Thursday, 20 June 2013


We were warned of record rainfall coming, and they weren't kidding. It started raining last night and hasn't stopped.

All the yard work we started this week was designed to manage exactly this type of event. But we were a long way from being finished before the monsoons started.

Minor basement leaking started last night around 9 PM, and it was fully under control at midnight with the sump pump doing its job.
Water gushes beside the house from the sump discharge.
I got an AM wake up call from a good friend (and my real estate agent) asking if we needed help; he was on his way over but the road was blocked by flooding.

I went down to the basement and found the sump pump running continuously and ~1" of water in the whole basement.

Then the power went off. Without the sump pump, water quickly built up. The basement was leaking in at least a dozen places; many places on the wall were just weeping.
The weeping wall 
And another
Then we discovered a major leak. There's a pipe that runs between my well and my house. It's got the drinking water pipe in it, and the electrical conduit, too. Well, the water table rose so high that the pipe was full, and flowing into my house. It was coming in literally at 2 gal per minute.
Pouring in
We tried a bucket brigade for an hour; we were exhausted doing it. My fabulous neighbour hooked up his generator and our sump pump was back in business. The water level came down 2" but then started to rise as the rain kicked up again. I did some drainage modifications around the house to get more water moving away from the house. That helped.
A brick berm keeps the water away from my septic field
You can barely see the channel I dug, but it works
Water flows around the house
As of 2 PM, the sump pump finally caught up, and the water level in the basement started to recede, after topping out at 6".
At a peak, but not the worst
By 3:30 PM, the area around the sump was virtually water free, though water was still coming into the sump via the weeping tile. That's the good news.

Now the bad. From 3:30 PM onward, water came into the basement as fast as we could sweep it to the sump pump. The sump is in a low, but there are highs between there and the rest of the basement. So we have 3" of water in places, none in others, and after 5 hours, we were exhausted from sweeping. Three garden hoses are draining water to the sump, too. Water is steadily flowing in and out, and we can't stop the inflow, nor speed up the outflow. Things will only get better when the rain stops.

And it poured all afternoon.

There's huge flooding on multiple places on every road around here.
That's a BMW submerged on the TransCanada
All communities are isolated. A bridge between Banff and Canmore in the park has failed on the westbound lanes. Bridges in Canmore are being washed out; the videos are amazing. The Harvie Heights sewage treatment plant is under water as is the water treatment plant, so the hotels along the high have no water and shouldn't flush.

We're assuming our well water is contaminated, even though our well is over 120' deep. We're impressed its even working, given the water pouring out of the electrical cable leading to it. Our septic tank appears happy, but the groundwater has risen so much, we're concerned about backflow in the field. So it's "flush when you have to" and no showers or laundry.

So long as the power stays on, we will sit in stasis until it stops raining, pumping out the water as it comes in. We quit sweeping at 8 PM, had dinner and nearly collapsed. As of 10 PM, there was a steady 2" of water in the basement, the sump pump's doing it's thing, the water's still pouring in...and it's raining heavily.
We're in the midst of the green

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