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Question DetailsAsked on 8/14/2014

Back yard falling into drainage ditch Art M

I live in a development and have a 20 foot wide drainage ditch that is about 3 to 4 feet deep in my back yard. The house is 10 years old and the land is settling/eroding into the drainage ditch. After a heavy rain the water rise to about 5 to 6 feet deep and slowly undercuts the banks, causing the back yard to collapse into the ditch.

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Since the drainage ditch obviously serves or affects a numer of people, and may be a publically maintained ditch, first thing I would do is find out (probably from planning and zoning department, or may be on your survey or plat with your purchase documents) who is responsible for it. If a formal drain ditch like a roadside or irrigation or flood control ditch, rather than just a natural swale or creek, the owner or responsible party may be responsible to see it does not damage adjacent properties - could be road department, flood control district, irrigation district, homeowners association, a special service district, etc. From your description, unless this was built just for this subdivision, it may well be the responsibility of a government agency or flood control district.


Otherwise, contact a civil engineering firm with experience in waterways erosion control - because it is likely most anything you do will need permits - probably fromPlanning and Zoning, possibly environmental or 401/404 permits from EPA and/or Corps of Engineers depending on size and classification of the drainage, especially if it runs year around.


Ways to potentially control it, depending on what purpose it serves, depth and velocity of water, etc:


1) plant erosion control vegetation (with water rise you mention, unlikely to do the job)

2) revet with shot rock or erosion control blanket

3) revet with gabions (rock in wire baskets) or flexible rubber or concrete mat

4) revet with timber facing or piling and walers (horizontal boards behind piling), or driven sheet pile wall

5) berm the crest with erosion protection stone or mat which will collapse into the water as the bank erodes, forming a ank protection


Other options too - that is just a sampling, and the options that may work for you depend on way too many things to go into here. Should cost around $250-500 for engineer to come out and look at it and give you an idea of what might work for you, but check ownership first, and by no means make it sound like you are looking at how to fix the problem when you talk to the parties responsible for it - make it clear you are looking for THEM to fix the problem and repair the damage. Depending on the type of drainage (artificial or natural) if man-made it is probably on an easement, and if undermining your land outside the easement they would likely have to replace the missing land as well as build protection to prevent it from happening again.

Answered 5 years ago by LCD




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