Re: [gardeners] Rain & pumps

penny x stamm (
Tue, 1 Aug 2000 09:03:11 -0400

Hello, David -- it's unfortunately not that simple.  The problem 
water comes from the stair well right outside the workshop door,
which is 8" below floor level, usually plenty of leeway. However, 
the water rushes thru underneath that concrete, and gushes up, 
after several of these deluges, to flood over the sill.  Until we
can find a way to locate the source of that rushing water, we
cannot cure the problem. We have put hoses down the roof leaders,
turned on full force, and no water shows up in that pipe. We have run
a long "snake" down thru the pipe (which sits about 15 inches below
the cement level) and have found no obstruction.  Now that we have
opened the escape hole in the cellar floor, we can see that there is
no water sitting underneath the house.  

At the same time, water is finding its way into the basement in two
locations on INSIDE walls, with two floors of house above them! 
Obviously, it must be running along some joists (if that's what it's
called) and finding some opening in the building blocks which
fashion the cellar all the way up the walls. 

So far we've had two construction men in to look at this. One 
wants to dig the usual moat or tunnel all around the cellar 
floor, fill it with gravel, and install a sump pump. OK, this will
NOT stop the water from pouring over the doorsill.  The other
man wants to install a sump pump outdoors, in the bottom of
the staircase, with a drain line thru the back yard. That means
drilling out the cement staircase support, and ripping out the
rose bed and big flower bed and 8 upright yew trees. And
that also will not cure the onrushing flow of mysterious water.

Yes, of course there is a pump available.  Sears sells one. It
would help us clean up, but would not cure the problem. And
we could never sell the house with things in this condition. 
At our age, this also becomes a consideration. 

To track down the oncoming water, the only thing I can think
of would be to use a pneumatic drill to destroy the concrete 
steps leading down -- which could imperil the back door
wooden staircase and landing above itself -- and then just
keep digging alongside the house, thru the vegetable
garden, until we could find some kind of junction and source. 
I had suggested to Jimmie that we start the digging at
ground level, at the top of the staircase, and continue 
digging a channel alongside the house, but it's not so easy --
Jim's 78-y-o right now, and that channel would be 5 feet 
down in the ground, measuring from ground level at the
veggie garden. His shoulders would rebel, even if his
heart did not. 

What's worse, of course, is that I cannot help with the
manual labor, and Jim is used to Powerful Katrinka 
working at his side. I've pinched a nerve or disk in my
back, and will be having a Cat scan next week. Bad
timing . . . 

Nonetheless, David, my thanks for the suggestion! 
We're getting another construction man in here next
week. Perhaps he will have new ideas. 

Penny, NY

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