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Standing water in back yard

Bear with me here. I have a difficult to explain and complicated problem.

Last summer I noticed that my backyard was getting really soggy. Now that all of the snow is melting, it's getting worse again. I'm not talking about the regular just kind of wet kind of thing. If I dig a hole a couple of inches down it fills right up to the grass line with water. As a matter of fact, my dogs have dug a hole in the corner of the yard and it's constantly full of stagnant water.

Here's kind of a chart of what areas have the most sogginess - Big X's are places that are below the grass line and are basically big puddles, little x's are where it's just soggy. The lines represent fences:

Neighbor A xX|Xxx Neighbor B
Me xxxxxXX| Neighbor C

At first I thought I might have cut open an underground sprinkler pipe, but I shut the secondary water off and it's still there. I looked over the fence and saw that neighbor B's flowerbed on the west side of his yard was under about 3 inches of water. Neighbor A was definitely hit, but not as bad as Neighbor B and me. Neighbor C didn't seem to get it at all, which is really weird to me.

The question I have is this: Who do I contact to get this checked out? If it's one of my idiot neighbors, I don't want to be stuck with a bill and just have them say, "It's probably your idiot neighbor." If my backyard has become some sort of drainage area, do I contact the city? I'm just not sure what to do so I know what the problem is and who to call about it. I know if I call them right now they'll just say it's the melting snow, but this has been going on since July. My dogs will attest to it because they love to drink the water in the corner. Yummy.

I personally think it has something to do with Neighbor B. But in this world, no one is going to say,"Y'know, you're right. I probably broke one of my sprinkler lines last summer. I'll pay a company a few hundred dollars to check it out." I'm also beginning to wonder if the land I'm on has sunk a few inches and all of the water pools up in our backyards.

I can provide pictures of the area if it would help. Thanks a LOT in advance. I'm planning a fruit and vegetable garden back there I don't want all my plants to rot.

Re: Standing water in back yard

Are you on sewer or septic?

If septic......shared or each to his own?

City water or well?

If city water.......anybody had abnormally high useage bills?

If city water.....it could also be a broken/split main before anyone's meter.

If a well, is the pump running without provocation on your part....or your neighbors' ?

Your locale is?

Substantial snow melt.....or a water leak could cause this particularly if the underlying soil is still frozen........and/or is of high clay content. If it was doing this back in July already, a water leak scenario seems way more likely.

Land sinking/settling? A possibility, particualrly if this is a new housing development, but even then...... that alone shouldn't/wouldn't account for persistant wet spots. Even high clay soils that hold mucho surface water during heavy rains will usually dry up within a week or so after the rains stop.

Re: Standing water in back yard

Shared septic.

City provided well water.

Don't know about abnormal bills, but Neighbor B has a collapsible swimming pool.

Locale is northern Utah.

The soil is very clayie. I've had to do a lot of work in getting vegetable plants to grow in it. Lots of compost.

Housing development is 10 years old.

Thanks for the help!

Re: Standing water in back yard

Shared septic, eh?

Where is the drainfield, pray tell?

Maybe I should first ask.......what type of leechfield/drainfield?

Clay soils doesn't sound like an ideal situation for a conventional type drainfield. (If that is expansive type clay soil, so much the worse.) And....... a shared drainfield would have to be of a serious size/area.

Sounds from here like the drainfield may be the culprit. It isn't absorbing the water efficiently anymore. One way to test out this theory would be to drop a package of flourescene (sp?) dye down the drain (dissolved in water) and see if the surface water outside turns green. Can most likely get the dye at a local marine suppply.

(Anyone having water back up in their drains? Toilets that don't flush properly? If so, this would also kinda confirm septic problems.)

If it's clay you have.....me thinks if you're going to have a successful garden, you're in for removing 18" or so and replacing it with quality topsoil/black dirt. Might get away with 12". Or......build big boxes on the surface, fill with topsoil and garden in those.

But first things first, of course....which is to find out where that water is coming from.

If it isn't from the septic system....and you've eliminated any/all sprinkler systems, then I guess I'd next suspect a cracked water main.

Next might be an underground water source such as a spring.

Re: Standing water in back yard

Hm... to be honest, I haven't seen a drainfield in the neighborhood.

The standing water is clear, at least as can be expected given it's in the ground. And it doesn't have a septic odor to it.

Would you dump the florescent water down the storm drain or the bathtub?

If I can narrow it down to a septic, water main or drainfield problem, do I call the city? Would you happen to know what department? I think it would be difficult to eliminate the neighbors sprinkler system(s) as a culprit, though... They should have their secondary water turned off right now, though, or the lines could burst in these cold winters.

What do you think?

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