As I sit here listening to my three sump pumps running and keeping an eye on the rising water level in the basement, I wonder if anyone out there has a problem such as this.

We were told that our house, built in 1915 (?) was originally built as an Inn. (It's location at a five points makes that seem possible) Supposidly, the refrigeration system used at the time was by building over an underground stream to use a fruit cellar and cold storage area. Hence, we have a running stream UNDER our house.

When we looked at the house, we were inexperienced buyers, and in a hurry (five days to find a house)...stupid people that we were. We saw the three sump pumps and did not think that they were a big deal, it was an old house, the basement only housed the hot water heater and furnace. I have to duck in the basement as I hit my head on the floor beams. There did not seem to be any issues with water. The owners told us that they got a little water once or twice a year when it rained very hard, very fast. Water does not leak into the basement, it comes UP when the underground stream rises.

This really was not a problem for us until someone put a modular house on the land behind us, raising the level of the land there when they placed the house. Most towns have an ordinance against raising the level of the land that much, not here.

The city then decided that it did not like the old tree stump on the corner of our front lawn that had a new tree growing in it, so they removed it..and a lot of dirt fill along with it and had to replace the storm drain at that corner....the new one being about 5 inches higher than the last, then came the Gas company putting in new lines, more fill dirt gone, and last but certainly not least, the city contracted to have the street repaved which covered up the added drainage pipe that allowed water from the intersection to drain.

Now, we have a pond. Complaints to the City have been answered with "that corner has always been that way". It is true that it has always been a poorly designed drainage area, but with each year and more changes, I have this pond, my drainage pipes from the sump pumps do not do much good as the water now returns with more water from uphill and through my basement walls.

We had replaced the furnace (circa 1955) and water heater after serious flooding that our entire area went though just under four years ago. We applied to have FEMA help us out with the cost. We were denied...want to guess why? Believe it or not, it was because we did not stay in a hotel, because we "roughed it" we were not given the assistance all of the homes on our street received! I am not kidding. I never thought that we would ever be penalized for staying in the home (we showered at a local gym and at work and ate out for a few days). Now I know.

So, once the water dries up, it has stopped raining and the pumps are now catching up and getting the water out, I will go back to pondering my sinking front porch, my uneven kitchen floor, and my original pine floors.

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Comment by John Rodgers on March 8, 2009 at 9:17pm
same problems at my house...while the ceiling is a little higher, it only houses the water heater and a HVAC condenser (originally a furnace). The water gets in anytime there is a heavy heavy rainstorm (drains through soil too fast), several days of heavy rain (drains through walls once the soil is hyper-saturated), or when the mississippi river is very high (a block from the water, so it comes up from underneath.

I've pretty much gotten into the routine of checking every few days when one of the three situations exists, but I dont think there's any real way of solving the issues as they relate to my home. It's not common to have a basement in South Louisiana, so I'm playing the cards I've been dealt. The plus side is the unusable space of the basement, and the cool damp temperature make for a perfect excuse to convert it into a wine cellar...
Comment by jane on March 22, 2009 at 9:09am
I read your post and tried to think of any good advice I had - and I have none.

The only consolation I can give is that I have worked on contemporary houses in subdivisions which had the same problem - due to poor layout of the neighborhood, landscaping being added which dammed natural seasonal water courses, or even in one case people next door paving for a sports court.


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