Newsletter From The Creek

You’ve been missing our little updates, haven’t you? They’ve been working around the bend lately and I only see them coming and going. For the last two days, the workers have been coming to the staging site (now with 30 yard dumpster!) near the port-a-potty  and picking up big saws of the kind that cut tile and concrete to take to the work area. This is the creek today:

The the farthest end of the creekbed that you can see here is a new addition: a dam made of gabion.

I used Sami’s phone to take that picture and when I hooked it to the laptop to download, I found that he has been doing his own photo documentation. He’s been telling me that if I could see what is going on with the shed from the other side that I would be more worried. Well I see it now and he was right.

Does this creek project make my shed look tilted? They clawed away the little amount of dirt cushion we had there so they could maneuver the machinery around.

Sleep easy, Suzette.

So they decided to make weirs at period intervals to stop the forward rush of water and thus erosion. I don’t think anyone on this project ever saw what happens here when it rains. The water gushes out of the big pipe and tears away the soil on our property and then loses it’s force as it goes along.The first weir is two houses down. They are treating this as if it was a body of water with a constant supply. A genuine creek, in other words.

This is going to make it very difficult for The Poodle to continue his evening walks along the creekbed. Maybe that’s why he has free time to poke his head into the cabs of the unguarded machinery now.


Here is the original concrete drain pipe that brings the storm drain runoff which is the source of the erosion. You can see the disparity between the diameter of the permanent pipe and that of the plastic one. This was taken before the pipes were connected and covered with dirt.  Did I mention that during a rain storm when we had 1/2″ of rain in half an hour, the buried pipe blew apart from the pressure and made a geyser in my neighbor’s backyard? Don’t you think that would be some kind of clue about what happens when it rains – that it’s not just a creek that gets higher for a while?

When we moved here, the pipe was just an opening in the side of a solid dirt bank and it was covered by a grate. The grate blew off years ago allowing hours and hours of preadolescent fun for the neighborhood boys as they waltzed right in and worked their way up through the  drain system.

I am having a crisis of confidence in the skill and expertise of the township engineer who designed the project and the contracting company that is implementing it.  Grave suspicion that  kindergartners were involved.

ADDENDUM: I want to make it clear that I don’t blame the creek workers. I blame the knucklehead engineer who designed this thing.

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10 thoughts on “Newsletter From The Creek

  1. Take a good photo of your shed in its current state, with the dirt undermined by their activities. After they’re finished, and your shed is out of level, write a letter, including the photo. They’re responsible and you’ll have a level, stabilized shed when it’s all over. If not, you have a pretty good suit, especially if they act in bad faith. In Texas, this can mean treble damages.

  2. Looks over-engineered to me. And if they’ve replaced a big fat pipe that’s already hydro blasting the opposite bank with one of a tighter diameter, it might tunnel under houses on its way to the street. The shed will be a footnote.

  3. The weir slows the velocity, which helps prevent erosion. It’s a good idea, as long as some engineer determined the contained water volume and made sure it wouldn’t cause flooding, due to containment, or enough pressure to undermine the weir and create a bigger problem.

    Do I think it will work? No. The water will cut the sides and cause the gabions to tumble downstream, unless they add a bunch more rock and key it into the banks all the way to the top.

    • Well, okay but the first weir is 2 houses down. By the time the rain water runoff gets there the velocity is diminished to “flow” rather than “fire hose”. And what becomes of the water that’s left in a pool between the weirs? Mosquito incubator and what else?

  4. Gabions, in a perfect world, don’t hold water, so if they get their grade correct, the water should flow downstream.

    In the real world, gabions will trap silt, debris and vegetation will grow in the rocks. Eventually, the water ponds and mosquitoes will breed in the stagnant water.

  5. I have to agree with you conclusion that they don’t know what they’re doing.
    If I’m reading this right, you don’t have a natural “creek” but a “wash” that fills with running water after a heavy rain. By trying to direct or contain the flow only makes it more destructive.

    IMO; they need to widen the bed, remove the impediments to the natural flow and secure the sides of the wash.
    Mother Nature always wins, so it’s best not to fool with her.

  6. contractor and employees are a product of public education system, which is getting worse every generation..scary world for our children and grandchildren.

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