How To Drain Standing Water With a Dry Well

Every year, you probably notice big puddles in your yard during rainy seasons, even long after rain has stopped falling. This is usually due to lack of drainage in the ground. Before rain comes, you should try to install a dry well system during the summer. This helps prevent the formation of puddles after the rain. This also serves a more important function: a dry well will prevent seepage of water into your basement or foundations, which can result in structural damage to your home’s foundation.

  • The size of dry wells will usually range from simple gravel-filled container to a drainpipe feeding a concrete structure with hundreds of gallons in capacity.
  • Underground dry wells are usually containers that act as water receptacles, and then leach out the water into surrounding soil. The dry well will usually have holes covered by a screen, to prevent dirt from entering. Most of the time, dry wells are constructed of concrete or plastic, and will be located right under the area of wet areas form, or in better-draining soil in your yard.
  • Before you make your construction, be familiar with your soil, particularly why it’s not draining properly. Does it have subsurface layers of harder soil, such has hardpan? Or, does it contain a big percentage of clay? You will have to dig past these obstructions to get a good assessment of how effective the area will be at drainage.
  • You will also need to conduct a percolation test to determine how quickly your soil drains. This can be done by digging a four-inch wide hole at a four-foot depth. Fill it with water and measure how long it drains. If it takes a day or more, then you will have to look elsewhere. If the water drains within 10 minutes or less, you’ve found the right spot.
  • Make sure you are within legal rights to dig a well in the ground. Get in touch with your local or city authorities to check whether you need a building permit, and to verify if there are utility cables or gas pipes in the area that might be affected by your digging.
  • Measure the size of the dry well you will be creating. This will depend on how much water you need to drain.  
  • You can create a small dry well if you only need some drainage, say for roofing without gutters. For this purpose, you can dig a hole six inches wide in diameter and four feet in depth. Fill a four-inch drainpipe sleeve with pea gravel. Lower the sleeve into the hole and continue filling in with pea gravel until it is full.
  • For a larger dry well, you will need to get yourself a drywell kit. Dig a pit in the ground that’s about twice the depth of your drywell kit. Cover the bottom with two feet depth of gravel and then place the dry well on the gravel. Then, fill the area with coarse gravel. Cover the pit with building paper and then topsoil.
  • You can direct water from your roof or any place that needs drainage using trenches or a drainpipe.

Using a drywell will help prevent leaking and flooding in your basement and around your property. This way, water is properly dispersed underground.


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