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Express News, Mark Eberwine weighs in on the 'Mud Lake of Rivermist'
Sunday, 07 March 2010

Little Rivermists are everywhere in San Antonio
What is going on over at the Hills of River Mist is just 'the tip of the iceberg' in San Antonio. The 'Mud Lake of Rivermist' would have been a more appropriate name. All over San Antonio and the surrounding areas just outside anybody's oversight, subdivision after subdivision have been built where thousands of homes have had foundations constructed on improperly prepared lots.

Little Rivermists are everywhere in San Antonio
 By Mark Weberwine
Write your Comments on this article

To the Hills of Rivermist residents: You may have saved some lives. Without your 30 foot so-called 'retaining wall' collapse, area builders may have tried for 60, 90, 120 foot tall walls.

If you stack tons and tons of unconsolidated earth on top of undisturbed soils, behind a 'retaining wall' and you fill the earth with millions of gallons of water (it's call rain), this water held by the dam is a 'lake'. What licensed engineer or homebuilder doesn't understand this?

Oh wait, I can hear the builders and their engineers now. "It is the homeowner' fault. The homeowner 'watered too much around their foundations."

The strength and stability of your home's foundation is a fundamental issue that must be properly understood and agreed upon before you ever commit to a home builder.

Not only is it essential that the foundation be properly designed and constructed, the site preparation is critical for the long term success of the foundation.

Builders will often tout that their foundations are 'engineered'. Somehow, homebuyers often end up with an engineered foundation that cracks, bends excessively, tilts, or slides along the grade. How can this happen with a supposedly 'engineered' slab.

Careless or greedy builders will often re-grade the lot and slab-site so that they have to use less concrete and steel. Often, to create a more desirable view, for a premium fee, builders will move piles of earth until they have created an artificial hill. Many times, what was once a stabile and unmolested building site becomes an improperly contoured and re-contoured site that utilizes improperly compacted soils and slab footings that don't bear on undisturbed soil.

What is going on over at the Hills of River Mist is just 'the tip of the iceberg' in San Antonio. The 'Mud Lake of Rivermist' would have been a more appropriate name. All over San Antonio and the surrounding areas just outside anybody's oversight, subdivision after subdivision have been built where thousands of homes have had foundations constructed on improperly prepared lots.

San Antonio has long had a reputation for allowing builders to condemn homeowners to a life of fear, uncertainty and misery.

This latest fiasco with the retaining wall won't change anything.

There will be huddling, closed door meetings, dilatory tactics and legal maneuverings that, in a few weeks or months, will result in 'Doing business as usual' (aka doin' bizness).

If you live within a 100 miles of San Antonio, don't start the process of building a home without first contacting me.

Read Jennifer Hiller's story New cracks found in Rivermist walls


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