Author Topic: Can I drain water from an easement into the canal?  (Read 27 times)

Jefferson

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Can I drain water from an easement into the canal?
« on: March 25, 2019, 03:01:12 pm »
My back yard has a drainage easement, and there's a low point across my property that collects water.

Question: Can I bury drainage tile and Tee into, routing the collected water into the canal? Do I need a permit to do this?

Thanks!
Jeff

Doug K

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Jeff,

I understand your question to be if a permit is needed to put run-off water into the Erie Canal, yes?

You will collect run-off from your property, in a central location that is a natural recess, and pipe it underground, exiting your property and draining directly into the Erie canal. (I assume your pooling water sits above the Erie Canal water level?)

Is the reason you need to do this because the water is prohibited in some way of naturally running into the canal?

Sometimes it less expensive to fill in the recess and get water running the direction you want naturally in the long run.. consider pipe clearing issues with critters making their home inside etc. Just a suggestion but can also understand that cost of screened topsoil and if the lowland is large adding dirt gets expensive fast. It would be nice to have an address, we've gotten really good with a NYS Dam Registry app and can see 3D for most locations.

But back to the question of a drain running into the Erie Canal directly... If that is the plan  then we can get you in touch with someone to come and take a look at what is needed.

Most of your path forward will depend if your property is on the Erie Canal Trail (ECT) side or the "berm" side (as it's called) of the Canal. If you are in need of going UNDER the ECT I have seen that done by the Canal Corporation many times.. it will need a work permit. If you are on the berm side, and your property runs right up to the water's edge then I would think you can manipulate the water in your own property as needed. Here's a picture of what I did with a Canal Leak below the dam in our backyard. My back is to the Erie Canal, the "pond" is about 18' below the ECT



If you want to discuss more send me a personal message... I can also give you some ideas on piping, done about 300' of piping & toe drain ditches to deal with the extra water we all get "living below the Erie Canal dams".

I would advise against 4" pipe if you have standing water... it will never allow the flow you want over time... that is a calculated certainty.

Jefferson

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Thanks for the thorough response, Doug. My address is 26 Packet Boat.

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I understand your question to be if a permit is needed to put run-off water into the Erie Canal, yes?

Yep - you understand correctly.

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You will collect run-off from your property, in a central location that is a natural recess, and pipe it underground, exiting your property and draining directly into the Erie canal. (I assume your pooling water sits above the Erie Canal water level?)

Also, yes. I included a picture of my back yard, looking towards the canal, and you can see the low spot going left-to-right in the picture.

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Is the reason you need to do this because the water is prohibited in some way of naturally running into the canal?

Yep. There's a trough that runs across my lawn that coincides with the easement. And the bottom of that trough is above the canal height.

My initial thought was to bury drainage tile in the trough, and Tee it into a pipe that drains into the canal. Then cover the tile with dirt to get everything up to level. The concerns you raised do make sense, about critters and flow.

What are your thoughts after seeing the pic?

Doug K

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Well the picture helps to frame thoughts and the first one is about the land beyond your own... I'll give you some things to think over

Look at your picture again... is all this right?


Concern #1
If that shallow swale extends into your neighbors yards then I would advise you NOT to add any topsoil to level it off.. you may be blocking natural flow. I think the water mainly flows to the left. That left side property looks just a little lower that the right side one, is that true? Do either of your neighbors have a similar issue with standing water or just your lot?

Concern #2
You are going to be working backwards from spot you plan to exit the drain back to the swale where your "inlet" end will be. I see two major root lines to cross over, and that will not be easy to navigate. The job will need a small backhoe, on a compact tractor to do it right. The idea is to maintain a drain angle similar to pipes in your house, insuring you don't have any place in the drains system that could collect water or ice up in the winter.

Natural Aquifer..how it works
So let's talk about "groundwater", it's all part of the Aquifer collection process. That water naturally dissipates through the soil & rock as well as having run-off above ground. That water you see already may be making it's way back into the canal. The run-off must collect into a storm water system that flows somewhere.

I would follow the swale at both ends to see if you can see where the water goes after you yard. It could be another "recess"  somewhere that leads that water back to the canal already. If not then this water must sit there for days in heavy rain.

Most important question... Do you and your neighbors have a pond across all your yards in a heavy rain?

If it's just your lot that gets a pond then you are on the right track..  you "own" the low spot..and what you are planning will work. If your neighbors ALSO have ponds then you may not be able to fix the problem entirely by can reduce water by giving it a "path of least resistance"..like your drain idea. I would suggest 6" minimum diameter of plastic corrugated drain pipe,, plan on at least half the pipe getting filled with sediment over time.

Other Factors to Think About?
One thing to consider as well.. lawn chemicals... that might be something to consider as well if you are redirecting normal run-off from wherever it goes now to the new home in the Erie Canal. It's not that this sorts of thing isn't happening today in many places like yours with lawns that slope towards the canal. Its more about the fact that yours will be a "pipe" where water can be collected easily & tested. Just another thing to consider when placing an open water drain into an existing waterway or pond.


Jefferson,
I might be in Fairport in a couple weeks to look over more ECNA work at the Oxbow Trail. If you'd like we could stop by and take a closer look and give you some further ideas. I worked on a drain issue like yours last year, the property owner had a pond in his yard and his neighbors had lakes to one side of him and an empty swale to the other. Someone had filled in the lot to cure his water issues and stopped the whole flow. We laid 80' of 6" pipe.. double width, and put a French Drain to collect the water at the high end. The project worked, no one in that neighborhood has a lake anymore, about 5 homeowners were amazed by the simple change.

I have found the BEST way to create a solution for standing water is to take a good look at it when it''s full and see where the water wants to go... and what is stopping it's path. Maybe do some more analysis, when it rains, before you create an issue you didn't plan on.

Is this spot in your yard ALWAYS wet?

Doug K

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Here's an idea that would be the lowest cost solution and needs very little to make it work.

The issue is that the fence and trees may have raised the ground a little over the past 25-30 years. The water looks like it could get to the canal but the path is blocked a bit by the swale edge.. and then the fence edge.. and then the tree roots. But if you look hard you may find a path.

I looked and made this picture edit that you sent... took a real close look. I have made a few assumptions having never been there. You took the picture level and you do look downward to the canal... if those are true then I think the current water flow is right to left,,and it does drain away toward the canal the further you get into your neighbor's yard on the left. Having said that I think you can do this.



You already have a swale... slight depression in the yard, I would work "with" that. Make it bigger, make it move the water where you want it to go. I am always surprised how removing just 3-4" of topsoil and getting flow going help all the water issues I have had. Took a few walks on real rainy days but I did manage to get our 2 acres dried out and we live BELOW a leaky dam..lol.

Let me know what you think
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Jefferson

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Holy cow - there is so much to respond to!

First, yes - I'd love it if you could stop by to chat. You can email me at jeffrey.hoffman@visibleman.org; I tend to check that more than I check here.

I appreciate so much the detailed response. Let me look again at it and see what info you were looking for.
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Jefferson

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Quote
Concern #1
If that shallow swale extends into your neighbors yards then I would advise you NOT to add any topsoil to level it off.. you may be blocking natural flow. I think the water mainly flows to the left. That left side property looks just a little lower that the right side one, is that true? Do either of your neighbors have a similar issue with standing water or just your lot?
I think you're right that it flows to the left. The lot to the left has a drain and doesn't have much standing water. To the right, there is standing water, but much less. It appears to be manually handled with a pump.

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Concern #2
You are going to be working backwards from spot you plan to exit the drain back to the swale where your "inlet" end will be. I see two major root lines to cross over, and that will not be easy to navigate. The job will need a small backhoe, on a compact tractor to do it right. The idea is to maintain a drain angle similar to pipes in your house, insuring you don't have any place in the drains system that could collect water or ice up in the winter.
Your second response (with the very well constructed figure) reflects what appears to be a good solution for this.

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Most important question... Do you and your neighbors have a pond across all your yards in a heavy rain?
Yes and no.  After any rain, there is a band of water across my yard. My neighbors on either side have minimal pooling because (to the left) there is a drain and (to the right) they've added topsoil, I think.
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