Thursday, April 18, 2013

Deitz Team To The Rescue

West Michigan got a lot of rain in the last 24 hours or so. A LOT of rain. The TV news just said it is the 13th day in a row of measurable rainfall in the area. If I'm reading the NOAA data correctly, Ottawa County has seen 1.20 inches before midnight last night and 3.79 inches today (as of 4:00 this afternoon).  That's 4.99 inches of rainfall in the last day.

We knew that rainfall runoff  would need to be "managed" in the area of our basement door. We knew that we would have to build retaining walls to direct the rooftop  runoff away from the slope into the basement. It was a "landscaping" project that would be handled after the "big work" was done.  It will have to be dealt with sooner.

As I arrived at 3283 this morning it was obvious that rain had caused severe erosion where rooftop flow was near the the slope toward the door.  A piece of plywood was left covering the door opening....and I saw that sand had been washed in front of it.  Pulling it aside, I saw what I feared. Water in the basement. But it wasn't too bad. Less than a 1/4 inch...and only impacting the floor under the addition.

The erosion ....and water path...from the north side of the addition.

The erosion ... and water path... from the east side of the  cottage.
I began to clean up the sand the water washed in as Andy and Andy from B&L Electric showed up to start work. They saw the problem, and saw I was dealing with it  - even suggested using a shop-vac to pick up the little bit of water that had found its way in. So they began their work. The rain started again, and we saw the path the water was taking...and propped a piece of plywood in the opening. Light rain brought more water and sand down the slope....but it wasn't major. The water was absorbed by the sandy soil.

The doorway with our small dam in place.

But then the heavy rain started. I'd guess the majority of the 3+ inches fell within an hour or two late in the morning. Runoff ran down the slope like a river. The dam across the opening held fairly well...but leaked badly.  By noon there was water creeping across most of the basement floor. Not feet of water, not inches of water. But a 1/4 inch or more in most of the basement. The electricians tried to work...but couldn't let wire and supplies get wet. And we didn't know how much more might find its way in as the rain continued.  So, they hooked up some temporary power for me to run lights and the shop-vac before they headed home.

Without the temporary power they hooked up I couldn't have handled the water.

A virtual river of water flowed directly at the doorway.
The extremely permeable sand eventually absorbed the water that pooled.
It just came faster than it could be absorbed. 
Without the dam set in place by Andy and Andy from B&L
the river would have  flowed   right into the basement.
B&L was there when the problem became obvious. They helped me secure the doorway and mad sure there was power to the house. But there was no more they could do. And they headed home....saying they could get back to work as soon as the water problem was solved.

So, I was left at 3283 alone...with a wet basement and the likelihood of more and more rain on the way.

Water eventually covered most of the basement floor.
It wasn't very deep...which almost made it more difficult to handle.
The water brought sand with it.
And, although minimal topsoil was still on site
it seems like most of it found its way in with the water.
I made two phone calls. Both were quickly answered and both responded quickly with the help I needed to begin dealing with the problem. Both were members of the Deitz team.

I called Ben of Bob Tolsma Plumbing. He was on the road dealing with dozens of sump pump problems in the area. When I told him of the problem he immediately said he's be at 3283 in less than an hour to help get rid of the water.

I then called and texted Dan Deitz about the problem. He quickly pulled Jeff back into the shop from some medical tests and sent him to 3283 with the heavy equipment needed to move dirt around.

Every member of the Deitz Team responded quickly and helpfully.
I was very very stressed when I stood in the basement, alone, wondering what I was going to do.
But Dan Deitz and the people he has working for and around him made things much better....going above and beyond the project and thinking of the people impacted.

What did they do?

While there wasn't a storm water sump pump in the basement, there was a sanitary lift pump installed. Ben opened the access port to the pump well, disconnected the discharge line and connected a temporary discharge hose, opened the roughed-in toilet flange and made sure the pump operated properly in its stand-in role. He even helped me sweep water toward the pump opening for a while. Once he was done I knew even if more water made it into the basement it would be able to be pumped out.

The top of the sanitary lift pump was opened to allow water on the floor to be pumped out.
Ben had to jerry-rig the discharge line to pump to a temporary drainage hose.
Dan sent Jeff to 3283 to move dirt fill the gorges eroded by the deluge of run off. Jeff put a full 4'x8' sheet of plywood across the doorway opening, and secured it in place with a end-loader's bucket full of sand. He brought what seemed like dozens of large end-loader loads of sand from our stockpile to re-fill and re-slope the area by the east side of the house. This will hopefully direct water away from the slope to the entry.  And, finely, he dumped a large pile of sand right smack-dab-in-the-middle of the planned down grade toward the door.

Jeff used both the large Trojan and smaller Cat to move sand around.
This is one of many and many loads brought to the house from the stockpile.
The slope isn't there anymore. But there shouldn't be any more basement flooding. That last pile will be dealt with when we build the retaining walls and steps down to the door.

The Deitz Team: Deitz House Moving Engineers, Bob Tolsma Plumbing, and B&L Electric really came through for me today. None of this was their problem. But they went above and beyond. This is a sign of someone who interacts with people both professionally and personally.  I could not have chosen a better team to work on my project.

Heartfelt thanks to everyone who helped me today.

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