By Brad Ross
As I write this column, it’s a Wednesday in 2014, which means it is probably going to rain!
I know this because I golf in a league on Wednesday nights and it has rained on 90 percent of our matches. Seriously, this spring and summer have been exceptionally wet, and has precipitated (a conservation joke) a larger than normal volume of calls to the Delaware Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) office about wet basements or flooding in yards. If you have a drainage problem around your home, it probably has shown up this year. Managing excess water in a non-destructive manner helps maintain the value of your home and reduces maintenance and repair costs. Water damage in a house is better prevented than fixed.
The predominant soil types in Delaware County are somewhat poorly drained to poorly drained. About 85 percent of the land in Ohio is affected by a seasonal high water table – the level at which the soil is saturated with water. The easiest way to prevent drainage issues is to identify the soil type and incorporate proper grading and drainage before the house is constructed. Remedial measures can often be added to the landscape of existing homes; however, it is usually more difficult and costly.
Depending on whether the problem is with surface or subsurface water, there is a difference in the way you handle excess water. In some cases, both surface and subsurface drainage systems will be needed to solve the problem. Diverting excess surface water away from the house with proper grading can overcome the vast majority of wet basement problems. Remember Scouting 101 where they taught you to dig a ditch around your tent to divert water away? Adding subsurface (tile) drainage around the foundation will alleviate problems associated with excess water below the soil surface.
Controlling excess external water around and beneath the house is essential to your health and safety, as well as maintaining the value of your home. By keeping the foundation from being saturated and the basement dry, you can eliminate mildew, wood destroying fungi and destruction of other building materials. Five measures that will reduce excess water include:
• A functioning lot drainage system.
• Properly installed and maintained gutters, downspouts, and drains to conduct the water away from the foundation.
• A waterproofed foundation wall with properly installed footer drains.
• A waterproofed floor slab.
• A sump pump.
For additional information, simply search key word “drainage around your home” on the Internet. There are a number of good sites that discuss options available, including instructional YouTube videos. And you can visit the Delaware SWCD website at www.delawareswcd.org or call the SWCD office at 740-368-1921. We have technical staff that can answer your questions.