Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Be kind to your web footed friend

For the duck may be somebody's mother...

Old campfire song.  Lots of need for webbed feet around here these days.

Just quick; we got another 2.5" of rain; on totally saturated ground; wound up with 2 feet of water in the cellar.  Big mess.  Pumped it out, which took more than half a day with our little pump.

That cellar has been dry for 20 years.  It's on  a hilltop, for crying out loud- so it would stay dry (not attached to the Little House).  Trying to figure out how to keep it dry.

More rain on the way, storms predicted tonight, Weds, Thurs, and Fri- running in to town for supplies while the sun shines.  Sheesh.


Theresa said...

Yikes, sending you lots of dry thoughts! It's just not fair you have to deal with this two years in a row.

Anonymous said...

Hi Greenpa

Here in aussie we would use what we call an Ag drain (agricultural drain)

It is essentially a deep trench running around the outside of the building with a pipe that has slots cut all the way along, is then covered by something like shadecloth and filled with rocks, bluemetal etc covered by a layer of sand.

Dug to a reasonable depth it can carry the water away from the building and prevent seepage thats causing the flooding.


Anonymous said...

Trench around it, to intercept surface water flow and divert it away?

Or is the water seeping in from the sides/bottom, ground water just not running downhill fast enough?

Not fun to do with wet dirt.

Nobody makes a portable windmill sump pump, I guess ....

Susan Och said...

Over here on the other side of Lake Michigan we can, for once, set out tomato plants without using a hose to soak this dune soil as we go. Lake Michigan has slightly higher water for the first time in years. The storms are flooding the southern end of the lake but we find them to be a blessing here.

Of course, if the winds shift slightly I'll be eating my words as I bail out the basement.

Greenpa said...

Molly, and Hank - it's too wet! The whole ground is saturated. A drain would just be underwater right now. They DO make 12V automatic sump pumps- but not for free, and we'd have to install it.

Doing something to divert surface water would probably help in the long run. The cellar does have 4 "French drains" I put in originally, just on basic principle; the dry well type. I think they're working in reverse right now!

Anonymous said...

> dry well type

Yep, that's the risk.

Any chance of putting a siphon hose into the wells and pulling water out of them down hill somewhere?

I had to do that with my house until I trenched downhill to "drain to daylight" -- at first the 'dry wells' on the uphill side would fill up, same way, and lead water back into my somewhat belowgrade shed.

Spent a lot of time starting and stopping the siphon hose, but it did pull water out of the wells like crazy given a long enough hose for a good vertical fall.

Connie said...

The Lord have mercy upon you all. That's a lot of water with more on the way.

If there were more of you I guess you could set up a firemans bucket brigade, but it has to go somewhere.

Anonymous said...

You've got me watching the weather where you are and worrying again.

Greenpa said...

Hi, Hank. Well, not to worry- we personally are in no danger- though we're losing some plant material in the cellar; unique genotypes... evolution is a bear.

Can't really use a siphon; cellar too deep, top of hill too broad; we'd need about 400 feet of hose to get below the cellar - no real way to make that work; I can't suck that hard, and the friction in 400' of garden hose would slow flow to nearly nothing- etc, etc.

We might wind up building a roof over the cellar, with rain gutters; would keep the ground there very dry, anyway; give us more latitude in wet seasons. We'll see!

Caroline said...

Hi Greenpa,
I am looking for some help on a different topic, one having to do with too much SUN (something I gather isn't a real issue around your parts these days). I looked for a direct email address, but unless Blogger is cleverly hiding it in plain sight, I couldn't find it. Is there a way I can get directly in touch with you?

Anonymous said...

> 400 feet of hose
That's fatal, fer sure.

> can't suck
I thought the same. Then I realized I could sink the whole hose reel in my "dry" well (brim full at the time) and let it fill with water. Then put a screw cap on each end, drag one end downhill, uncap the _upper_ end, then uncap the lower end. Siphon

> friction at that angle
Depends, I had maybe 4' drop in about 80' slope, and one of those heavy dutyish can't-squash-em type hoses so it couldn't suck itself flat. It didn't drain like a firehose, but it did go down to where (sigh) it'd suck the well dry and kill the siphon and have to be restarted. Did that for a few weeks, all the time ...

Not saying you should waste time on this -- I was desperate, had more like three feet of water possible before the shed would overflow its door sill.

Old steel plumbing pipe may be around from a junkyard, that would work for the long downhill run. If you get enough water into the upper end (hold the downhill end up level with the uphill end, til it fills) to suck some water up over the lip of the well, it can start a siphon and maintain it even with some air in the pipe.

Doesn't help with tornados though.

Sorry, case of male-fix-it syndrome.

DC said...

A bit of irony: In Mason City, Iowa (a town of about 27,000 people), the residents lost their water supply for a few days because of all the flooding -- the gear boxes and pumps that kept the system going were under water. Their waste water treatment plant also nearly went down.

Other parts of Iowa are facing 500 year flood levels. Of course, all of this is making corn prices skyrocket, adding fuel to the global food crisis.

Not good. Not good.