Rain Care and Protection of Hillside Homes
The purchase of a new home is usually the largest single investment a family will ever make. The protection of that investment is a paramount importance.
More and more families are buying hillside homes. This brochure was prepared to familiarize owners of such homes with some features of their property with which they may not be acquainted.
The City of West Covina Building and Engineering Laws require developers of hillside property to utilize certain methods of engineering and construction to protect the family investing in a home constructed on such property. For example, the developer may be required to install permanent drains, grade the property in such a manner that rainwater will safely leave the lot, and to plant slopes so that erosion will be kept to an absolute minimum.
Once the home is purchased, it is the buyer's responsibility to maintain these safety features. It is possible that overlooking regular inspection and maintenance of drainage devices and the sloping areas located in a hillside lot will lead to severe financial losses to the owner, and the incurring of civil liability for damage which might occur to neighboring property as a result of negligence in observing a prudent program of lot care and maintenance.
Normal property drainage is shown in the illustration below. Rainwater must flow to the street or an approved drain. When landscaping, homeowners should avoid disrupting flow patterns created when the property was originally graded. Patios, sidewalks, and so forth must not be placed in side swales unless an alternate method of drainage is provided. Heavy ponding and saturation of the soil can result in severe properly damage.
Do's and Do not's for Hillside Homeowners
- Check drainage. Make sure your slopes drain properly so that water cannot collect or cause gullies.
- Make sure all drainage devices, including gutters and down drains are not broken or clogged. Correct problems as soon as possible.
- Make inspections during rains. This is when trouble occurs. Watch for gullying and cracks. If unusual cracks, settling, or earth slippage start, consult a qualified civil engineer or geologist immediately. Correct problems as soon as possible after rain stops falling.
- Keep on hand, sandbags, shovels, and sheets of plastic for slope and runoff protection.
- If cracks or erosion appear on a slope during a rainstorm, place plastic over these areas from the top of the slope to the bottom.
- Place sandbags around the house to prevent intrusion of slope runoff.
- Prevent water from running down the face of the slope by diverting it at the top or carrying the water over slope in flexible polyethylene pipes.
- If you have a retaining wall on your property, make sure weep holes are adequate and functional.
- If erosion occurs around gutters or down drains, place sandbags to prevent these drainage devices from eroding the surrounding area.
- Paved terrace drains may extend over several lots, but it is the responsibility of the homeowners to maintain that portion which is on their property.
- Keep drainage devices clean. Catch basins should be kept free of silt and debris. Make periodic checks to make sure that grate and outlet pipes are not clogged.
- Earth berms prevent water from flowing over slopes. It is important that these berms be maintained.
- Side swales direct water around the house. Keep the flow line at least 24" from the building wall.
- Proper planting of slopes prevents erosion. Keep plants watered, but do not over water. Replant barren areas.
- Do not let water run wild. Drain it with proper gutters, proper channels, and proper drainage.
- Do not alter your slopes without expert advice. Consult a civil engineer.
- Do not pass your problem downstream to your neighbor. Make sure your water drains to the street, or if this is not possible, preferably to down slope pipes or drains.
- Do not attempt to relieve a slope failure condition if one occurs on your property. Consult a qualified civil engineer or geologist immediately. Work with your neighbor to prevent problems.
Sand and sandbags are available to West Covina residents (24-hours) at the following locations:Fire Station No. 1/ City Yard
819 S. Sunset Avenue
West Covina, CA 91790
Fire Station No. 2
2441 E. Cortez Avenue
West Covina, CA 90791
Fire Station No. 4
1815 S. Azusa Avenue
West Covina, CA 91792
2650 E. Shadow Oak Drive
West Covina, CA 91792