Storm water runoff from new house
Thought I’d post this problem here and see what ya’ll think.
I’ve lived next door to an undeveloped lot for 27 yrs. Along comes a “custom” builder, decided he wants to put up a McMansion across two lots. Pours concrete driveway right up to our adjoining property line, approx 1800 sqr ft of it. Sloped away from his foundation, towards the property line and then 90 degrees to that so that the runoff runs into his backyard. Essentially all the runoff from that 1800 sqr ft of concrete exits about 2-3′ from the common property line.
He built a slightly-taller fence to hide my fence and there’s about 1′ between them. The water flows between the fences and then exits on my side and has pushed a couple of my fence boards away from the purlins.
Obviously this ‘custom’ builder didn’t plan for storm water runoff from his impervious cover.
I’ve estimated over 1200 ga of runoff, (~ 160 cu ft) per inch of rainfall.
So I talked to him about it after we had lots of rainfall and I had a flood running through my sideyard and then frontyard, his solution was to get a guy to dig a shallow trench in the dirt, about a ft wide and half a foot deep, which the grass soon overtook. Then it was more than 6 months before we had another heavy rain.
This past March, I brought it up again, and he said he might concrete it. I suggested either a dry streambed or a catch basin with a 6″ dia pvc pipe to run out to the back of his property or yard away from mine.
To date, nothing. I get the impression he’s blowing me off. . . .
So I’m thinking what are my options. I’ve talked it over with a few lawyers and they’re looking into it. It’s hard to sue to get him to do the right thing. One would think a responsible ‘custom’ builder would plan for runoff. It would seem his arch’y didn’t either.
So I’m thinking about either a 6″ wide x 6′ tall concrete wall or curb built under my fence boards (which might be good to keep them from rotting anyway), and along my property to contain it and force it back to his. Or perhaps a curtain drain where it could run out to daylight.
What say you? Thanks for reading this far and for your suggestions.
Depending upon your local building codes and inspector, this may be of interest to them...
I would think they would have to be interested. I thought you had to account for runoff when getting a permit!
I'd think your local city regulations would require that he manage his runoff with a method other than dumping it into your yard.
We had a similar problem with our neighbor who put a second floor addition on his house and then the entire 20 sq or so shed roof dumping onto the fence line. We did not bother with the city because they haven't enforced anything with this guy in the 10 years we've been here. Instead, we did what you suggested, which is to build a concrete barrier below grade under the fence. It seems to be stopping some of the water, because he has mentioned that his basement keeps flooding on that side of the house.
This may fall into a category called " Water Trespass "
The term will certainly get their attention .
The development permit should have storm water provisions one would think , the local building dept should enforce the rules not the citizens of the community , unless you are in Oregon the wild West .
A further complication is that I happen to live in the county, just on the edge of the city. I'm actually in their etj zone. They're getting closer everyday. I called the city, who confirmed this when I gave them my address. I'm still in the process of gathering legal information. They indicated he didn't have to pull a bldg permit nor obtain a CO. That's probably why he built this mcmansion where he did, he knew he could get away with it.He's the only house in the whole neighborhood built on two lots. Talk about sticking out . . . . Thanks for the replies.
In my area, building his fence 1' from your would be a problem also. Here you have to leave enough room to matain that strip of land.
But I live in a city on smaller lots.
you could do something as simple as that metal edging you see around flower gardens. put that under the fence and back up with dirt.Me ,I would not even talk to the guy again, you can what ever you want on your side of the femce, just raise grade higher than his, let him worry about it. plant a flower garden along your fence line, get some nice roses and bushes. just make sure the plant bedding is higher than his grade.He cant say anything because all you did was planted some roses.
You do have to watch out with the wall ideas as there is a right for a property owner to pass his water along the "natural" paths that pre-existed.However, the volume of the water passed cannot be a nuisance but unless your city or county is in a MS4 there won't be a lot of help from the permit office. If the guy graded out more than a acre he might be in the hot seat for not obtaining a state permit.
Shoot he lives in Austin, they don't have the same rules the rest of the country does.
sen this kind of problem before a number of times
here its really the drainage inspectors department usually a useless sob
one alternative might be to take down your fence and put in a french drain along the property line which gets you out of fence maintenance and if slopped to a front or rear ditch will take care of the problem
it really piss s people off if you turn one of their games to your apparent advantage
why be a follower when you can be a leader
a bigger home next door should increase your market value
it appears he hasent done anything illegal building the house so why hate him !
Surveyed for the City of Austin for thirty years, and used to get a lot of cases like this when the Engineering department still had their own survey crews.
Should be a topo of the lot before construction somewhere in the county subdivision records, if it is a platted subdivision. If you can find that, then request him to do a topo of the lot as it presently sits, and have an engineer compare the "Q" and see what the volumes are. Since you are in the ETJ, Subdivision Review restrictions SHOULD have been followed. If it was platted prior to that, then check the county.
Both surveys should be done by registered surveyors, as the results will probably end in mediation, and the builder footing the bill for the diversion.
Most of the people I worked with there are retired now, but I do have a couple of contacts if you want to contact me by email with more details.
Tom, very good, I knew about that, but I suspected Texas was somehow different. Good to see they aren't!!
Texas is very prone to flash flooding. Our average annual rainfall in Central Texas is about 33". However rains of 18" in two hours can be common during tropical depressions or hurricanes. The City of Austin has had a "Watershed Review" system since the disasterous 1981 Memorial Day flood. We walked the banks of several creeks and pulled victims out of the tops of trees 20-25' above normal elevation. A "100 year-flood" turned into a "500-year" flood because of all the impervious cover that subdivisions had placed in urban watersheds.
Driveways, roads, and roofs are a killer when you get 10" of rain an hour...
i spent the summer in Texas, beeville in 1974, I understand about flash flooding.
Damn. You was in the "Wild Horse Prarie."
Musta caught a hurricane?
Not there during the hurricane, thank God.
It was a funny summer. During my college years I went to a different part of the country to sell books door to door. It was an education that bettered the college experience, by far. Met an awful lot of different people. Made some good money that helped pay for my college.
Did you ever make it down to Mexico? Boy's Town?
I know you did. LOTS of "interesting" people down there.... ;-)
I think you mean strange! Yep I went, closest to Mexico, so I had to go!
Man your state is HUGE!
May I humbly suggest a 3-4 foot deep (however long you need it) planting bed filled with native TX plants that can handle periodic innundation.Unfortunately, I'm not familiar w/the flora that you could use but suggest that you check w/the way cool Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center to see what they suggest.I can say with total confidence that this worked for a girlfriend of mine after I suggested it. She had a swale running thru the backyard of her 1970s built house (part of a subdivision). She put in the bed using cupplant, queen-of-the-prairie, big bluestem, prairie dock, cardinal flower & numerous other water loving plants. The next year we got 17 inches of rain in one night (something called a train effect cloud system- the same rain clouds kept clobbering us over & over again). Instead of having a small lake lapping over half her backyard, she was able to walk within 1 foot of the bed borders before getting squishy toes. The water was gone by the next day.Day 6 of Kitty-escape free living. Extensions on top of the existing fence was the way to go!
I've talked to a few people at the city, but they're of limited assistance due to where I am. I'll be doing some further research with the county. I've also talked to a guy about pouring concrete 6" deep between the two fences! With enough rain, he'd have a lake to go along with his pool! Ha!Thanks for the responses.
if you pour concrete then you are deliberly trying to advert water to his side, but if you use dirt then it just a flower garden
" What say you? "
You shoulda bought the land before it was developed.
Here is another way to think of it: How does having a McMasion next door effect the value of your house?
Exactly what problem is this runoff causing you?
We can't see the situation from here, but if one lot is higher than another, then the lower one will get the runoff. It's caused by a phenomenon called gravity. Building a home with the surrounding pavement causes more runoff because of the increased impervious surfaces so some planning needs to go into this, however no builder is a magician who can just make this runoff just go away.
Edited 7/26/2008 9:44 am ET by Matt
Go talk to city hall. He may have to remedy that problem.. He would here.
It sounds like he should have a curb on the side of his concrete to direct water to the street instead of some kind of trench that won't be maintained.