Got That Squishy Yard | GreenWorks Environmental

Got That Squishy Yard

Got That Squishy Yard

One of the most frustrating challenges we hear of from homeowners is the “Squishy Yard” nightmare. Stories abound of homeowners trying to address it themselves. With everything from crazy pipe and drain contraptions to spending bank on landscape solutions that just don’t work. Unfortunately, this is something you or your landscaper is not equipped to handle.

Changing Environmental Rules

Your “Squishy Yard” is soil science matter that needs to be addressed by a Building Biologist. Today’s homes are advancing at such a pace that Codes and Regulations just can’t keep pace with the Science. A good example is Moisture Intrusion Management and the effects it has on Indoor Air Quality (IAQ). It all starts with the era your home was constructed in.

When Was Your Home Built?

Got That Squishy Yard 2

1880’s home with a basement that “seeps” can be quite an issue to correct. Definitely need a professional for this.

What does the era of your home’s construction have to do with a “Squishy Yard” you might ask. We find that it has everything to do with it. Construction standards differed as synthetic materials were developed. Land use expanded and more and more environmental rules were implemented. A home built in 1985 has different environmental considerations than one built-in 1950. Your “Squishy Yard” might be a sign of bigger moisture issues than you realize.

New Jersey – The Swamp State

Backyard Wetland

Backyard Wetland – The “Vernal Pool” your kids can’t swim in. A protected wetland often associated with Threatened and Endangered Species.

Take New Jersey, for example, it’s basically a “swamp.” It was normal to relocate streams or fill wetlands to create land to build on. Farmers liked to plant in wetlands that today might not be the best place to build a house on. Environmental rules were changing how the land was developed.

Freshwater Wetlands Protection Act

With the introduction of the Clean Water Act in 1975, Freshwater Wetlands became protected and the practice of filling them ended. But what about all those homes built on an old wetland? What about older homes that are now being re-built with bigger basements. In neighborhoods that historically were prone to water intrusion due to wetlands? Bet they have  that “Squishy Yard.”

Structures Built on Wetlands

Old Wet Basement

Old Wet Basement – Built on a filled wetland that has returned.

Older homes built on filled wetlands could have a hidden moisture issue that creates that “Squishy Yard”. That “Squishy Yard” could be migrating into your home via “Capillary Draw” and degrading its IAQ. Understanding soil science and how it interacts with your yard and home is key to managing your “Squishy Yard.”

So What Do I Do?

Every home has its own unique drainage considerations. There is no easy “one size fits all” answer. First, find an Environmental Contractor well versed in Building Biology to help. They will assess your unique situation and point you in the direction of relevant moisture management & drainage techniques. Then, start educating yourself. Here are a few resource links that can help:

USGS Water Science School

https://water.usgs.gov/edu/

USDA and Soils Information

https://websoilsurvey.nrcs.usda.gov/app/HomePage.htm

EPA Wetlands protection & Restoration

https://www.epa.gov/wetlands

Princeton Soils Institute

http://www.princetonsoilinstitute.com/ecosystems-and-soils.html

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Avatar for Victor Coppola

Victor Coppola

Victor Coppola is a Building Biologist with decades of diverse environmental experience spanning natural resource management and contaminated sites to Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) and building hygiene matters. He focuses on the three most prevalent issues degrading today's built environment: Moisture Odor & Mold (M.O.M.). Mr. Coppola and his Team are sought out by individuals and professionals concerned about IAQ to those actually suffering from Biotoxin Illness. His hybrid blend of environmental interests and services enable him to give a unique perspective into today's changing environment. Think your home is killing you, better call Victor and his Team at GreenWorks.

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