Stormwater damage is an ongoing problem all communities. Many times the infrastructure has been poorly maintained, pipes are undersized and neighborhoods are left with the problems that are difficult to solve by individuals. Many municipalities expect private homeowners to repair pipes and storm drainage systems that serve hundreds of homes and properties upstream just because a large drainage pipe crosses their property.
After each and every rain I receive calls from homeowners that have been damaged by stormwater. Water fills streets, backs up onto homeowner's yards and literally brings tears to homeowner's eyes. Many have been flooded so many times that just the thought and the sound of thunder upsets them. They don't know what to do or who to turn to.
I go out to their property to help evaluate the problem and advise them of solutions to their stormwater damage problems. Some of the time the solution to the problem is easy to fix but often it is expensive. No homeowner has money set aside for these types of issues.
We all know that water runs downhill.
But when you are looking for a home to buy, the flow of water to the property, across the property and away from the property is not front and center on your mind. It is the location, the kitchen and the master bedroom that is of up-most concern.
As one homeowner said to me, "I never ever considered the drainage in the yard. It never crossed my mind that yard water may be a problem. I was deep into what curtains I would need and the color of paint for the kid's rooms."
This is typical.
If I could give one piece of advice to families looking for homes, it would be to have the property inspected for stormwater problems.
If the house you are about to make an offer on, is near the bottom of the hill, BEWARE. Take extra precaution and thoroughly check how water flows around the property.
Ask the previous homeowner if they have ever had water problems. They are required by law to disclose storm water drainage problems but some do not.
A common problems is when a neighbor hires a contractor to solve their problem and the contractor regrades and redirects the flow of water onto the downstream neighbor's property.
Two single ladies in metro Atlanta lived side by side for years. They were very good neighbors and helped each other as neighbors.
The upstream neighbor hired a contractor to re-grade her yard and haul-in topsoil. He also built a short wall near the property line. The neighbor is happy with what the contractor had done in her yard. It looked good.
Then, it rained and the rainwater came gushing onto the downstream neighbor and damaged her property. The contractor did not want to take responsibility for the storm water damage and refused to help.
The ladies ended up in court and became the worst of enemies.
A number of civil engineers are trained and experienced in stormwater damage issues. Seek the help a professional.
A few are certified by the American Institute of Hydrology (AIH). The AIH tests and certifies qualified engineers that have vast training in hydrology, stormwater damage issues and water quality problems.
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