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Wolf_22

Driveway gravel and under-driveway drainage lines...

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I live in a home that experiences fairly bad drainage issues during bad saturations or heavy rains and I'm trying to get ahead of it by attacking my driveway with better drainage... You see, my driveway is one of the worst areas where a lot of water tends to move over from my neighbor's yard (who is either unwilling or unable to do much about it from his area). The bad thing is that much of this water makes its way into my home's old basement, which causes all sorts of problems. I have plans in motion to deal with that this coming January but in the meantime, I want to do whatever I can about the external stuff.

So I spoke to an excavation guy in my town about the possibility of installing a 6" PVC drainage system underneath my entire driveway. Basically, my idea consists of laying down multiple "fingers" of this pipe along the length of my driveway (maybe 4 fingers, total) and in the future, connecting those fingers to an external sump pump that would also be in a special spot of the driveway to maximize its efficiency. I'd like to lay down a thick vapor barrier underneath each finger for added capture capabilities but initially rely on gravity alone to direct whatever these fingers catch so that the water would be moved into the town's rainwater trunk at the end of my driveway--I think I have enough grade to do that, especially given how that rainwater line is about 1.5 feet underneath the end of my driveway, easily enough to provide an 8th of an inch per-foot of decent for the 15 feet or so of distance that this would play in. Bear in mind that my driveway isn't paved or blacktopped, it's just a basic crushed lime rock base and the majority of its rocks are about half the size of a golf ball.

Anyway, when I floated all this to the excavation guy, he said that it's possible the drainage PVC holes could get covered up once the gravel becomes compacted. This could lead to an ineffective drain system. He also advised against the external sump pump due to maintenance issues that sometimes come up... While I'm sure all of his considerations are 100% possible, my rationale for doing it despite his insights is that even if some of the holes get blocked up or even if the sump pump needs occasional maintenance, it would still result in a much better outcome than the one I'm currently banging my head against where the water just does whatever it wants. Sure, some of the drainage holes along the pipe my get covered but not all... And sure, the sump pump might give out at some point but not all the time.

When we were discussing all this, he floated an idea about adding a box grate near the areas where water tends to pool up and just connecting that to a 6" pipe that connects to the rainwater trunk and said that the thought this would have a better impact than my idea. So I figure, why not just do both and have the best of both worlds? I'd first build out the 6" PVC finger drainage system (with the vapor barriers) and then after that, add the box grate or grates, and then sometime after that (once money gets built back up!), add an external sump pump to everything and connect that to the rainwater trunk. This sounds like a good idea, right? God, it can't hurt anything. I know it will be pretty expensive to do it all but in the end, once all the pieces are in play, I can't imagine that this wouldn't have an awesome impact.

Any insights into this would be appreciated. I'm pretty convinced that this is what I'm going to do but thought I'd see if any of you have anything to add to this before I get started on it. Thanks in advance.

( I posted about this over on a different forum, too, so if I get any responses from there, I'll update this as a means of helping anyone else who might be a similar situation.)

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Two insights: 1) don't talk to that excavation guy again. He sounds looney. 2) the solution is in the details.

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Yeah, I can't do myself any harm by looking around some more for better outfits to give me some ideas about how best to proceed... I'm in the middle of arranging some times for 2 other excavator companies to come out and talk about all this. I did some more thinking about the driveway and I'm considering using one of those longer grate drains to lay down across the middle of the driveway and use that as a dumping point for some of the 6" drainage line system I'm planning on installing. I figure that can't do any harm and should ensure proper entry, regardless of anything being packed down but this is just an idea I'm kicking around right now.

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Where are you located? 

If you can make the finger drains run to the street, why not just pave the driveway and let the water flow to the street on top of the pavement? 

 

 

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Hi, Jim.

Well, I don't have the money right now for a paving like that and even if I did, I doubt the grading is sufficient enough to handle the type of gravity lead you're thinking of. For whatever it's worth, I am definitely in the process of liaising with various excavation outfits to see if room or opportunity exists to fix that because I think I might have enough clearance to modify it a little... But not much, which is why the drainage system is coming up as being married to an eventual external sump pump.

Hope that clears up some stuff.

Edited by Wolf_22

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The excavator is right. Your driveway isn't permeable. Once compacted enough to drive on, there will be no space left for water to reach your drainage system. 

If water pools on your driveway add enough stone to fill the low spots and create a crown to run it off to the sides. Then follow your excavator's advice about the box drains in the trouble spots. If water is running down the drive toward the house install a surface drain conductor and connect it to the box drain. Run everything via gravity that you can. Pumps add cost and complexity. 

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I had thought about adding a simple surface grate opening (like this one from Menards: https://www.menards.com/main/plumbing/water-systems/landscape-drainage/catch-basins-grates/nds-reg-3-4-plastic-round-grate-green/m13u/p-1534141687657-c-8633.htm?tid=-7052075211146383363&ipos=1) right in the yard where the water begins to pool up but close enough on my side of the yard to avoid problems with the neighbor, and connect it to my drain line that I was going to connect to the city rainwater trunk by the road. It's not a box drain but it's at least an entry point that wouldn't become compacted or stopped by the gravel in the driveway.

Are there any grate systems I could install directly in my driveway? I was thinking about installing one of these somewhere near the pool-up area but in the driveway and not in a section that undergoes a lot of traffic: https://www.menards.com/main/plumbing/water-systems/landscape-drainage/catch-basins-grates/nds-reg-9-x-9-catch-basin-with-grate/900gkit/p-1534141687510-c-8633.htm?tid=-4079200001551132842&ipos=8

Sorry, but I'm sold on the adding the external sump pump in all this at some point. I just don't think there's enough grade to make everything gravity-based and when it rains hard, having it be involved would be too helpful not to have. The location I would install it at would be within proximity to an external power receptacle, leaving the only complexity left to worry about being the actual install and connection of the pipes, which I can handle if it comes down to me doing it but that depends on the other outfits I have coming out to give me options between now and the next couple weeks, too.

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I had a nephew looking to buy a property until I pointed out with maps and onsite observations that it was practically at the bottom of a bowl.

Edited by Marc

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How about a picture to help us out.

Is it possible to add a berm to the high side of the driveway and direct the water to the street before it even gets to the driveway?

 

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Erby is right in wanting a photo.  I would want to "see" site before offering solutions.  

For what it is worth, I have seen precious few sites that require lots and lots of time and money.  Drainage gets really complicated when you waste your time trying to make water do something un-natural.  Sure there are exceptions and all situations are not "improve the grade", but many are just remembering that water runs downhill.   PS:  water also always wins!




 

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15 hours ago, Erby said:

Is it possible to add a berm to the high side of the driveway and direct the water to the street before it even gets to the driveway?

That came up and when I brought it up to my neighbor, he seemed to be a little sour about it for fear of water being backed up into his yard. Thing is, it's HIS water anyway, so it's like he's more concerned about me preventing HIS water from being allowed to come over into mine instead of him being a responsible home owner and dealing with his drainage problems... He can be pretty irritating sometimes about things like this but when he's not being this way, he's a great neighbor. So yeah, the berm would mean that some of this would be on his property line to make it work, so I think that's a dead-end but what I think I'm going to do is this (which is best of both worlds):

Along that location--which is where the water enters into my driveway--there's already a pre-existing concrete divider. It's basically just an old and long curb boundary that someone installed years ago. It's not very pretty, has cracks and low-spots near where the water crossed over, so it doesn't block any of that water once it reaches a certain height. So after I spoke to a concrete guy this weekend, I'm going to replace it with a much higher and deeper boundary next spring. The main part I need will be on my property per a property stake I found yesterday but there's a small 4-5 foot length right on front of my garage that does a 45-degree angle to meet my garage's Northern-most edge. According to my neighbor, the previous home owner apparently built the garage with about 2 or 3 feet of garage being on my neighbor's plot. Judging from the property stake (unless he put the stake there while I wasn't looking!) I think he's right. So what this means is that for the main length of the area where water creeps over, I'll be okay to do the new concrete boundary because that's on my property but for the part closest to my garage, I might have issues with the neighbor but I doubt it since there's already boundary rocks there that I use to lay down a boundary for my driveway. I plan on speaking to him about this once the time comes to do the work but I'll be fine for the main part I need the concrete divider for where the water comes over. But once I get done with this divider, I'm going to grade the driveway down as much as possible. I kind of think I should grade everything first but I don't want to lower the area any that might be blocking water as-is.

I'll try to post an image of what everything looks like at. I'm at work right now but I'll try to do that later.

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You can easily determine if there's enough downhill slope to the street - and you don't need much.  Rent a transit, buy a cheap laser level or even a string level.

Sounds like a good situation for a channel drain along this curb.

 

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I know for a fact that it needs some grade work--the garage is a bit lower than the road. What isn't known yet is whether much room exists to do the grade work. I think I'll have (maybe at most) around 6-7 inches to work with or else do a dip towards the road but then do a sharp incline to the road to have as much grade as possible). I'll know more about that after I get the concrete barrier installed around April (if I have the cash to pull it off). I agree about the channel drain. I'd love to install one along the length of my entire driveway on both sides at some point.

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11 hours ago, Jim Katen said:

Without really good pictures, this entire discussion is like a circle jerk. 

I can name that tune in 6 notes!  wonder what Kurt is doing.

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23 hours ago, Bill Kibbel said:

You can easily determine if there's enough downhill slope to the street - and you don't need much.  Rent a transit, buy a cheap laser level or even a string level.

Sounds like a good situation for a channel drain along this curb.

 

He could always try a spirit level. 

FB_IMG_1552480701012.jpg

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6 hours ago, Tom Raymond said:

He could always try a spirit level. 

FB_IMG_1552480701012.jpg

That method works only with folks who can hold their liquor, cause the bottle needs to be about half full.

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17 hours ago, Marc said:

FB_IMG_1552480701012.jpg

That method works only with folks who can hold their liquor, cause the bottle needs to be about half full.

this must be a border thing

it's 1/2 empty on this side of the Red where our lickers cooperate

Edited by BADAIR

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