April 4, 2018

Diversion is key

The solution for most water problems in rural Ontario boils down to diversion. All other leaks and floods are due to operator error.

My house, like many in Northern Ontario swamp and rock land, was built two blocks shy of being high enough. And not all the homeowners in the sticks outside North Bay, ON paid enough attention to drainage.

When I first moved here in 2002, the sump pump was constantly working to get rid of the flow caught in the weepers around the foundation. Compounding the problem, unbeknownst to me, was insufficient piping to carry the load down and out. Instead of PVC, they substituted thin and skinny “vacuum” hose. I discovered that after digging three metres down through boulders and clay to find two roots pinched it closed two feet from the outlet.

Next up was the need to divert the backyard water from pooling on the north side of the home in the first place. After renewing the tar skin on the foundation walls taking the brunt of flow, I improved the grading to slope away from the house. About 190 wheelbarrow loads of sand topped with crushed rock and seeded soil created a pretty good berm.

I also built up a few areas to further divert the spring and storm flows around the house as the water heads naturally through the easiest paths. The 50-foot trench with weeper leading to a mini-retaining pond was worth the effort as it helps drain the muddiest part of the parking lot.

Call it sweat equity.

Have you ever addressed a drainage problem with a unique solution?

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