This was a fun one!!!

A local restaurant was getting water intrusion under their back door in a heavy rains.  I went to see the problem during a downpour and quickly realized that the building’s slab was about even with the top of the curb to the drive thru lane which was only about 10′ away.  So water was not able to drain properly away from the building.

To make matters worse, much worse actually, the only downspout for the approximately 6,000 SF roof, dumped out onto a brick pad right beside the rear.

Clearly there hadn’t enough discussion between the engineer and architect.  

So not only could the small area around the door not drain well, it receives all the water off the roof.

There was a yard drain installed in the rock bed nearby, but it was a tiny plastic box with a small grate over it; it would take about three leaves to clog it up.  

The “do it once and forget about it” solution was to cut out the existing sidewalk, and replace it with a ramp through the curb of the nearby drive thru lane that would go straight from the slab down to the asphalt of the drive thru lane.  

This was a bigger job than the owner wanted to do, and would require closing the drive thru during construction which would cost even more in lost revenue than the cost of the work.

So we needed a better solution.

After thinking the situation through, I came up with a plan for what you see in the picture.

I reasoned that if we could get the water from the roof onto the asphalt without it having  run across the concrete, we would reduce a monthly occurrence to something that happened maybe every few years.  

But there wasn’t a simple way to catch the water from the roof drain without introducing the possibility of backing water up onto the roof; not something I wanted to be responsible for.

So I thought the best approach would be to catch the water in something that was open and could not cause a backup.  I considered a bucket, but the arc of the water stream coming out of the drain would vary depending on how hard the rain was.  So I had to have something that was shaped to catch a dribble as easily as a big stream of water shooting out like a fire hose.

So I came across a water trough intended for livestock.  When place perpendicular to the wall, it was long enough to catch whatever flow there was.

Next, I had to get the water out of the trough and over the curb.  So I cut a hole in the side of the trough and installed a toilet flange and gasket inside the trough and bolted it to the side.  Then I installed a piece of 3” PVC drain pipe with an elbow on the end to direct the water down and not toward cars driving by.

The final step was to drill a couple weep holes in side of the trough, just above the trough’s bottom, and a couple more in the bottom of the trough so that it would completely empty after the rain stopped.

It worked! I haven’t gotten a single call about water intrusion since installing it.

The investigation, designing the solution, and the construction of the apparatus cost a fraction of what the new concrete ramp would have.  Better yet, the drive thru did not have to close at all, saving thousands of dollars in revenue!

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