View Full Version : Storm-water Drainage Issue in Edmond



C_M_25
01-26-2013, 08:48 AM
I found this to be a pretty good read:

Drainage issue swells up at city meeting Local News The Edmond Sun (http://www.edmondsun.com/local/x2056595847/Drainage-issue-swells-up-at-city-meeting)

Has anybody here had this issue?

We live up on hill, so flooding is not really an issue for us; however, it is a problem for the neighborhood. Our soil consists primarily of 5+ feet of bright red, silty-loam soil. Digging down, you'll hit streaks of clay and caliche. As you can imagine, the drainage isn't the best out here. Our neighbors across the street from us built their house recently, and it is directly down-grade from us. Their driveway slopes down toward their garage. You see this quite often out here actually. When the builders put sod down, they watered it pretty heavily. After a couple hours of watering, they flooded the house....WITH THE SPRINKLERS!! The homeowners saw this and didn't close until a french-drain was put in. The moral of the story, the builders didn't pay attention to grade at all. In fact, they tried to dry it out before the homeowners came out to see the progress on their brand new home. Builders rush to get these houses done (which when I buy again, it will not be a newly built house), and they don't pay attention to details. Worse yet, the city doesn't enforce the issue. They just hold the homeowner accountable rather than the builders or even themselves. They say the couldn't see the issue because there wasn't any flooding events at the time, but there are ways to simulate the issue. As development continues around the area, we have to stand up for our rights and hold the city and builders accountable for the gross negligence in designing plats.

C_M_25
01-26-2013, 04:24 PM
No comments/discussion on this issue?

MDot
01-26-2013, 04:39 PM
Saturday's and Sunday's are usually slow days on here. I presume it's because people have free time to spend with their family or little projects they have going on.

Plutonic Panda
01-26-2013, 05:47 PM
No comments/discussion on this issue?I really didn't know what to say. To be honest, for the life of me, I just didn't feel like reading that entire article(which btw they could've made a freaking book out of it lol :P ) and only got the jist that they were concerned that there was going to be 100year flood and that they would affected by it more so than other who choose to build or move into a house elsewhere. None the less, I understand their frustrations and worries.

C_M_25
01-26-2013, 08:15 PM
I really didn't know what to say. To be honest, for the life of me, I just didn't feel like reading that entire article(which btw they could've made a freaking book out of it lol :P ) and only got the jist that they were concerned that there was going to be 100year flood and that they would affected by it more so than other who choose to build or move into a house elsewhere. None the less, I understand their frustrations and worries.

Hmm, well I guess it was a little long. To paraphrase:

Two guy's houses, built in 2006, are now below the lowest grade in the neighborhood due to recent development. Now their yards flood during major rain events. Also, I believe they discussed that one of their yards wasn't graded correctly to begin with. They have invested thousands of dollars in correcting the issue. They claim that builders need to be responsible for proper grading of, not only the plat, but they need to coordinate in the entire neighborhood so water flows properly between the houses. The city seems apprehensive to hold the builders responsible. As far as inspections are concerned, city code is set up just to make sure water flows away from the house. Also, I guess inspectors don't really pay much attention to grade because major rain events don't typically occur during inspections. SO, these guys want builders/city to pay for damages, and they threatened to sue. The city basically said, "go ahead, we don't really care."

So we have this issue of builders throwing houses up as fast as they can without little regard to proper grade for the neighborhood and a city that doesn't take the proper steps during inspections. This could end up costing people A LOT of money in the end.

Snowman
01-26-2013, 08:43 PM
No comments/discussion on this issue?

Flooding like this is a hyper-localized problem, so you usually end up with nothing but the least any party has to do. No one is for it but it is probably not going to get a ground swell of support for the city to pay anything to the people with the misfortune of buying a property that was poorly designed. At best it might get support for more regulation in new editions. From experience I have seen with people who had a problem I would not touch a property like that, even with a french drain it is a bad idea, it could get clogged or depending on layout overwhelmed in heavy rain since other water could already be getting high in the road's gutter reducing it's flow.

C_M_25
01-26-2013, 09:13 PM
Flooding like this is a hyper-localized problem, so you usually end up with nothing but the least any party has to do. No one is for it but it is probably not going to get a ground swell of support for the city to pay anything to the people with the misfortune of buying a property that was poorly designed. At best it might get support for more regulation in new editions. From experience I have seen with people who had a problem I would not touch a property like that, even with a french drain it is a bad idea, it could get clogged or depending on layout overwhelmed in heavy rain since other water could already be getting high in the road's gutter reducing it's flow.

Agreed. My neighbors should have walked away from their house when they saw their garage/front yard flooded from sprinklers. There is probably nothing that can be done about homes that have already been purchased, but something needs to be done about any future development especially with this oklahoma clay. The city really needs to step up in these new developments and make sure the plats AND neighborhoods are being constructed with the proper grade in mind. The city needs to have thorough inspectors and be ready to hold builders accountable for these problems.

Plutonic Panda
01-26-2013, 09:15 PM
Hmm, well I guess it was a little long. To paraphrase:

Two guy's houses, built in 2006, are now below the lowest grade in the neighborhood due to recent development. Now their yards flood during major rain events. Also, I believe they discussed that one of their yards wasn't graded correctly to begin with. They have invested thousands of dollars in correcting the issue. They claim that builders need to be responsible for proper grading of, not only the plat, but they need to coordinate in the entire neighborhood so water flows properly between the houses. The city seems apprehensive to hold the builders responsible. As far as inspections are concerned, city code is set up just to make sure water flows away from the house. Also, I guess inspectors don't really pay much attention to grade because major rain events don't typically occur during inspections. SO, these guys want builders/city to pay for damages, and they threatened to sue. The city basically said, "go ahead, we don't really care."

So we have this issue of builders throwing houses up as fast as they can without little regard to proper grade for the neighborhood and a city that doesn't take the proper steps during inspections. This could end up costing people A LOT of money in the end.Okay okay, well I think in the future it should be regulated and the city should make sure to take actions to prevent home builders from doing crappy jobs. I also believe it is up to the home buyer to make sure that he/she inspects or hires an inspector before he/she buys it. I think both parties are at fault to some extent.

SoonerDave
01-26-2013, 09:50 PM
I'm sorry, but in many of these cases (not all), the home buyer *has* to have some accountability. You don't have to be a builder or a civil engineer to recognize how gravity will cause water to flow to the lowest point. But people get a little starry eyed about buying a house, and look at finishes, floors, and lights without giving a second thought to how the water drains across the yard. And if you can't tell that your *driveway* slopes *down* INTO your garage, man, you have a tough time convincing me that's the *builder's* responsibility. They can only build on the land in front of them.

When I built our house 14 years ago, I went on a meticulous search around the neighborhood around the undeveloped lots to find one where I could tell I was looking downhill in all directions. Found the lot I wanted, got it, and guess what - the water runoff drains exactly the way it did when there wasn't a single house here. A couple of years later, the folks behind me bought what was a spec house, never noticing that the back of their yard *sloped down* INTO the back of their house, and then actually talked to ME about having MY yard regraded. I was absolutely dumbfounded. I'd been in that spec house and saw immediately how the grading would roll water adversely, which was precisely why I never went near it. I told the owner what they'd have to do is put in a French drain to route the water away, which is eventually what they did.

Now, I'm not saying that every situation is like this, or that builders have no responsibility whatsoever, but man, people investing that kind of money on a home need to use at least a modicum of common sense and perform some due diligence themselves on where gravity will put water. And if they don't want to do it, I suspect they could probably find a professional engineer or even their architect that would, for a fee, perform an analysis of a given area of land and give them some basic caveats about drainage issues they may face.

A much greater issue that is ripe for city code enforcement IMHO is the horrendous way every Tom, Dick, and Harry is throwing up HVAC systems with zero regard for standards in insulation, heat/cooling loads, or air distribution. Improperly designed HVAC systems are costing some homeowners hundreds of dollars every year in excess electricity costs because they were designed using "rules of thumb" and/or "builder's grade" equipment that would pass an electrical inspection, but don't come close to providing proper heating/cooling. That's an area where a homeowner is almost certainly at a distinct disadvantage, and both them and the community need to know a minimum installation standard/guide is being followed....but that's another rant!!! :)

C_M_25
01-27-2013, 08:16 AM
but that's another rant!!! :)

Rant on my friend. I agree that homeowners need to have accountability, especially in those blatantly obvious situations. However, there are those situations where the grade is subtle, and the homeowner may not notice. It is those situations where, if the city has its due diligence, the homeowner could be saved a lot of money.

Now, on to your rant (I'm all for turning this thread into a general builder b**ch session, btw), energy loss due to poor efficiency and insulation is a big problem. We had Taber build our house, and so far it has been good. They spray foam every inch of the outer walls and roof of the house. Our energy costs have been cut dramatically. Now, the house we rented for the past couple of years was awful. Granted, it was an older house, but the HVAC system was TERRIBLE! It was zoned for upstairs and downstairs, but it was completely underpowered on an 85 degree day. Our bills around May/June were well over $250; whereas, now they never get over $150 even in the hottest months.

SoonerDave
01-28-2013, 08:18 AM
Rant on my friend. I agree that homeowners need to have accountability, especially in those blatantly obvious situations. However, there are those situations where the grade is subtle, and the homeowner may not notice. It is those situations where, if the city has its due diligence, the homeowner could be saved a lot of money.

Now, on to your rant (I'm all for turning this thread into a general builder b**ch session, btw), energy loss due to poor efficiency and insulation is a big problem. We had Taber build our house, and so far it has been good. They spray foam every inch of the outer walls and roof of the house. Our energy costs have been cut dramatically. Now, the house we rented for the past couple of years was awful. Granted, it was an older house, but the HVAC system was TERRIBLE! It was zoned for upstairs and downstairs, but it was completely underpowered on an 85 degree day. Our bills around May/June were well over $250; whereas, now they never get over $150 even in the hottest months.

Well, I've learned the hard way on this HVAC situation.The problem is really pretty simple. Builders contract out the HVAC to whatever sub they use regularly for due to known costs, and many of those subs do a "rule of thumb" calculation to size equipment, duct work, blower capacity, furnace type, and the like. What a great many HVAC professionals are trying to communicate is that those "rules of thumb" are almost worthless, and can end up costing a homeowner thousands over the life of a house. That's precisely what's happening to me.

A properly sized and ducted system can only be designed by performing proper load calculations that consider varying roof heights, exterior wall exposure, local climate extremes, insulation amount/quality, to name only a few factors. At the time I built my home (1999), I considered myself a much-better-educated-than-average customer, but HVAC was where I was dumb as a post. It's only after having lived in my home 14 years that I have discovered that our ductwork is undersized for our house, that the system is generally starved for supply air, and as a result is costing me a small fortune each year to cool (and, to a lesser extent, heat). The kicker is that redoing the ductwork is a non-trivial expense - roughly estimated to be near 30% of the cost of an entirely new system. So, as expensive as it is, it would take me years to recoup the savings from fixing the problem - all because the installer basically just threw up ductwork instead ofdesigning a proper solution using industry guidelines.

These guidelines are known as "Manual J" load calcs, and I've also found that many communities are making them part of building code for new construction. Some HVAC companies don't like doing them, as it takes time, but others insist on doing them not just to properly size the AC compressor, but to design proper airflow for the system. Some HVAC companies are obtaining an industrial certification to communicate to the market that there are specific design critieria and levels of expertise involved in putting these systems together. I loathe piling additional code burdens on businesses, but if the city can mandate 3" trees in the front of houses for aesthetic purposes, surely in this era of energy consciousness they can start looking at residential HVAC installations and designs and do something to aid the homeowner in an area where its entirely unrealistic for them to have specific, or even general, knowledge or expertise.