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Minor Victory

After weeks of exploring different avenues by which to attack the leaky basement, a $20,000 estimate, dead ends with several drainage contractors, numerous pleas and prayers, and a sketchy visit last week from the Roto-Rooter guy*, I was ready to throw up my hands last night and hand the whole thing over to drmellow--with the concession that I would still schedule appointments and maybe meet with contractors; I just didn't want to track any more of them down.

However, it's a new day, and I scored a fortuitous victory on the way back from K&W (after unknowingly selecting a really nasty blackberry... concoction for dessert. I think it was supposed to be cheesecake, but it resembled more of a wiggly, gelatinous, floury mound covered with deceptively delicious-looking sauce).

I discovered where our underground drain lines empty into the street.

(Which led to another revelation--and one that I can never have too often: God is unceasingly awesome at answering prayers; He just operates on His own timeline. Sometimes I need reminding that even when I think I'm in sync with The Plan™... well, there's the problem. I was thinking.)

I was getting out of the car, which drmellow had parked in front of the house, and I stepped on a piece of the curb which looked very slightly different from the rest of the curb. In fact, it looked as though about 6 inches of it had been manually patched at some point--a thin layer of hand-spread cement the only indicator. It occurred to me that that 6 inches could accommodate a 4-ince terra cotta drain pipe. I picked up a stick and started poking at the dirt and silt built up along the curb. A few minutes later, I had unearthed the definite curve of a man-made opening--more than just a chipmunk hole. I looked up the hill. It was right in line with the side of the house. I dug out some more dirt. It was about 4 inches wide. Hopefully, the window well drains and the basement floor drain are all tied into this one line.

All this time people have been telling us the drainage system probably drained into the storm sewer (under the street) or came out on our ivy-covered hill, so clogged with roots and dirt that we'd have to tear up the hillside to find it. Well, apparently it empties right there onto the street. Easy to get to. Perhaps now I can find someone who will be willing to come take a shot at cleaning it out.

*The Roto-Rooter guy (think Paul Bunyan) showed up with his wife in the van, looked at our clogged window well drains and proceeded to tell us about all the money we could save by hiring him to do the job on his day off. Part of his proposed solution involved having us go rent a DitchWitch that he would operate in order to cut through 6-8 feet of tree roots so that the drain line could be excavated to the street. No thanks! I don't want our 150-foot oak tree falling on our house. He left once and came back 15 minutes later to tell us about how he could also do the work on our basement if we let him down there to assess the situation. Uh, no. This "estimate" cost us $50.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 17th, 2007 06:35 pm (UTC)
You go girl!! That's awesome that you found it! =)
Apr. 17th, 2007 07:27 pm (UTC)
Call your city offices. They should be the ones who routinely come by and clean out the gutters , etc......at least they do in our neighborhood. You are only responsible for so much of the front yard and then it's city property. Good luck!
Apr. 18th, 2007 06:31 pm (UTC)
The clogged lines are part of a privately-owned (not city-maintained) drainage system located on our property. The city does maintain the storm sewers, but the above-ground pipe opening confirms that our system does not tie into theirs. Even if it did, they would only be responsible for maintenance up to the residential access point.

Thanks for the suggestion, though. Do I know who this is?

Apr. 18th, 2007 03:20 am (UTC)
Yay! Hopefully this will help you a lot.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )


The Inimitable Miss M

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