Monday, September 8, 2008

Paving yards to prevent flooding?

The heavy rains and powerful storms wrought by Tropical Storm Hanna Saturday hit one Queens neighborhood particularly hard. Much of Rosedale was flooded, which residents say is often a problem when it rains in the area.

"Every time it rains it floods,” said Rosedale resident Laura Zebro.

"Flood, flood, flood," added Rosedale resident Andrea Robinson.

Part of Hook Creek Boulevard was underwater Saturday night after Hanna’s heavy rains dropped inches of water on the area.

Robinson's home has been flooded before, but she doesn't worry about it too much now because she learned the hard way five years ago.

“We had to pave out the whole backyard because every time it rains, it use to flood out the basement," said Robinson. floods because people pave over their yards. Laura seems to understand:

"They have built the houses, but they haven't thought about drainage,” said Zebro. “They study to get people in, but not studying what's going to happen when we have this sort of rain."

Heavy Rain, Strong Winds Hit Rosedale Hard


italian girl said...

It all depends on which kind of flooding you get.

If you get rainwater flooding coming in through the foundation or window wells (if you have them) then it makes sense to pave over the area outside your house where water seems to seep in.
If sewer backup is your problem, then paving over doesn't do anything except strain an already stressed drainage system.
This is why some folks have paved over their properties. Not because they hate green, but all the water they get in their basements.
Although some do pave it over because they hate green and all the work that goes with it.

Anonymous said...

No it doesn't make sense to do that. Because when you do that, the water ends up in your neighbor's basement and then they will pave over their yard. If everyone paves over their yard, the water ends up in the street, overburdening the sewers, and then it's right back into everyone's basements again. What you need to do is your foundation or windows fixed, but many people want the easier and cheaper solution which ends up hurting them in the long run. Another thing is don't buy a house with a driveway that sinks below street level.

italian girl said...

Yes, but how do you fix window wells?

Anonymous said...

My grandmother's house has windows in the basement. There is a curb in front of them to prevent water from getting down into the wells. Never flooded - ever.

italian girl said...

"No it doesn't make sense to do that. Because when you do that, the water ends up in your neighbor's basement and then they will pave over their yard."

In the end, no one's going to care about their neighbor's basement, just their own.

Anonymous said...

In the end, the water will be in everyone's basement when the street sewers can't handle the deluge, is the point.

italian girl said...

Not if your have a a manual flood gate that will shut off the sewer line into your home which is what I have.

Anonymous said...

Those are not failproof. My neighbor had 2 inches of sewage in her basement despite that. And if you are not home, you lose.

italian girl said...

We also have a second level of protection. We have this flap thing(sorry I don't know the technical term) that also blocks out sewer water.
The key is the flap has to be closed at all times and you can't flush a toilet or turn on water in any way. Also don't use Charmin toilet paper or any of those two-plys. They get stuck in the flap leaving it open. We found out the hard way.
A couple of weaks ago, a lot of my neighbors got 6 inches+ of water in their basements. We got none.

Anonymous said...

That's a backflow valve.

So the choice is between being able to use the toilet or having sewage in your basement. Great. Maybe we should bring back the outhouse.

italian girl said...

"That's a backflow valve."

YES! That's it.
Wow, either you're really smart or you're a plumber.

"So the choice is between being able to use the toilet or having sewage in your basement. Great. Maybe we should bring back the outhouse."

LOL. All part of the joy of living in Queens.

Anonymous said...

How about the illegal basement commercial kitchens the Pakistanis and Bengalis have? they go out at night and dump the used cooking oil down the sewer. Of course when it rains the sewer is backed up. DEP can't figure out why.

Or the 'wonderful' store front Church who dumps plaster and construction debris down the very same sewer? How does a store front church afford to do major renovations, buy a building and put in huge crystal chandeliers?
The DEP on Saturday couldn't figure that one out either.

I've noticed that in my neighborhood the diverse community likes to kill off trees, dump garbage in the pits, peel off the bark. One person paved their entire front yard and complained to a neighbor about a tree in his front yard blocking their view. When he was out of town, new neighbors cut back his tree. They then proceeded to hold fiestas on the concrete, ie blast music until 4:00am on a weeknight.

KG2V said...

what you do in not pave over the yard, but regrade your yard. By design, I think it's the 6 ft around the house is supposed to have like a 2 or 3" drop - anyway, whatever the number is. The problem is that over the years, the slope tends to erode away, and the yard really needs to be regraded

The other problem is when neighbors grade their yards to dump water in YOUR yard.

Your window wells are SUPPOSED to have a "french drain" at the bottom, but they get clogged with silt if not maintained. Dig them out 3-4 ft deep, fill them with fresh gravel, and a LOT of water will drain in.

Clean your gutters, and your downspouts. The downspouts are either supposed to go into your sewer connection, OR be run out to the curb. Of course, you go to a 50+ year old house, the old drain line that typically ran out to the curb underground is cracked/broken, 1/2 paved over etc, and no one pays to fix it - they just change their downspout to dump the water next to the house, and then they wonder why their basement floods.

Of course, these are the things your home inspector is supposed to look for when you buy a house, but then again, people hire a home inspector that will give them an "OK" no matter what, so the bank will give them their zero down loan, and they can't afford to fix the property when they find the real problems.

The old "20% down + 3 months Mortgage payment in the bank", "Home inspections", "Title insurance" etc rules were not made to prevent you from getting a house, they were there so that if you had a downturn, you didn't lose the house, you had enough cash in the bank to make a few payments, you had a stable job, and your house wasn't going to fall apart in the first rain storm

But then again, how would you fit an extra million people in NYC...

Anonymous said...

People of Rosedale: You officially live in a crappy area neglected by the city. Who wants to live in a swamp? Who wants to get West Nile virus from all the mosquitos in the festering waters?

Anonymous said...

The trick is not to pave the whole yard, just 3-4 feet next to the house with a slope away from the wall. The water then runs into the grassy part and gets absorbed there.

Skii Skii said...

The right term is call a "check valve "so that the backflow water don't come in ur house