Have a 20-year old townhouse. In front, the garage is at street
level but the family room in back is below grade. There is a sliding
door from the family room out to a small yard. Just outside the family
room is a concrete pad, with a drain in the center.
Over the years, this drain has gotten slower and slower and in one or
two extremely heavy rains, it was unable to handle the onslaught of
water and we had some come over the sliding door sill into the family
room. It happened again recently.
I popped the top of the drain and found it to be full of small rocks
with the interstices between the rocks packed tight with 20 years of
accumulated crud so I began scooping out the rocks and crud by hand.
Lousy job. I removed about 10, two-gallon pails full of material.
The drain opening is about 6 inches across. As I removed the rocks
and gunk, it seems that the hole/drain immediately below the opening is
about 9 inches to a foot in diameter. I scooped out dirt and rocks for
about two hours and had reached a point about 18 inches down the hole.
As i poked around, I found a pipe, two or three inches in diameter,
an inch or two below the drain going off at a right angle. I gave up
digging junk out after two hours and turned the garden hose on and aimed
it into the hole/drain. It drained faster than I have ever seen it
drain in 10 years. For once, something went right.
a. What is the proper name for this kind of drain?
b. Should I keep going, removing as much of the crud and rocks as I
c. Should I clean the crud off the rocks and put then back?
d. What does that 3-inch diameter pipe going off at a right angle
do? When I aimed the garden hose in, the water level never rose
anywhere near that pipe yet the water drained immediately.
Thanks a lot for any info; I'm clueless about what my next step
Probably connects to the sewer system or dry well
Consider a smaller screen on the cover so that you will be forced to
out the crud sooner.
Thanks for the input. The idea of a smaller screen is a great one.
I'll do that.
You say not to replace the rocks. OK, but what the heck were they
put there for in the first place? I haven't a clue why they are there
but the builders put them there for *some* reason, no?
Again, many thanks.
The "hole" with rocks in it is the drain (sometimes called a sump). Most of
the time, water enters the drain and is dispersed down through the rock and
gravel, into the earth. Over time, sludge can build up on these and reduce
their effectiveness. Therefore, you can remove them, clean 'em up and put
'em back or just replace them with fresh stone. The 3" pipe is an overflow
which is suppose to accomodate the excessive water when the sump can't
handle the rush and fills. make sure it is clear.
Thanks a lot, again, for that clarification.
I'll continue to remove rocks and associated gunk as far down as I
can reach, hose all the gunk off them, then place them back in the hole.
Will also place the garden hose into the 3" overflow pipe and let it
run for for five minutes or so, full blast, to scour away any
accumulated matter therein and wash it into the storm drain.
Boy, am I glad I popped the top off that drain and cleaned it out!
It's a load off my mind; I was going to be worried every time it rained
a little heavier than normal that I was going to get water backing up
into the family room.
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