Recently purchased a new home and am noticing that there appears to be what seems to be an issue with water seeping through the foundation in the basement. Shortly after a decent rain the wall will start to look damp, after longer periods without rain the wall will dry out until it rains again (I have cleaned the wall and efflorescence will return). Interestingly, the water seepage is isolated in only one area of the basement behind the front porch steps, with the width and height of the efflorescence corresponding with the outside grade and width of the porch.
The front steps have a concrete foundation and I have tried digging a ~2.5 foot (deep) ditch starting at the corner of the steps/house and running out on both sides of the steps to help drain water away, but this doesn't seem to have helped, water does not pool in the ditches after it rains so it is flowing away there.
I'm located in NJ and the soil is very clay-like, which I know can also create drainage issues. Additional notes: House was built in ~1980, unfinished basement, does not have an active sump pump or other built in drainage, the sprinklers in the below pictures are shut off, when digging out one of the ditches I found a chipmunk den (know that can be a water highway..).
I'm wondering if I should try digging out more along the sides of the front steps (perpendicular to the house)? Could there be a 'pocket' under the stairs that is allowing water to flow in from other areas? Any suggestions?