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Question DetailsAsked on 6/16/2015

What do I do wtih a natural spring in my yard???

We have a sloping back yard but it flattens at the bottom. We have water sitting at the bottom and it seems to be getting worse. We moved here a year ago and were told that there is a spring in the back yard. A neighbor that is adjacent has an actual drain, but it appears ours is not feeding into it. We have NO CLUE what to do for this! Any advice is greatly appreciated!

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Well - whether you need a Geotechnical engineer (specialty soils and foundations and groundwater civil engineer) or not depends on your case. Initially, I would get utilities located (may have to be by a private locator company like for septic system and its lines or private irrigation/sprinkler system lines or drain pipes) - by public free locator (usually diall 811 in most areas in US, in Canada) for marking of service lines to your house, but I would see first if there is a likely piped source for the water running through that area - then investigate them with sound or meter movement when no water is being used (for pressurized water lines which might be leaking) or in-line sewer inspection camera (for sewer and drain lines) to see if they are the source. You may find it is necessary to get neighbor cooperation if their lines are a viable source.

Sometimes, after initial attempts to find a source fail and if a geologist or geotechnical engineer does not think a natural spring is likely in that area, water tests can be used to determine if it is clean chlorinated water (fresh water supply source), well water, sewage, or surface runoff.

Also - drain and downspout lines from neighbors, including septic systems and storm drains and pool filter flushing or pool leak water are common sources of this.

Other times, if no obvious source is apparent, you have to do a bit of digging (after making sure the water will flow in a safe direction in case the flow rate increases) to burrow down to the point where the water is coming out at depth.

And of course, if getting worse, does that appear to be related to recent rainfall (with possibly up to a week to two lag time) or not ? If not, more likely from leaking pipes, well, septic system, etc.

Any of the above man-made sources should be amenable to being fixed, or for the flow (like if stormwater drainage or natural spring) being trapped and controlled by an appropriate means - with a storm drain, dry well, french drain, or drainage swale or berms to a natural discharge location which will not cause damage to neighbors. Generally, trying to stop a natural spring is a lost cause on a residential scale - controlling the water and getting it into a form you can handle is almost always the cheapest solution - normally by either diverting the flow as it exits the ground, or sometimes by putting in a bordered pond at the exit point, then controlling the water as it exits the pond.

Of course, if this is near a watercourse (perennial or intermittent) or in wetlands then you may have environmental issues as well in trying to control it, so generally getting a Civil Engineering firm (no Angies List category for this type of service) who has geotechnical/geology experts on staff and also does land development permitting is your best bet, as they can assess the situation and give you alternatives, and also help with any necessary building, planning and zoning, and/or environmental permitting issues.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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