Too much water to build? : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

Ok, we looked at 3 acres of benched land today. It has about 5 springs at the top and a year round creek at the bottom. The creek has pipe going up to the "house" and one spring was piped in also. There seems to be water everywhere.

That would seem to be a good thing. Except that we would like to build a house. My husband said if you try to put in a footing you'll hit water. We'd end up with a sinking house. Any ideas? Or does it sound hopless?


Kathleen in AR

-- Kathleen (, February 13, 2002


More details please, is the property at the bottom of a slope? Is there rock visable? Is the land level? More info please.

-- mitch hearn (, February 13, 2002.

Year round creek? Might be a good time to check the local government agency that issues building permits. They'll have the FEMA flood maps which will show the 100 year flood level.

Make sure you not in a flood plain first. If the property passes that test, a foundation isn't a problem.

-- Darren (, February 13, 2002.

If your idea of foundation is: basement, he could be correct. Here in the south, basements are few and far between because of high water tables. Man I miss that cool basement my parents house in PA had! You can just build on footers, or perhaps do a bit to raise an area up. But remember, some land has to pass a "perk test." before you can legally build on it.

-- Kevin in NC (, February 13, 2002.

I have 8 acres with a big sandy hill in the middle, springs, swamp and wet spots all over the place. Some ole farmer put a pipe in the side of the hill and water flows out all year round. I chose to start digging at the "foot" of the hill about 30 feet from one of the springs to see what I got....guess what! I'm down about 4 feet and it's dry as a bone and has been dry for several months now. I expect it's a good place to build. One spring area ('bout 30 feet away from my dig) is wet all year round. I didn't just dig a little hole, I dug an area 10' x 10'. You could dig a hole here and a hole there and poor buckets of water in them to see if they drain well. Use a post hole digger, makes it easier. You just don't know what's really under there 'till you look. I have posted a pic of one hole we dug nearer to one of the springs, but still only about 30' from my dry area.

-- Susan in Northern LP Michigan (, February 14, 2002.

The land is a hill with level areas that stair-step down. The creek has never been known to over flow. Behind the trailer the lady had begun digging into the hill thinking she wanted to build a house into it. Its pretty soggy there.

My husband said it would be impossible to put in any footers because no matter where you dig you'll hit water. The springs are pooled at the surface. Some are pretty green. We'd likely need to put in a well. Not sure if that would even work since they appaently let there sewage go right into the ground. (yuck!)

There are plenty of rocks and trees. And deer and turkey and critters...can you see why I really want this to work? Its a beautiful piece of land.

She wants $18,000. Has electric and phone. Well maintained road (the guy who keeps the roads lives next door). Needs well, septic-- and really needs a more livable dwelling although it does have a 3- bed mobile with a fireplace. But not in very good shape. This is located in Huntsville, Arkansas if that helps.

Hubby says it just isn't feasable. I think he expects too much. He thinks we can find nice level improved land with owner financing. Low down low payments. Close in toward town. I think he's nuts.

He works for a concrete company and knows a little about building. Guess I should assume he knows what he's talking about. But seems that every piece we look at just doesn't fit the bill. I think we'll be renting forever. :(

Kathleen in AR

-- Kathleen (, February 14, 2002.

You can build anywhere you want to. Just might cost more. Might just take some extra aggregate and possibly over-excavation. Might need to excavate to good soil/rock. Good waterproofing of the foundation too!! Ask a professional to give you a free estimate, then take it from there. Will need to dig a test pit or two or borings ... also depends on what kind of house you're building.

-- Mike inPa (, February 14, 2002.

Without an already established septic system, may be the reason the current owners let it run out on top, then that is a pretty good reason not to buy the property. Does AR require an approved septic system for property, before building, many states do. Trying to find good property is difficult, like lots of things.

-- BC (, February 14, 2002.

Kathleen, I am with your hubby.....keep looking.

-- diane (, February 14, 2002.

3 acres for 18 GRAND!!! If you don't have to live in AR. You could get 40 acres of flat fertile land w/electric and phone and w/ water, in Southwestern Utah for around 35,000

-- Chandler (, February 14, 2002.

Its a very good price here. Can't leave the area. I have elderly parents here. Its very difficult to find good land that we can afford. We will probably get it for less since I work with the lady selling it. As long as she sees we will make the payments, she'll probably give us a better deal.

She said its wet now because of the weather this time of year. Its not like that all year round. Her husband is a buider and he was going to build there. But she got into a fight with the guy over the hill and won't live there now. Long story.

Anyhow, she said we can make smaller payments the first year while we improve to our liking (well, septic and such). Then we can move out there and make a higher payment until its paid off. Guess we still need to think about it.

Kathleen in AR

-- Kathleen (, February 14, 2002.

I know people that live in the tidal flats on both houseboats, and house on stilts. If you want to live there, you can make it happen. Try digging a trench uphill from your house site deep enough that it will drain the water and direct it away from your site. If the trench is deep enough, you should be able to create a dry spot on the downslope side. You might not be able to put a basement in, but you can probably put in a good foundation. Don't lose hope. Call some contractors for an opinion.

-- roberto pokachinni in B.C. (, February 16, 2002.

I have land similar to what you're looking at. It's been a hassle setting up french drains ($30,000)all over the hillsides, pulling water away from the cabins and barns. Now we just need to do a 150-ft long trench, dug six feet down (frost line), putting four inch perf pipe into it & recovering with soil. By spring this problem will be behind us. The house has had no problems, but the earth has shifted one of the barn footers. Doing the trenching uphill is more desireable vs against the footers and below the buildings. We want to stop the water before it gets to the buildings. This pipe will then connect to one of the french drains going downhill to the irrigation ditches.

-- al (, February 16, 2002.

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