Ditch Deepening At Property Line

Discussion in 'Off-topic' started by Phil1979, Nov 19, 2018.

  1. Phil1979

    Phil1979 Member Georgia Carry

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    Please take a look at the attached photo. My neighbor's fence is caving in toward my side of the back yard.

    The ditch is the result of a construction dump that the builder used to put debris while building the houses back in 1987. I was informed about it when looking at the house, but didn't think it would be a big deal. At the time, it was rather harmless looking.

    The ditch looks like it's getting deeper.

    Who is responsible for fixing this? The builder?

    Or are both (or one) homeowners responsible?

    What would be the approximate cost to cure this?
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Wegahe

    Wegahe NRA Instructor

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    At one time in Georgia builders had convinced many of the inspectors that the buried debris would just turn to gray dirt and would not present a problem in the future. They even had a nice graphic that displayed the levels of the decomposed debris under the top soil. This was even true when I moved here from Texas in 1993. It was still a common practice years after that. Many builders have been forced to buy back houses constructed on buried debris. Since this is not having an effect on the house getting a settlement out of the builder will be next to impossible. The best thing you can do is to have dirt hauled in to fill the trench. If you would be ok with it just being fill dirt check with road construction companies in the area and let them dump a load or two at your site. This normally will not cost you for the fill but you will have to move it into the trench out of pocket if you hire it done.
     

  3. Phil1979

    Phil1979 Member Georgia Carry

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    Would wood chips and rocks also be okay to use as most of the fill? I would also put some dirt in with it.
     
  4. Wegahe

    Wegahe NRA Instructor

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    The decaying wood is the problem so the wood chips would not be a good option to use as fill. Rocks, broken bricks, chunks of concrete from a driveway/road demo or even the tarmac from a repaired or replaced road are all good options for fill. Leave enough room to cover the fill with 3 to 4 inches of top soil if you plan to have grass grow there. Anything such as shrubs which have deeper roots will need a deeper layer of soil.
     
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  5. a_springfield

    a_springfield Well-Known Member

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    If you add fill you will have to do it again and again. My grandparents have the same thing from an '87 house right by the road. They had it filled about 5 years ago and now it looks the same as it did then.
     
  6. Wegahe

    Wegahe NRA Instructor

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    Maybe. Maybe not. Depends on how deep the cut trees and wood construction products are buried. It also depends on the type of fill and method used. Solid fill such as rocks, broken bricks and old road work best. A fine fill dirt mixed in to fill the gaps and properly compacted will usually solve the problem on the first try. Just dumping some fill in will result in multiple trips until everything settles (self compacts). After 40 years the materials that will decompose have had plenty of time to decompose.

    How to fill the void in a debris sink.
    Throw in 3 to 6 inches of hard fill. Keep it even as possible.
    Top with 3 inches of fill dirt.
    Compact using a plate compactor or other large compactor machine. A plate compactor will take several passes to make sure you drive the dirt into the voids between the hard fill.
    Repeat until the sink is about 4 inches from even with surrounding area.
    Cover the last 4 inches with 6 inches with top soil and compact.
    Rake or till the compacted surface to loosen about 1 to 1 1/2 inches deep and plant grass.
     
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  7. Nemo

    Nemo Man of Myth and Legend

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    Leave a space. You know, just in case you need it for something.

    Nemo
     
  8. 45_Fan

    45_Fan Well-Known Member

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    My parents had a house that was built in the 80s. There were 3 different debris holes on the property that sank over the years. They were far enough away from the house/fence/driveway that there was no impact to any structures. One screwed up the mowing and the other two became leaf pits every fall. The correct answer is to just fill it a few times over the years and make sure you don't have water pooling there.

    If you hope to grow plants there, fill it with tiny gravel, sand, and topsoil. If you hope to keep it as a barren wasteland, fill it with stone, clay, or reground road debris. You can certainly fill it with wood chips and similar, just pay attention to termite containment and understand that you'll probably need to top it off more frequently as the wood chips break down. If you want to be environmentally handy about it, call it a "compost pit" when you put plant-based debris in there and stir it with a pitch fork a few times a year.

    If you want to drive somebody nuts in a few years, drop some cast iron plates or 1" thick scrap steel in the bottom before you fill. Then in 2025, call some guys with metal detectors over and mention a rumor about an old farmhouse that got bulldozed to make the neighborhood. Or do that "landscaping accident" thing with a sealed crate before you fill.
     
  9. duluthga

    duluthga New Member

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    Never add anything organic to these pits !!!Only clean soil, concrete, etc. The only way to permanently fix these is to have a backhoe excavate the pit removing anything organic that is liable to decay, then refill with good material.
     
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  10. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Moderator Staff Member

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    duluthga is, of course, 100% correct.
     
  11. Wegahe

    Wegahe NRA Instructor

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    Almost anyway. In a debris pit less than 10 years old it may need excavating to correct the problem. Depends on the type of debris buried and how expansive it is. Very little organic debris if any will still be around after 10 years to decompose. The problem then becomes compaction. It may take 1 or 2 hundred years for it to naturally compact so it doesn't continue to sink. In this case we are talking pits that are 30 to 40 years old. Nothing left to excavate after this amount of time so time to fill and compact.
     
  12. gunsmoker

    gunsmoker Lawyer and Gun Activist

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    A gun owner has a perfect place to dispose of bodies and he wants to permanently fill it up and forsake that potential utility?
    Farmers can say to their daughters' dates: "Don't mess with my little girl. Remember I have a shotgun, a shovel, and 40 acres out back."
    You can say you have a gun, a shovel, and a self-emptying compost pit.
     
  13. moe mensale

    moe mensale Well-Known Member

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    From the guy who throws out pejoratives like Skittles! :rotfl:
     
  14. Nemo

    Nemo Man of Myth and Legend

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    Glad someone else understood #7 above. I was concerned I wasn't quite open enough.

    Nemo :righton:
     
  15. Tinkerhell

    Tinkerhell Active Member

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    I don't know anything formal about this but I will say this in reply to everyone that suggests putting road debris and gravel in there:
    Exactly two years after you do this you ARE going to have some reason to dig that area up and do something there and it is going to be a huge PITA. :evil:

    I'd personally just fill it with fill dirt to 4-6 inches of level and then top off with top soil.

    You might have to put a bit more fill or top soil in over the coming years but that probably wouldn't be that big of a deal.
     
  16. moe mensale

    moe mensale Well-Known Member

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    OK, this is the Off Topic forum. Let's hear the story. Just don't incriminate yourself! :lol:
     
  17. Tinkerhell

    Tinkerhell Active Member

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    Eh, sorry Moe, no specific, interesting examples. Just I've done that sort of thing once or twice and end up having to go back and dig below where I filled in for some reason - deep water line bursts or the wife decides we should put in a flower bed or fruit tree in that area or "let's clear that out and level it for a pool"...

    Normal homeowner "stuff". lol
     
  18. Nemo

    Nemo Man of Myth and Legend

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    Well just make something up then. SoL is not expired so I can say nothing.

    Nemo
     
  19. moe mensale

    moe mensale Well-Known Member

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    Boring! :mrgreen:
     
  20. moe mensale

    moe mensale Well-Known Member

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    It must be terrible living your life on edge every day. :tinfoil: :lol: