French Drains: An Elegant Way To Remove Excess Ground Water
Water drainage using a French Drain System is a time-honored solution for eliminating excess water in your yard. These drains are ideal for channeling water to storm sewers from low points and other areas prone to saturated soil.
Contrary to popular belief, French drains were not invented by the French, or even necessarily popular in French-influenced US cities such as New Orleans. Instead, they were invented by Henry French, a 19th century lawyer from Concord, Mass. who later became Assistant U.S. Treasury Secretary. He later wrote about them in his popular book Farm Drainage.
The original French drains were merely ditches, sloping from a higher elevation to a lower one, and were filled with gravel. French’s brainstorm was that water could flow through these drains but that mud and other contaminants would be trapped by the gravel, allowing an uninterrupted drainage channel.
French’s own drains were made of sections of ordinary roofing tile laid with a 1/8 inch gap left in between the sections to admit water. Later, specialized drain tiles were designed with perforations allowing water in but designed to keep soil out.
French drains are inexpensive and easy to install. Moreover, they can be covered with sod after installation, making them less noticeable.
Here are the goals of a French Drain:
* to prevent ground and surface water from penetrating or damaging building foundations;
*to broadly distribute water flowing from a typical septic tank sewage system;
* to relieve water pressure coming from behind retaining walls;
If your neighbor’s land stands at a higher elevation than yours, you may be experiencing problems with excessive moisture, such as water puddles, pooling on your property. Installing a French Drain to alleviate excess water drainage is a viable solution to this issue.
Remember that some communities may require permits prior to your installation of a French drainage system. That’s because federal law mandates that water sent to storm drains be clean of certain contaminants and dirt.
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