Sump pump crews busy in western Iowa


June 24th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

With more rain and a bigger release of water from upstream dams, the flooding continues to worsen in parts of western Iowa. Even homes miles from major rivers are seeing basements start to fill with water. Nick Rohe is spokesman for a basement repair company in Omaha/Council Bluffs and says crews are working long hours installing sump pump systems.

“We’ll jackhammer out the concrete along the exterior foundation walls and sometimes in the middle of the basement where you may have water seeping up through floor cracks,” Rohe says. “We’ll also jackhammer out the basement floor where we’re going to put the sump system in and then we put a drainage system around the perimeter and down the middle if it is needed.” If the water problem is from rain, homeowners have some options, but because of conditions this year, he says the problems are often likely from the high ground water level.

“If it’s from rain water, you can keep a positive grade around the house and keep your downspouts clear and stuff like that,” Rohe says, “but if it’s a water table issue, there isn’t a whole lot you can do to prevent that besides have a waterproofing system or a water control system.” Rohe says the high water table level can cause more severe problems than just water seepage — it can do permanent damage to your foundation.

“Over-saturation of footings, which your house rests on, can cause foundation issues,” he says. “Also, just the pressure from the water itself and highly-expansive clay soil, when that gets over-saturated, that can put a lot of pressure on your foundation walls.” Rohe says there are several things to look for to see if the foundation is damaged, including: horizontal or vertical cracks, stair-step cracking on block walls, drywall cracks, doors and windows that don’t function properly and uneven floors. If the foundation is damaged, he says the structure will likely require extensive repair.

(Matt Kelley/Radio Iowa)