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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
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    2

    Default Dry Well Information

    In a single family residence above a floodplain but sitting on a lot of clay soil, heavy rains can cause severe drainage issues. I am investigating several systems/solutions, including dry well. On the "This Old House" remodel project in Cambridge in 2012 [season 32; episode 12], Roger and Kevin installed a dry well [after other(s) had been installed off-camera]. It was yellow plastic; open-bottom; weighed about 70 pounds; and held over 340 gallons - over 500 including the storage in the surrounding rocks. How can I find manufacturing/purchase information for that specific product or other reasonably priced components for someone in Austin, Texas?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Houston Texas
    Posts
    2,358

    Default Re: Dry Well Information

    I would think a farm style water tank from Farmer's supply, or McCoys, or Agway... then cut the bottom off or put big holes in it (easier)

    Just be sure the tank doesn't get filled from natural ground water.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
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    2

    Default Re: Dry Well Information

    Thanks, Houston. Do you or anybody else have any experience with horizontal dry wells?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    1,093

    Default Re: Dry Well Information

    No experience with horizontal ones but the principles would be the same as a vertical one. Having clayey soil here too all I can offer you is advice to oversize it and oversize the gravel field, as with this kind of soil it is going to take a long time to empty. Actually my preference where possible is to pipe the downspouts away to somewhere that they will empty and flow away from the house. This takes more linear digging but at a lower depth so all in all you're displacing about the same amount of soil. Piping it off give you all the advantages of a dry well and it cannot fail short of physical damage. You can also design a system similar to a septic system with feeder lines out to augment excess flow when the tank fills instead of placing an overflow atop the tank. You can also pipe an overflow vent away from the tank so long as it's graded to flow properly. If you're cutting across an established lawn to do any of this, cut the sod on one side only and fold it over away from the trench, then put the excavated material on the other side on top of a tarp. When you're done just flip the sod back over and it will be happy to grow where it was before and it fills in the space exactly so you can hardly tell anything was done. The excess is easily dragged off with the tarp. (I wonder why Roger hasn't figured this trick out on the show? He always has to deal with moving sod squares or replanting sod or grass where he trenches!)

    What you cannot do is make water flow where it does not want to go, so the value of a dry well seems questionable to me save for certain specific situations where all you want to do is temporarily control localized flooding in a low spot in your yard where regrading isn't a viable option. My Mom's lot is higher than the surrounding areas overall but bowl-shaped where the house is with minimal fall toward the back. Luckily it drains just enough to not cause structural problems but when it rains there is a temporary 2" deep 'lake' a short distance from the house. Filling it in would just cause the water to divert toward the house too, so we just live with it since it's really not a problem to avoid the area after a rain and the grass is happy there. A dry well would not work there because the temporarily high water table in a rain and the clayey soil preventing drainage, yet these kinds of situations are where I find most people wanting a dry well. I'd think really hard before investing in a dry well and use one only as a last resort but that's just me and YMMV!

    Phil

    Phil

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