Seeing unexpected water coming out of the ground in the yard is never a good thing. Usually, it means that a water or sewer pipe has broken. However, it could also be from natural ground water movements. This article on “water coming out of ground in yard” will explain the problems and what to do about it.
Our Guide: Finding and Fixing Water Coming Out of Ground Problems
Readers can skip to the section(s) that seem to pertain to their problem. However, many sections of this article are interrelated and may also apply to your situation.
Signs and Wonders of Water Coming Out of Ground
- Water spraying into the air
- Hearing a hissing sound
- Stinky yard
- Water puddle or soggy grass
- Plants grow better in that area of the yard
Water Spraying into The Air
This is a sure sign that the fresh water line from the street to the house has a leak. If you live in the city or anywhere the local Water Utility supplies water – call a professional plumber. These types of repairs must be performed by licensed professionals. That is the only way to protect the health of everyone that uses the local water system.
Hearing A Hissing Sound in The Yard
This could be a fresh water pipe leak or a sewer pipe leak. That hissing sound is from water spraying out of a pipe leak. However, the pressure isn’t strong enough to spray out of the ground. Here again contact a professional plumber.
Can you hear the hissing and there is a bad smell but there is no water puddle? That could be a natural gas leak.
Does The Yard Stink?
A stinky sewer smell results from sewage water soaking the soil and causing a puddle that releases the smelly gases into the air.
This is a sewer pipe problem or it could be from a private septic system pipe break.
When I started working for the sewer department many years ago, I was required to be vaccinated for hepatitis. That is because hepatitis can be transmitted through contact with sewage. So, it is best to contact a plumber.
Does the yard stink but there is no water puddle? That could be a natural gas leak.
Got A Water Puddle or Soggy Grass?
This could be from natural soil conditions such as clay not letting water drain into the earth. Also, the local underground water table may have risen.
Otherwise, this could be a fresh water or sewer water pipe break.
Plants Or Grass Are Healthier in One Part of The Yard
Extra water leaking from a pipe could be providing a better water supply for plants to thrive in. The opposite is also true. Too much water may kill some plants. However, in that case, there might be a visible water puddle.
Common Reasons for Water Coming Out of Ground in Yard
City Water Main or Well Water Line Leaking
Water spurting into the air or unexpected large water puddles are obvious signs of a water main leak. Having low water pressure in the house is another sign that the water main is leaking.
Homeowners are responsible for any leak located after the shut off valve located in the boulevard or at the property line. Where I live it is at the edge of the sidewalk.
In a private water well system the homeowner would typically hear the well pump running more frequently than normal.
Driving Over Water Pipes and Subsiding Soil
When I landscaped the yard after building a house, I needed several pickup truck loads of black dirt. When I drove the pickup truck into the yard, I made sure not to drive over any pipes. The weight of the truck can cause enough pressure to crack a water pipe.
That is especially true if the soil where the pipe was laid has subsided. Meaning that the earth under the pipe was not compacted adequately. What happens next is that the soil becomes compacted by water percolating through the soil. Essentially causing a sinkhole under the pipe. Now the pipe is not properly supported and the weight of the pickup truck causes the pipe to break.
Other Broken Household Water Pipes
Any fresh water or sewer water pipes within the house could eventually cause a puddle in the yard. Usually, these leaks are under a concrete floor. Typically the first sign of this problem is a wet basement floor.
Leaking Sprinkler Head or Pipeline
Lawn mowers and backyard football games can damage irrigation sprinkler heads. Also, frozen water can break the pipes and sprinkler heads. Regardless of the cause, even small water leaks can water coming out of ground in yards.
Sump Pump Discharge Causing Water Coming Out of Ground in Yard
Many sump pumps discharge the water onto the top of the yard which can cause a puddle. However, some homeowners have an underground sump pump discharge pipe. The end of that may become plugged and/or the water in the pipe can freeze which forces the water out of the pipe.
The freezing water or increased water pressure may cause a new pipe crack or just make an already weak part of the system to fail.
See my article: Sump Pump Draining into the Yard? Why? What To Do About It?
Tree Roots Breaking and Clogging Water and Sewer Pipes
A few years after I built my house the city planted a tree near the street where the sewer line from my house is located. It is only a matter of time before that plastic pipe is broken by tree roots. Usually, this problem is discovered when the shower drains slowly or the toilet backs up.
Some types of fresh water lines are more durable than others but tree roots can break a buried water line.
Roof Gutter Downspouts
Usually these spill the water on top of the ground, which can cause puddles. However, when the downspout feeds into buried pipes, that can lead to water coming out of ground in yard.
These drainage pipes must have a steady slope away from the house. Otherwise, any dip in the pipe can collect water. If that water freezes the pipe can break and next spring the yard will be wet.
Fixing Wet Yard Problems
Obviously fixing broken pipes is the usual solution. However, landscaping and installing a French drain and maybe a sump pump might be the real solution.
When a pipe is broken you need it fixed now not later. Contact a local professional plumber and get it done right the first time.
Not every pipe needs to be dug up and replaced. Pipes can be relined or replaced by specialized equipment that only contractors will own and know how to use.
For example, Pipe Bursting uses a cable with a conical metal head. As the metal head is pulled through the old pipe, the pipe is broken “bursted” apart as a new water line is pulled in to replace it.
French Drains and Sump Pumps
If a new road or house was built nearby that can cause water to flow where it has not before – even underground. This may require installing a French drain in the yard to divert the water to a better location. If that water must move upwards to reach a safe place to drain away, that will require a sump pump.
Unfortunately, it may also require installing a French drain and sump pump in the basement.
See my article: Sump Pump vs French Drain: Do I Need Both for Yard Flooding?
Dealing With High Water Tables and Clay Soils
Many areas of the USA have clay soil just beneath the grass. When clay gets wet it swells up and slows down the percolation of water into the earth. So, when a heavy rain comes you might think: “There is water coming out of ground in yard.”
Also, after a heavy rain the underground water table may rise up and flood the yard.
The best solution is to grade the yard so that the water runs off by gravity. Many times, this is not a practical solution. The next best solution is the use of French drains and sump pumps.