Drainage: The water has to go somewhere!

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Rosenberg
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Drainage: The water has to go somewhere!

Post by Rosenberg » Tue Sep 25, 2007 10:08 pm

Could someone please give me some advice on a drainage issue?

My house is built on the top of a hill such that the back garden (16m wide by 20m long) slopes down towards the rear and left boundaries. Each boundary consists of a four-foot high earth bank (planted on top with quickthorn etc). On the other sides of the banks are a field and a private lane.

The problem is that the hedgebanks (consisting of heavy clay soil) trap all surface rainwater within my garden, so the lowest corner (about 30 or 40 square metres) looks like a large dirty swimming pool during the winter months.

Unfortunately, I can't remove the hedgebanks because their presence is a condition imposed by the Local Authority when they granted planning permission for our house. The only solution has been for me to install drainage pipes through the base of the banks - which I have done this summer.

However, the owner of the adjoining field and lane is now complaining about the water draining onto his land. Another neighbour living two fields away, down the hill, is also complaining about water "cascading" down the lane and onto his property. I can't see that the run-off from my garden is causing either of these neighbours any problems - especially when you consider that my garden's rain catchment area is only about 320 square metres, and most of that water is draining onto a 6000 square metre field used only for grazing.

Unfortunately, the rainwater has got to go somewhere - I can't make it flow uphill. And anyway, before the hedgebanks were built, the water would have run off into the field naturally.

Can anyone advise me of the legality of the situation? Have I done the wrong thing in installing the drainage pipes? I would be grateful for any suggestions.

Thanks.

arborlad
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Post by arborlad » Wed Sep 26, 2007 6:04 pm

How old are these hedgebanks?

Are you sure there isn't some drainage in-situ, that you either haven't found yet, or isn't working properly?

If the hedgebanks are ancient, they will have been built by people with a full knowledge of how water runs and how not to cause a puddle in the corner of a field.

By law, you have to deal with your own run-off, within your own curtailage, so those pipes would be illegal, unless they are emptying into an established ditch or watercourse, it doesn't sound like yours are.

Where does the rest of your drainage go to, guttering etc?
arborlad

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Rosenberg
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Post by Rosenberg » Tue Oct 02, 2007 3:01 pm

Thanks for replying arborlad. Sorry I haven't been back on the forum sooner.

The hedgebanks are about ten years old. They were erected by the developer who built our house. He turned out to be a bit of a "cowboy" and has since gone bankrupt. I'm sure he didn't install any drainage in the banks.

The rest of the drainage from house roof etc. goes into the normal rainwater drains that serve all the other houses on the development.

The problem is, where the water collects in the garden is much further downhill than these drains. The only way I could divert the water into those drains would be to install a pump. All the mud and silt would probably just block the drains anyway, which wouldn't make me popular with other householders on the development.

Unfortunately, there are no established drains in the field on the other side of the bank. The area where the housing development now lies used to be just a field, and the water flowed freely downhill, from one field to the next.

Its worrying what you said about the legality of the pipes. What I don't understand is why it would now be illegal to allow the water to follow its natural course downhill (i.e. the course it would follow if our banks weren't there) onto the fields. That's the course it must have followed for thousands of years until our banks were built ten years ago.

Would be just as illegal if I were to replace the hedgebanks with open fencing: the rainwater would then flow through following its natural course downhill. That's a hypothetical question really, as the Council won't let me remove the banks because they are - rightly in my view - required to mask the housing development from the rest of the countryside.

Seems to me that I'm caught between two conflicting sets of regulations - unless I've missed something somewhere. I'd be grateful for any suggestions.

paddy's mum
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Post by paddy's mum » Tue Oct 02, 2007 5:04 pm

If the other householders also have this bank system in place, are they experiencing the same problem and if so, what have they managed to do to alleviate it?

Might it be worth having a word with the planning department and ask if they have come across this particular problem before and if so, how it can be dealt with?

For what it's worth, I believe the farmer has every right in law to demand that the water is not led onto his land, notwithstanding your comment about where the water would have naturally run previously.

Could you perhaps install some sort of tank below soil level where the water collects and use it in summer to water your own garden or perhaps just construct a simple soakaway?

arborlad
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Post by arborlad » Tue Oct 02, 2007 6:47 pm

I think you have to seperate the natural from the artificial.

If your hedgebanks didn't exist - then yes, any rain that fell on the ground, would find it's way downwards and downhill, usually by natural fissures in the ground - some large, some small, but it would mostly happen unnoticed/naturally.

Once you interfere with this natural flow - by putting in hedgebanks and subsequently pipes, you're concentrating and channeling this water, which will then find an unnatural way to get away and cause problems.

As you're on clay soil, I don't think a soakaway will work, but some sort of sump would, with a silt trap fitted, so only 'clean' water would be pumped into the drains.
arborlad

smile...it confuses people

Rosenberg
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Post by Rosenberg » Thu Oct 04, 2007 5:31 pm

Thank you both for your replies.

An underground tank would ideal Paddys Mum, but it would probably have to be enourmous. My neighbour's are in a different situation because they have hedgebanks along only one boundary and some/all of their surface rainwater runs off through a boundary fence into my garden. That's partly why so much water collects against our hedgebanks.

I don't really think that the water is causing the farmer any problems at all. The run off seems to wet no more than a few square metres of the field before soaking in - and the field is used only for grazing, not crops. (To be frank I think the issue is more one of English newcomers in the Welsh farmer's countryside - but that's by the by.)

However, I don't want to be doing anything illegal or give the farmer any cause for complaint, so I think the only solution will be to pump it out as you suggested Arborlad.

I have never heard of a silt trap before. Do you know where to get these things?

hzatph
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Post by hzatph » Thu Oct 04, 2007 10:50 pm

You can't just say that 320 sq metres is 5% of 6000 and so you can carry on with relaive impunity ... at least in my opinion.

If you install a proper sump it will not get too much silt etcin it and will pump clean water.

carpinus
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Post by carpinus » Thu Oct 04, 2007 11:00 pm

I have never heard of a silt trap before. Do you know where to get these things?


Builders merchants, plumbing supplies or, best of all, the good ole t'internet! But then, having looked at them on screen, you could make your own.

Jeds
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Post by Jeds » Tue Oct 09, 2007 3:27 pm

Dig a trial soakaway on your land. Given reasonable ground conditions a 1mx1mx1m hole can deal with a suprising volume of water. You may ultimately need more than that but a trial hole will tell you.
John

subjecttocontract
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Post by subjecttocontract » Tue Oct 09, 2007 3:52 pm

[quote="Jeds"]Dig a trial soakaway on your land. Given reasonable ground conditions a 1mx1mx1m hole can deal with a suprising volume of water. quote]

Correct.....and that surprising volume for 1 cu metre = 220 gallons.
Almost everything I say is tinged with irony !

Rosenberg
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Post by Rosenberg » Tue Oct 09, 2007 5:51 pm

Okay thanks everyone, I'll try that as it sounds a simpler option. Then if necessary, I'll install a pump and silt trap.

One thing is bothering me. If my drainage pipes are such a legal problem how come it's okay for water from my neighbours' land to drain into my garden? I would only have one third of the water to get rid of if it weren't for the contribution from my neighbours' gardens.

arborlad
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Post by arborlad » Tue Oct 09, 2007 6:03 pm

If your uphill neighbour has a lawn and rainfall flows from that onto yours, that is considered natural and not a lot you can do about it.

If your neighbour has a patio designed so that water runs off that onto your land that is not legal.
arborlad

smile...it confuses people

Uriah Heap
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Post by Uriah Heap » Tue Oct 09, 2007 6:10 pm

subject to contract wrote:
Jeds wrote:Dig a trial soakaway on your land. Given reasonable ground conditions a 1mx1mx1m hole can deal with a suprising volume of water.

Correct.....and that surprising volume for 1 cu metre = 220 gallons.
it would be surprising considering that soakaways are filled with rock / rubble etc - more like 100 gallons if you are lucky

youre letting your university education show there subject to contract :lol:

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Stoday
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Post by Stoday » Tue Oct 09, 2007 9:50 pm

Uriah Heap wrote:
it would be surprising considering that soakaways are filled with rock / rubble etc - more like 100 gallons if you are lucky
You've let the cat out of the bag there UH. If you didn't have a university education you'd know that practical soakaways are no longer filled with rock & rubble. They are made as prefabricated celluar systems from recycled plastic and hold a far greater proportion of water.

:lol:

subjecttocontract
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Post by subjecttocontract » Tue Oct 09, 2007 10:35 pm

30 All

Great game Tennis isn't it 8)
Almost everything I say is tinged with irony !

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