 pm

Re: Neighbor's drainage issue causing problems

Post by maggabelle » Wed Jul 11, 2018 3:10 pm

Update: The city public works employee went out and took a look. He dug the drain out: https://imgur.com/a/tCaCykn and let the business owner know that they are responsible for cleaning it. When he called back he said he didn't think they were even aware that they had a drain on their property, but that they were receptive to maintaining it.

barnaclebob
Posts: 2752
Joined: Thu Aug 09, 2012 10:54 am

Re: Neighbor's drainage issue causing problems

Post by barnaclebob » Wed Jul 11, 2018 4:12 pm

I gotta say, I would have cleaned that out at the first sign of flooding even if it was on their property. It was very obvious that it was clogged. Not worth flooding my basement for 5 min of work. I don't really care if its their responsibility. Don't bring up some kind of liability because nobody is getting sued for that kind of thing.

Post Reply