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  1. #1
    David Ormerod's Avatar
    David Ormerod Guest

    Default Backyard Drainage with Sump Pump

    Our lot (60 X 140) was likely originally designed in mid 1920's to drain towards the back property line (away from street), but with new construction in back, which elevated that area via grading, drainage now must go to street. We added a room addition 3 years ago and at that time added a passive drainage system (6" plastic corrugated pipe), however, the slope of that pipe is insufficient to drain a large area of the backyard. When the ground becomes saturated with multi-day rains, I can get an accumulation of 3 - 4" of water over a large area (especially where a downspout from gutter dumps to. I'd like to build (or place) a sump drain in this area with two incoming drains from the yard and downspout, and an out-going 1 1/2" PVC pipe which will go into the corrugated pipe and drain to the street. My plan would be to have a GFCI plug in the ground close to the sump pump location (and the pump would only switch on with sufficient water levels). Any requirements or problems with my plan from an inspection standpoint? I know they make prefab sumps that I can just place into the ground, but I'm wondering specifically where the GFCI receptacle can be placed below ground level but protect it from water accumulation and exposure. I don't want to hard-wire the sump pump if I can avoid it as I'd probably remove the pump for storage during the non-rainy season here in California. Any advice would be appreciated. I could submit a sketch and/or photo if that'll help with the description.

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Spring Hill (Nashville), TN
    Posts
    5,847

    Default Re: Backyard Drainage with Sump Pump

    If it was me, I would hire a landscape or irrigation contractor to come out and tell me what needs to be done to properly drain the property. They will shoot elevations of the property and determine the best type of water management system for your property.

    If you can get enough fall you might be able to use a catch basin type drain to get rid of the water. They are better at handling large amounts of water than a French drain (what you are calling a passive drain system).

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Brighton,Ontario,CANADA
    Posts
    73

    Default Re: Backyard Drainage with Sump Pump

    I agree that or a swale is best . If you insist in a pump then how about GFCI breaker in the house and water proof box and conectors out side ..
    Roy Cooke


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Twin Cities, Minnesota
    Posts
    150

    Default Re: Backyard Drainage with Sump Pump

    Consulting with a landscaper is probably a good idea. The problem with a sump pit of some sort is it could easily clog up with leaves, etc. If you build in a swale or French drain then you don't have to worry about the sump malfunctioning and backing up. Also, do you know what kind of soil you have? Better draining soils would help too (maybe there's a lot of clay in your backyard).

    -Jon
    Errickson Home Inspections, LLC
    http://www.erricksonhomeinspections.com

  5. #5
    David Ormerod's Avatar
    David Ormerod Guest

    Default Re: Backyard Drainage with Sump Pump

    Thanks guys for the responses. Unfortunately there is no available ground for a swale . . . both side accesses to the backyard along the side of the house are covered with cement. There is the existing 6" French drain, but the slope from the backyard is insufficient in my opinion to adequately drain. I agree with the need of a landscape/irrigation contractor to run some elevations to really get an idea of how much slope there is from front to back. Thanks for the idea of the GFI circuit breaker and using a water-proof hook-up for a pump . . . hadn't thought of that. I'm not as concerned about sump basin debris e.g. leaves as most of our rains are Dec - Mar and the leaves have cleared by then (I'd obviously need to clean out the basin on a regular basis to avoid debris build-up). The sump basin would be covered with a plastic 12" x 12" grate and it'd be in the middle of a lawn area, so it shouldn't get that much debris.
    The soil in our area does have high clay content, but one of my prompts for addressing this issue is that we're putting in a pool in the backyard, and with the pool and decking, we'll lose probably 70% of the soil surface area and thus I'll be dealing with more run-off (from the downspouts and now from the decking) that I've had before. I've only had one time in 7 years where the water level rose to the foundation level, but with decreased soil absorbtion capacity, I'm worried that this could be a yearly threat, and thus the appeal of having an active pump available to move water from the back to the front. I'm sure the pool/deck contractor will have ideas about drainage (they'll likely have to do some elevation assessment for the pool install), but I know our city inspector is going to want an answer when he asks "what about drainage of any water from rains or the pool?" They're all pretty smart guys as you know! Thanks for the ideas and experienced observations. I know it's impossible to offer true solutions when you can't see the layout.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Southern Vancouver Island
    Posts
    4,546

    Default Re: Backyard Drainage with Sump Pump

    I have two thoughts to add. The first is if your gutters were changed so the downspouts were at the street side, or if your downspout discharged into the drain going to the street, that would eliminate a lot of the water in your yard.
    Number two, what about building a retaining wall at your rear property line and building the yard up with fill from the swimming pool excavation? The dirt's gotta go somewhere.


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Brighton,Ontario,CANADA
    Posts
    73

    Default Re: Backyard Drainage with Sump Pump

    I had a person call me a few years ago . He lived in an elite subdivision very large lots expensive homes in an area flat like pool table.
    He had elevated moisture every where on his basement walls .
    No water in sump pump hole.
    He asked my recomendations and I advised him to put in a dewatering well out side the rear of his home down about 12 + feet and pump the water away from his home about 200 feet.
    I said this should improve your dampness .
    I met him about a year later and he said you are the greatest and how good this had worked for him .
    I understand this might not be allowed in some areas .
    So an out side well can help , I inspected a home last year that had one installed and his Basement walls tested dry.

    Roy


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