I bought a house about a year ago that was built in 1952, and the original house has French drains and a sump pump which keeps the basement dry. There is an extension, however, which was added at some subsequent point, and its basement has a problem with flooding.

I noticed the flooding only happens in the winter. Snowmelt is the most common precipitator, but heavy rain at non-freezing temperatures does as well. But it is bone dry in other seasons.

There are two large neighboring fields, probably about the size of a football field, which the city floods in the winter, in order to allow it to freeze and become a public ice rink. There is a truly enormous amount of water in those fields, and my house is about 100 feet from there. My basement flooding seems to have more-or-less started when they they flooded the fields, although hard to pin down timing due to heavy rainfall/snowfall not being too frequent.

Could the hydrostatic pressure from a man-made neighboring body of water be raising the water table and causing my flooding? If so, how could I test this hypothesis?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ If the house was built with drains and sumps, that area was known to have water-table problems before 1952. I'd bite the bullet and talk to a builder about how to retrofit the problem section of the basement with drainage and pumps. $\endgroup$
    – TimWescott
    Commented Jan 13 at 4:35

1 Answer 1

  • Make a small diameter bore hole outside the house and put in a float indicator? Maybe a polystyrene float with a lightweight coloured rod running against a depth "ruler".
  • Alternatively, a string running from the float up and over a pulley to a weight (lighter than the float) to keep the string taut. The readout in this case would be upside down.

"Bore hole drilling" on YouTube returns all sorts of crazy DIY stuff. Here's one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-GnhEbxc7sQ

It seems that drilling to 75 mm or so and lining it with a 50 mm pipe might be a good idea in your case.

  • $\begingroup$ How would this help me determine if the cause of my flooding is related to the neighboring field being flooded? $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 12 at 14:07
  • $\begingroup$ You would correlate the water table level with activities in the field and conditions in your basement (but remembering that correlation does not necessarily prove causation). $\endgroup$
    – Transistor
    Commented Jan 12 at 15:12
  • $\begingroup$ That is helpful, thank you! $\endgroup$
    – user310374
    Commented Jan 12 at 15:48

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