How close to Water table can I pour a footing

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Posted by: from West Montrose
5/4/2011 at 1:03:28 PM


I am proposing to build a house on a plot of land. I dug a test hole 46 inch deep and water level rose to about 36 inches in 15 minutes. (FYI this is the wettest April in 30 years and the test holes was dug after 3 days of modest rainfall.) The lots on either side limit me form raising the house up to much.

My question is, can I have the bottom of my footing at the 36 inch mark (top of water level)? Obvously I will need foundation drains and sump pump.

Also, in this case (because of wet spring) would you ever go slightly below water level (ie 6")

I look forward to professional responses. Thank you in advance.



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Dave in Oshawa
Date/Time5/18/2011 at 1:38:34 PM

Hi Don,

You have a problem site. You can't guess at this or you'll be in trouble once the house is built. So it's a wet spring? What happens when the house is there and it's another wet spring? Do yourself a favour and get an engineer to help you design the foundations to match site conditions...and don't cheap out. I'm not sure what the frost depth is where you are building, but 36" would be very problematic for most areas in Canada without engineered footings. You can pour footings underwater and they will cure, although the concrete will lose compressive strength and it does nothing for the high water table on site. You should also be talking to your municipal building official. He might be able to offer some guidance. At the end of the day, if he isn't happy with your solution, you won't pass the inspection and you won't be able to continue building.

Hope that helps! Good luck with it.

~ Dave

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