Ask Your Question

Angie's List Answers is the trusted spot to ask home improvement and health questions and get answers from service companies, health providers and consumers. For ratings and reviews on companies in your area, search Angie's List.

Top 30 Days Experts
Rank Leader Points*
1 kstreett 240
2 Guest_9020487 110
3 Guest_9190926 105
4 GoldenKid 100
5 ahowell 95
6 KnowledgeBase 95
7 skbloom 80
8 Guest_98024861 70
9 Guest_9311297 70
10 Guest_9400529 70

*Updates every 4 hours

Browse Projects By Category

Question DetailsAsked on 10/23/2016

Rainwater will not drain from my back yard anymore. I have now standing water that will not dry up or drain away.

The area is in the back yard and is a low spot and has accumulated water many times before during light to heavy rain which floods the neighbors yard also to a foot deep at times.This water used to dry up and or drain away in a few days. Now the ground stays saturated. I know there are old farm tiles underground but they are probably not working anymore as my neighbor planted numerous trees about 12 years ago who's roots probably have plugged the tile up by now. Not sure what to do My neighbor is blaming me for his water problem saying I am causing the water accumulation. I know where the water comes from when it rains but I do not know why it is not draining anymore. Of course the neighbor is not saying his tiles are the problem.I need a professional who can evaluate the problem once and for all.

Do you have the same question? Follow this Question

2 Answers


If you have an actual drain pipe or drainage "tunnel" like an old- arch-and-pan or arch-and-pad half-round tile on top of a flat tile system - be it drainage tile, perforated pipe, creosoted wood box drain, etc - then a Drain Cleaning contractor should be able to jet it out for you - ask for one with an on-board camera and radio head so you can see what the blockage cause is. May be just buildup of sediment, broken tiles, roots, etc and measure WHERE the blockage(s) are and mark it on the ground surface for repair as needed. [Radio head is a transmitter on the jetting tool, which sends a signal which he can then detect on the surface with a detector when the head is parked at the blockage]. If drain tile is straight and alignment is known, then can just measure how far the head is in to the blockage(s).

Some such Sewer and Drain contractors also can do pipe/drain repair - some only do cleaning and you would need a Drain Pipe Installation - Exterior contractor, or some Plumbers, to do the repair work. If perforated drain pipe, most Landscaping contractors can also do that.

BTW - on jetting - right way is to jet in from the downhill end to initially clear the pipe out and open it up all the way through, then run through again from the uphill end (if not blocked due to damage) to flush out the remaining solids, because generally jetting from the downhill end will open up a sediment-blocked pipe, but will not clear out all the sediment in it - that has to be done with the jets facing downstream, flushing the sediment ahead of it. In heavy sediment cases, the work from the downstream end may require many passes - going in a few to maybe 5-10 feet and flushing out most of the material, then backing out while washing to flush out the accumulated sediment so it does not trap the tool in the pipe. Most such contractors have a "reverse head" for this - a jetting head that has forward jets but also strong backward-pointing ones than can flush the sediment back down the pipe "behind" the head. It is important to not get in there so aggressively that the tool penetrates the sediment buildup, but then traps itself as that sediment fills the pipe back in downflow of the head. Easy to do with sandy or gravelly sediment - also with leaf and twig accumulations which form plugs and dams in the pipe. BTW - you can also do this yourself on straight run drains with a garden hose, 3/4" PVC pipe long enough to reach through drain pipe, with a female hose connection on the tail to hook the garden hose to, and male hose fitting on the nose to connect a jet-type spray nozzle like this set on a medium jet spray - (right hand one in picture)

If you have a crushed brick or tile or a stone drain without an actual drain pipe, or your existing drain pipe is dying of old age and generally broken/crushed, then rehabbing it means digging it up and redoing it with new material - likely perforated plastic pipe with filter layear around it in today's methods.

Or modify your drainage on the surface with berms and swales as necessary to direct it where it needs to go and so it does not damage neighboring property where it crosses the property line. Or if the topography is suitable, just fill the low spot with low permeability material and retopsoil and seed (if currently lawn) - or possibly (if a fairly good sized deeper low) put in a free-draining gravel layer as the fill and cover with filter fabric over the top, then a layer of sand (to filter the topsoil), then topsoil and seeding to make a shallow percolation field to drain the water away. Would require some excavation to provide an outlet so the gravel did not sit wet all the time as an underground pool, which would make the area boggy.

As for the "professional" - a Landscaping company or a Drain company who does installations too can assess the situation and measure slopes and topography and such for this - but if you are looking for a "professional" opinion that can stand up in court and with your neighbor, then a local Civil Engineering firm (not an Angies List Search the List category) that does site development and drainge design would be who you need - but that would likely be overkill for this situation unless you anticipte a legal fight with the neighbor.

As for the neighbor situation - if you are upslope, unless there is a formal easement or title convenant or drainage district provision or such requiring the underdrain be maintained, you would generally be free to leave it non-functional and let the water drain on the surface where it normally will by nature - and it would be HIS responsibility to handle it where it comes onto his property. Course, would be polite - especially if you are going to be filling your low spot and most especially if you are going to be ditching or berming to CHANGE where the water enters his property - to coordinate (on a mutually signed and dated agreed-on sketch plan) on where the runoff will be routed.

If neighbor is upslope and his drain pipe is connected to yours, without a title covenant oir formal drainage easement it is a gray area - but generally if your drain is blocked up and causing his to back up, you would be responsible for removing the blockage - by cleaning or repairing the pipe or by releasing the water onto the surface on your property and handling it so it does not back up onto his. HOWEVER, if his foot of water is because of natural drainage restrictions or landscaped/graded developed land conditions that existed when he bought the property, you are not required to modify your property to provide drainage for his property. He can take actionn on his property to solve the issue (like raise the level so it does not pond), or he can take action to pipe or ditch it away to authorized/permitted drainage channels, or can try to (voluntarily with you, or in court) get an easement for a drain pipe or ditch across neighboring property (including yours) to drain the water. This easement process could certainly be challenged by you, and generally would only be granted fee-free if the blockage was caused by landscaping, not mother nature. In other words, without him "buying" a drainage easement to drain his water away, the courts will not grant him access to neighboring lands for drainage to drain a naturally occurring low spot or ponding situation. If he did get a drainage easement (bought from you or court-awarded) then generally HE would then be responsible for its maintenance.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD



This is Erick in Member Care. Thanks for your interest in Angie's List!

We'll be happy to help find top rated Plumbing & Drain Cleaning providers, but it doesn't look like you have a subscription to the List yet. You can join by visiting or by giving us a call. Our call center is available 8:00 am-9:00 pm weekdays and 8:00-5:00 pm ET on Saturdays.

Thanks for your question and we look forward to assisting you!

Answered 3 years ago by Member Services

Related Questions

Terms Of Use
Privacy Policy