About a month ago my basement had water due to the week long rain in
the Northeast in mid-October. Since then I've been trying to educate
myself with the water table in my area.
The previous owner of my house use to have a shallow well pump in the
basement. The pump is gone, but the 2" galvanized pipe is still in the
ground, sticking up about 3" above the basement floor. If you look
inside and measure, the water is 23" below my basement floor. Just to
be sure this was not "trapped water", I used my shop vac to suck out as
much water as I can in the pipe, but within minutes the water level
rose again. So I'm assuming this is the water table. It has been a
constant 23" for the past 2 weeks. I am assuming this is what it is
normally since we had little or no rain recently.
So my question is should I be concerned? Is this normal for the water
to be just 23" below the basement floor? I live in a 45 year old
split-level. I don't know if its been like this since the house was
built or if the water table changed over the years. Any input
It is 2 feet lower, it will do no harm but make your basement humid
which painting with oil paint and a dehumidifier can cure. I live a few
feet from a lake and many people I know have much higher levels. I
would plant trees if you are concerned and there are few, you might be
able to irrigate your lawn cheaper with a pump and free water.
I can't help you with the water table issue. I can, however shed a little
light on the problem this time. Many areas of the Northeast received far
more rain than normal in the course of nine days. Basements that have been
dry for 40 years had water in them. At work, we had 16.5" of water in the
building, the first time since 1936 when it was 1/4" higher.
You can expect it to happen again. It was 69 years between events this
time. It may be another 69 years, 150 years, or next month. Plan
the answer lies somewhere between your 2 neighbors and their basements,
your frost line, the house drainage system for rainwater, the house
sewer system, a local old time experienced plumber, the previous owner,
and the local municipality and its requirements.
consider additional uestions...
the local well was replaced by city water or a different well? why?
insufficient? low quality? unsanitary?
I would be tempted to properly connect a shallow well pump
or sprinkler pump to that well. You could then run the pump
during problem times to keep the water table below the level
that would leak into your basement. It could also serve to
water your yard other times.
Get your fishing rod and drop a weight down the well. See how deep it
is. Around here the wells are usually around 200 feet deep but the
water pressure in that aquefer will drive the water up to very close
to ground level. (artesian well)
20 years ago they would free flow. These days the static level is 2'
to about 25' down in the dry season.
There are a couple aquifers between ground water and the one we use
but this is the first one with decent water.
On Sat, 12 Nov 2005 01:27:41 -0500, email@example.com wrote:
I'll say one thing. If that pipe was in my basement, It would either
have a pump connected to it, or be capped. If the water table rises
over 23 inches, its not just water seeping into walls, the basement
becomes part of the well.
I know this from experience. I owned a house in a high water table
area. The house had a pit well. From the pit, there was some of that
old 4" orangeburg running into the basement, used as a conduit for the
1" plastic water pipe to the pump. One night we had a bad rain storm.
I heard water pouring in the basement. Took a look and found water
gushing out of that 4" pipe. The sump pump was running constantly.
But the sump pump had a 1 1/4" pipe going outside. There is no way
the sump pump could keep up with that 4" pipe spilling into the
basement, full blast, because the water table rose above basement
level, and thus the well pit rose and was dumping a full 4" stream.
Look at it this way, a 4" pipe is larger than most fire hoses. That's
a hell of alot of water coming in.
I grabbed a spare sump pump with a flex hose and ran it out the
window. Sat it right on the floor, since there was a foot of water in
the whole basement by then. But even two pumps could not keep up.
Then to turn a bad situation into a disaster, lightning knocked out my
power. It took less than an hour to fill the entire basement to over
5 feet deep. When the power came back on, the sump pumps still could
not carry the water away fast enough to make any real noticable drop
in the depth. I simply had to wait till the water table dropped. days
later. By them the furnace, water heater, washer and dryer, and lots
of other things were all destroyed, as well as the jet pump for the
All it took was a little cement inside the orangeburg and around the
plastic well pipe to prevent this from happening again. If it was not
for that pipe, I would have had seeping water in the basement thru
cracks in the walls. One sump pump could have easily kept the water
to only an inch or less on the floor. When the power went out, it may
have gotten a foot deep (during the 3+ hours it was out). But that
pipe was disaster.....
Thanks for you responses. In answering some of your questions:
this pump was used for sprinklers. I believe the previous owner
stopped using well water because it was staining his sidewalk, and
everything else the water came in contact with. So he switched to city
Even if I did cap the pipe, water would still come between the side of
the pipe and the floor. I found this out when my basement flooded. No
water ever came out of the pipe itself because the pipe is 3" above the
floor and the water inside was 2" above the floor when it flooded, but
it did come through the side of the pipe, as well as from under the
slab throughout the entire basement. As the other poster remarked
about Artesian wells, I could measure how deep my well is. If this is a
deep well, then could I assume it does have some pressure in it?
My neighbor next door has lived there for 30 years and said this is the
first time he got water in the basement, as well as other people on my
block. Meanwhile some houses on my block did not see any water, like my
neighbor down the block, whose house sits lower than mine.
Be sure to take slope and drainage into account. Someone who's "lower"
might also be adjacent to a better route for water to drain along. When
you're on a gradual slope and it rains well beyond the usual the water isn't
running down the slope 'fast enough' to get away from the house. The house
down the block may simply have the luck of being position such that the
water found it easier to run downhill. There's also geological
possibilities but it's probably just the overall slope of the property.
OK that sounds like you are looking at ground water unless there is
some containing rock ledge or clay right there.
It may not ever rise but if it does your basement will probably be
wet. Do your neighbors have sump pumps?
Your " standpipe" is 3" up water was 2" up you were real close to a
flood. Raise the pipe, concrete the base and get a screw cap to seal it.
Open it for watering or putting a pump down it, you have a very high
table, you may need pumping at different times.
As I said in my other post, the water never came out of the pipe, but
it did come up through the floor in the corners. So even if I did cap
the pipe and concrete the base, water would still come up.
I called the dept of public works yesterday, and they have a monitoring
well about a mile away from my house about the same grade where I live.
They said back in Sept, the last time they took a reading, they
measured water at 7 feet below street level, which kind of made sense
because my basement floor is 5 feet below street level, and plus the 2
feet below that is the water line in my pipe, equals 7 feet.
I asked the engineer if that was normal, he said yes.
I guess it somewhat answered my question. I just wanted to make sure
my house does not sink one day.
With a water table that high, you REALLY need a sump pump.
You will have to chop out the cement about 30 inch square.
Get a plastic sump pit. Drill a series of 1/4" holes in it about 10
inches from the top. Dig hole the depth of the pit. Install pit and
put gravel around it. Cement in the top of the pit to match the
floor. Then install your pump and piping.
I'd still put hydraulic cement around that well pipe and cap it when
not used. Put hydraulic cement in other floor holes too.
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