Basement Drying >> Do-it-Yourself Wet Basement Repair

The height of your levee or floodwall will be determined partly by the Flood Protection Elevation (FPE) you have chosen. However (as explained in Chapter 3) height limitations imposed by design complexity, construction cost, and property space requirements, Do-it-Yourself Wet Basement Repair coupled with the need to provide at least 1 foot of freeboard, usually restrict the use of residential levees and floodwalls to areas where flood depths are no greater than 5 feet and 3 feet, respectively.
 If the flood depths at your house are greater, you should consider an alternative retrofitting method, such as elevation (Chapter 5), relocation (this chapter), or demolition (this chapter). Remember that no matter what the height of a levee or floodwall, it can always be overtopped by a flood higher than expected. Overtopping Do-it-Yourself Wet Basement Repair allows water into the protected area, and the resulting damage to your house will probably be just as great as if it were not protected at all.
WARNING Levees and floodwalls cannot be used to bring a substantially damaged or substantially improved Do-it-Yourself Wet Basement Repair house into compliance with the requirements of your community’s floodplain management ordinance or law. WARNING Your community’s floodplain management ordinance or law may prohibit the construction of levees and floodwalls in the regulatory floodplain and floodway.
 If you are unsure about your community’s requirements or the location of your property in relation to the floodplain and floodway, check with your local officials. See Do-it-Yourself Wet Basement Repair Chapter 2 for information about the floodway. Overtopping is a bigger problem for a levee than a floodwall. Even a small amount of overtopping can erode the top of a levee and cause the levee to fail. When this occurs, large amounts of water may be released at once and cause even greater damage to your house.
 When flood waters threaten to overtop a levee, you may be able to raise the top of the levee temporarily with sandbags, but increasing the height of a levee increases the pressure of flood waters on it and may cause the levee to fail. An Do-it-Yourself Wet Basement Repair important consideration for both levees and floodwalls is that they can give the homeowner a false sense of security. Every flood is different, and one that exceeds the height of your levee or floodwall can happen at any time. For this reason, you must not occupy your house during a flood.
 Effect on Other Properties
 A particularly important design consideration is the effect that a levee or floodwall Do-it-Yourself Wet Basement Repair can have on other properties. These barriers can divert flood waters away from your house and onto other properties. They can also impede or block flood flows. As a result, they can cause water to back up into previously flood-free areas or prevent natural surface drainage from other properties. Levee and Floodwall Size Levees are earthen structures that rely on their mass to resist the pressures of flood waters.
 To provide structural stability and resist erosion and scour, the sides of a levee are sloped – the width of the levee at its base is usually 6 to 8 times its height (see Figure 7-14a). As a result, the taller a levee is, the more space it requires. Most floodwalls do not rely solely on their mass for Do-it-Yourself Wet Basement Repair resistance to flood pressures. Therefore a floodwall will require less space than a levee of the same height, as shown in Figure 7-14b.
Because levees and floodwalls can increase flood hazards for other properties, you may find that local zoning regulations prohibit or restrict their use. Special permits may be required. Most types of soils may be suitable for constructing residential levees. The exceptions are Do-it-Yourself Wet Basement Repair very wet, fine-grained, or highly organic soils. These soils are usually highly permeable. The best soils are those that have a high clay content, which makes them highly impervious.
 Using impervious soils for the levee and its foundation minimizes the seepage of water through or under the levee. Excessive seepage can weaken the levee and cause it to fail. If a sufficient amount of adequate soil is not available at the site of your house, the soil will have to be brought to the site or the levee design will become more complex. In either situation, the levee will be more expensive to build. Soil type is an important consideration in floodwall construction as well. Do-it-Yourself Wet Basement Repair The soil under the floodwall, like that under a levee, must resist seepage.
If the soils under a floodwall become saturated, the floodwall will no longer be adequately supported. As a result, the pressure of flood waters can cause it to lean or overturn. Hydrostatic Pressure Levees and floodwalls are designed to resist flood forces, but Do-it-Yourself Wet Basement Repair they may not be able to protect a house from hydrostatic pressure. The migration of moisture through the ground below a levee or floodwall, as a result of seepage or the natural capillary action of the soil, can cause the soil in the protected area to become saturated (see Figure 7-15).
If this saturated soil is in contact with the foundation of the house, the resulting hydrostatic pressure can buckle slab floors, push houses up, and cause basement walls to bulge inward or collapse. If you plan to protect your house with a levee or floodwall, especially if you have a basement, your design professional should determine the Do-it-Yourself Wet Basement Repair potential hazard from hydrostatic pressure and take whatever steps may be necessary to protect against it.
 Permeable soils are those that water can easily penetrate and flow through. Impervious soils are the opposite. They resist penetration by water. You can usually get information Do-it-Yourself Wet Basement Repair about soil types from local officials, the agricultural extension services of state universities, and regional offices of the U. S. Natural Resources Conservation Service. Methods of reducing the risk of damage from hydrostatic pressure include moving the floodwall or levee further away from the house, installing a foundation drain system (drains and sump pump), and filling in basements with dirt.
 Flood Conditions Levees are most effective against floods that have low flow velocities and durations of no more than 3 to 4 days. High-velocity flows can scour or erode the sides of a levee and possibly cause it to collapse. Levees can be protected from erosion and scour in several ways. The sides of all levees should be stabilized with grass, which helps hold the soil in place. Do-it-Yourself Wet Basement Repair The sides of levees that will be subjected to higher-velocity flows can be armored with concrete or broken rock.
Aligning a levee so that it is parallel to the flow of water will also help protect it from erosion and scour, and reducing the angle of the side slopes will make the sides more resistant to scour. Where the duration of flooding is expected to exceed 3 to 4 days, a levee may not be the most appropriate retrofitting measure. When levees are exposed to flood waters for prolonged periods, seepage and the problems associated with it are Do-it-Yourself Wet Basement Repair more likely to occur.

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