About

Earl Aagaard’s opinions about everything that interests him. Og also enjoys gardening, travel, reading, woodbutchery, and lots of other stuff.

Categories

Monthly Archives

Search


Advanced Search

Join Og's Mailing List

Powered by ExpressionEngine

OgBlog.net




OgBlog.net




UPDATE ON OUR (POTENTIAL) CHICO HOUSE

image
.
AS YOU HAVE SEEN EARLIER, we’ve been considering a house to buy in Chico.  It’s still under consideration. (Sorry that I can’t make that link take you to the correct page - just click on “Family Matters: New House in Chico” over on the left, and then scroll down to the first post in the list.)

Since we made an offer and the bank accepted it, we’ve paid a professional home inspector to give us a report, and he discovered some serious issues that changed the calculus considerably.  Mainly, it turns out that the house at 1938 Preservation Oak was built in the middle of what is really a seasonal stream - because it’s the low spot along the street and the runoff from the little watershed behind the house runs right across the property.  So, we asked for an extension that was granted by the bank, and we’ve been exploring options and staying in touch with our agent and a top-notch Chico landscape contractor. 

Here’s the back of the house…
.

image

.

We’re looking north, here.  The back gate is open, and when it’s raining (this is perhaps 72 hours after the storm had passed), water from the pool flows over the sidewalk, is dammed up by the foundation wall for the fence, and so proceeds through the gate and onto the property. 
.

image
.

Water levels here are considerably lower than during the actual rainstorm, when the pool on the patio lapped against the house within an inch or so of crossing the threshold of the back door!  From the patio, the water exits left along the side of the house:
.

image
.

It’s dammed up by the fence at the far end of this photo, and the pool is augmented by water flowing off the roof through the downspouts.  On the other side of the fence:
.

image
.

is the electrical panel up on the wall.  You should have seen the home inspector’s face when he saw this - we built up the blocks and plank for him, but he wasn’t terribly happy poking around in that panel while balancing on the blocks!  I don’t know WHAT the meter reader thinks!

Now we’ll go out on the street and take a look at the situation from there:
.

image
.

We’re looking north, here - and 1938 is the second (farthest) house on the right.  ALL of the water flowing across the street, as well as on both sides of the street, is exiting 1938 Preservation Oak.  Remember that this is three or four days after the rain stopped, and runoff from the other properties stopped after the first or second day.  The flow you see continued for at least two or three more days, gradually decreasing…but even after that period, there was slow flow down the right-hand side of the street.  This flow is damaging the verges and gradually undermining the blacktop.  What makes this more serious is that the street is private - owned by the seven lots that line it.  If the City doesn’t solve the drainage problem, they’re going to be asked to repair the street…so it would behoove them to get busy.  This is closer to the front of our house:
.

image
.

and you can see clearly the water on both sides of the street, plus where it flows from the south and north sides of 1938.  There’s a significant amount of erosion going on:
.

image
.

as this is occurring each time it rains.  There’s actually more water flowing down the north side of the house
.

image
.

but it doesn’t have as much stuff to wash out into the street.  Next we’ll return to the back of the house and look at the source of all this runoff.
.

image
.

This time, look past the pools in front and see the little group of trees to the right of the photo.  Beneath those trees you can see more water, as well as some large boulders - so we’re going to go up the sidewalk to the corner where those boulders are
.

image
.

The sidewalk you see is around the corner from the part we saw in the previous photograph, and it forms the edge for three pools, which merge into one when it’s raining and the water level rises above the sidewalks.  If you look carefully into the second pool, there is a pair of ducks swimming there
.

image
.

We laughed at this, but it really isn’t funny.  Now we’ve backed off a bit, and can see both sides of the sidewalk
.

image
.

I don’t know if the pools we looked at up here ever flow across the walk on the surface, but there is no question that the water is flowing through the soil itself (it’s a very porous volcanic soil lying on top of a lava layer that prevents water from soaking down into the water table), and you can see the result on the surface in this photograph….but the real problem is revealed farther down the hill
.

image
.

The fence to the left is on the north property line of 1938 Preservation Oak, and it is here that the water from the ponds higher up the hill is emerging.  Most of the flow bubbles up inside the fence
.

image
.

and from there down the side of the house
.

image
.

where it is joined by water from the downspouts and flows into the street, as seen earlier. 

The City made a big mistake when (perhaps on purpose) they created a pond on the Oak Preserve
.

image
.

in which runoff from the Preserve, as well as runoff from the surrounding streets, is collected.  If it was purposeful, they must have intended that this water would gradually seep into the ground, since there is no outlet other than down the hill onto private property.  In fact, the problem for the houses below could have been (and still could be) substantially alleviated by digging a drainage ditch along the sidewalk seen near the top of the photograph, thus diverting the water out to the right and into the canal that flows by the property.

I suspect that even were this project completed, water from the Preserve directly behind the house we’re interested in would still put excess flow onto our patio.  So, we’re working with a landscape contractor, and I envision a collecting box buried under the back gate, with a grill over it to collect water here
.

image
.

and send it through an underground culvert down the south side of the house, where it would pick up water from the downspouts and carry it to the street…UNLESS the City will give us permission to run our culvert across the street and into the diversion canal.  In that case, the pipe would run across the yard to the north fence
.

image
.

In this photo, you can see that the first part of the fence to the north has a foundation wall beneath it, which blocks water flow.  To the left of that section of fence is the “spring” of water bubbling up, and that is where a second collection tank would be placed, to collect the water from beyond the fence, add the water from under the eastern gate, and also water from the roof flowing through the downspouts.  It would (I hope) be conducted in an underground culvert to the east bank of the canal where it would be added to the storm-water runoff from the rest of the subdivision.  If that is not allowed, the culvert would end on our street, and runoff conditions would be as they currently stand, with a risk of the City’s liability for damage to the street.

So, that’s where we are—next week, we’ll talk to the contractor and get his bid for fixing the problem on the property.  With that in hand, we’ll approach the bank and make a lower bid for the house.  Then we’ll wait for their response.

Say a prayer - if this is the house for us, everything should work out within a week or so.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/26 at 08:31 PM

Comments and reactions

blog comments powered by Disqus

<< Back to main