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Preventing Snow Melt Water Problems

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Ken Hellevang, Extension Ag Engineer

The large snow depth this year holds lots of water. Each cubic foot of drifted, piled or compacted snow contains 2 to 3 gallons of water. Actions taken now can minimize future water problems.

Eave-trough down-spouts should carry the water several feet from a house to a well drained area. About 2,500 gallons of water will come from a 1,000 square foot roof with one foot of snow depth across the roof. This much water may cause problems if allowed to drain next to the house.

Move snow on the ground away from the house. Snow melt water may cause a wet basement if allowed to run down along the basement wall. If the ground is sloped 1 inch per foot near the house, moving the snow just 3-5 feet from the house will reduce problems.

Examine and clean both the sump pump and pit. Test your sump pump by pouring water into the pit. Make sure the discharge hose carries the water several feet away from the house to a well drained area. Also make sure that the pipe is on sloped ground so it drains to prevent it from freezing.

Remove snow from around rural yards to minimize soft, wet soil conditions. Remember that a 20 foot diameter 10 foot high pile of snow contains about 2,600 gallons of water. Move the snow to well drained areas.

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