Saturday 15 August 2015

Flooded Cellar

We had our first big setback today.  Yesterday evening there was a huge thunderstorm with rain of epic proportions causing flash floods across the south of Germany.  Unfortunately one of the floods was in Lehningen and more unfortunately, in our cellar.

We are in a fairly exposed position in the new build area, down-hill from multiple plots that have not yet been built on.  This means when it rains there is nothing to stop the water running down the hill on to our own plot, or in this case, running in to the hole around the cellar.

More unfortunately, our cellar builders didn't cap the holes where the drainage pipes will come out of the cellar, about 60cm above ground level outside and 40cm above the floor in the cellar.

Looking at the outside wall we can see the water filled the hole well over a meter high so flooded in to the cellar through the open holes filling it up to 50cm high, the water then drained out to the level of the bottom of the holes so there is now 40cm of water in the cellar.  On examination the is a good 2cm to 3cm of sludge at the bottom of the water too so it will be a big effort to clean it out considering we have no built in drain in the cellar.

We considered syphoning out the water through one of the holes as this would save us having to organise a pump on a Saturday afternoon (not easy in Germany as most local shops and suppliers close at 12 on a Saturday for the rest of the weekend), but when we arrived back on site with a piece of hosepipe, one of our cellar builders was already there examining the site and muttering expletives!

He said he would bring a pump tomorrow to start pumping the water out of the cellar but much worse is that the hole around the cellar is full of sludgy clay up to 40cm that was washed in from other plots and also from our walls dissolving (now the cellar hole is about 50cm bigger after some of the walls collapsed in to the hole).  This all needs removing and the cellar walls cleaning before they can clad the cellar with the insulation panels.  He thinks this will take at least 4 to 5 hours and push everything back as they planned to be done on Monday and have another site to attend after that.

We managed to clear a meter of the sludge in 30 minutes,it is ridiculously heavy and so wet that more just runs in to the hole as you dig so there was no point continuing today. We now have to hope it dries out a lot until Monday, although it's raining outside now.

In the end the builder said they would spend Monday removing the sludge from around the cellar and pumping out the water, then return on Friday to install the insulation. We would then have to get on to our ground workers to lay the drainage pipes and fill the hole as soon as possible in case there are any more storms. Unfortunately they are on holiday until the end of next week so can't help with the current crisis.

Obviously there will now be more costs involved for the extra work but how much, we have no idea.  We just hope the ground dries out by Monday and it doesn't flood again.

Here you can see how high the water was:

The water ran off of all the plots behind us and straight in to the hole:

Lots of sludge was washed in to the hole, over 40cm in places:

Looking down in to the cellar:

Lots of muddy water to pump out, this is the smallest room: 

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