Remediating a Crushed and Overflowing Culvert – Site Prep for Small Modular Cabin

Remediating a Crushed and Overflowing Culvert – Site Prep for Small Modular Cabin

It rained all night and water was flowing over the field behind our house. Cliff went out in the rain to see what was going on with our construction area.

So much rain the field was flooded

The field behind our house was flooded and the waterway behind our house was overflowing.

The silt fence is doing its job, but the field is flooding

The silt fence was working, but the ditch was over flowing and sending water across the whole field.

The silt fence in the rain

We went out the next morning to see what the rain had done. The silt fence had some leaves washed up against it, but there really wasn’t a disturbed area yet to cause silt.

The silt is coming from upstream

There was some silt in our brook, but it was coming from upstream.

This hole gushed water when we had heavy rain.

But during the rain, there had been a LOT of water sheeting across the back field. Some water was coming through the culvert, but not much.

Water rushing out of the hole where the culvert is crushed

This is the hole with the water rushing up and out of it.

The culvert was there when we first bought our land. It was clogged and in some areas it was crushed and it wasn’t really working anymore. This was one of the items on our wish list that we took back off to keep the estimate affordable. We decided that it really was necessary. And it would cost a lot less now, while the equipment was here than later when they would have to bring machines back. We called Taylor and told him we really needed to go ahead and manage the culvert after all, but please help us keep this as affordable as he can.

Straw Blankets

The next morning guys showed up with rolls of what I found out are straw blanket.

After the trees and brush were cleared, before the crushed culvert was dug out.

First they pulled out the rest of the trees and brush that were growing over the crushed culvert.

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A lot of buried trash and debris came up with the tree roots.

The excavator pulled out enough brush to reach the end of the crushed culvert.

They cleared enough brush to get to the end of the culvert.

It just wadded trees and briars up and pulled them out by the roots.

The guy just smashed the bushes down and pulled them up by the roots.

They dug up the collapsed culvert

They started at the end of the crushed culvert, pulling it up and creating a waterway.

The first few bites of dirt and debris

The excavator started cutting a new ditch and pulling up the old culvert.

They compacted the soil on the sides of the new stream bed

He piled the soil he pulled out on the sides of the new waterway and pressed the bucket in enough to lift the machine to compress the soil.

As soon as they pulled up a piece of the crushed culvert, water gushed into the stream bed

As soon as they pulled up some of the crushed culvert, water gushed into the ditch.


Do you see this crushed culvert? Well here’s one reason it might have crushed. It’s not actually culvert. It is something else. At least part of it was old hot water heaters.

Two guys with shovels scrambled into the brush to dig out the clogged ditch and let the water through.

Two guys went downstream clearing and letting the water drain through.

They scattered grass seed

While they were digging downstream to let the water through, this guy started sowing grass.

Straw blankets cover the berms

They rolled out the grass blanket, then pulled it to cover the banks of the stream bed.

The excavator moved all the debris to one pile and the brush and trees to another pile.

They removed all of the debris, scattered out grass seed and put straw and straw blanket over it.

Metal pins hold the straw blanket in place

Metal pins hold the straw blanket in place.

Topcon RL-H5A Rotary Laser and the excavator finishing our new and improved waterway

This is almost the end of the new waterway. See the piece of equipment in the background on the right? That is a Topcon RL-H5A Rotary Laser. It is a “self-levelling rotating laser for general construction.” It is “One of the most common uses of lasers in construction… for leveling and grading.” Taylor has used this throughout the project to make sure water will run the right direction.

All the way to the end of our land!

Here we are, up to the final edge of our land! They were SO fast!

The last few bites of dirt, and bricks and blocks and trash

These are the last final bites of dirt, joining our new waterway with the existing ditch from our neighbor’s land.

The finished waterway

The waterway is finished, with grass blankets and straw to be sure it won’t cause silt. The waterway is wider with high banks.

It took way less time than we thought and we were really relieved by the final bill. Much lower than estimated and we are so so so happy with the results. If you live around here, I absolutely recommend Fowler Excavating. They “serve Western North Carolina (WNC) and are located between Brevard and Hendersonville.”

Drone view of the improved water channel

It looks better already. We want another flood so we can test it out. But not right now. We want our foundation finished and our cabin delivered first.

Waterway the next morning after some more rain.

We had another rain and the new waterway worked perfectly. When the grass grows in, it will look like a nice stream.

The work is done by Fowler Excavating. Taylor Fowler has managed all of the subcontractors.

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Here is an artist’s rendition of our new waterway.

Meanwhile, we are still waiting for the permit to be issued. We are at a standstill. We need the permit to get an address assigned. We can’t get water, sewer or power even started without the address. We can’t just guess an address. They look it up and if it’s not assigned, they don’t come out. We REALLY should have had our permit by now!