Excess water on a property is more than an eyesore. Even a thin layer of water covering a walkway creates a hazard for those walking on it, and localized flooding in the yard damages plants and destroys the grass. This cost guide details how much it costs to install a dry well and how homeowners can use them to promote proper drainage around homes.
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Table of Contents
- Dry Well Costs
- What Is A Dry Well?
- Dry Well Vs. French Drain
- Dry Well Considerations
- Advantages Of Dry Wells
- Disadvantages Of Dry Wells
- DIY Or Hire A Pro?
- Dry Well Kits
- Find A Pro
Dry Well Costs
The average cost to construct a dry well is $ 2,559, and most homeowners pay between $ 1,505 and $ 4,064 to complete the project. Skilled homeowners may also be able to complete this project on their own for material costs and one day of labor. The typical dry well installation cost includes materials such as a prefabricated dry well made from plastic or concrete, pipe, lids, fittings, drains and rocks as well as labor charges to dig the necessary trenches, install the dry well and connect all the pieces. The condition of the soil, number of dry wells to install and location of the dry wells on the property can add to the number of labor hours and increase the overall cost.
What Is A Dry Well?
A dry well is an underground chamber designed to collect water overflow from gutters, driveways, sidewalks and lawns so that it doesn’t settle on the ground’s surface and damage the surrounding landscape and buildings. The structure works by diverting runoff water through pipes that connect to the buried container. Holes in the container let the water slowly soak back into the surrounding soil, reducing localized flooding and restoring groundwater reserves.
Dry Well Vs. French Drain
Although some people use the terms interchangeably, there are some notable differences between dry wells and French drains. They both divert excess water from storm runoff to an underground system that lets the water slowly seep into the surrounding area. However, they accomplish this task through different designs.
Named for the man who developed it, a French drain is a 1- to 2-foot wide trench filled with gravel or rock. Underneath the gravel, a perforated pipe directs water away from the potentially flooded area. As excess water drains into the trench, it slowly flows into the nearby ground. In a dry well system, pipes direct the flow of water toward an underground container with holes that let the water disperse to the surrounding area. French drains work well around the foundation of a house or along the perimeter of the basement. Dry wells are better suited for collecting water runoff from roofs and driveways.
Dry Well Considerations
Before installing dry wells on your property, homeowners need to consider conditions like the characteristics of the soil, depth of the ground water table, environmental sensitivity of the region and inflow water quality to determine whether or not a dry well is an appropriate option. For example, dry wells do not work well in areas with large amounts of clay in the soil because the clay doesn’t absorb water as easily as soil with a higher sand content does.
As part of the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Environmental Protection Agency regulates storm water drainage wells that meet Class V requirements. Class V storm water drainage wells have the following characteristics:
- Allow water to disperse into the subsoil
- Include a drilled shaft or dug hole that is deeper than it is wide
- Rely on a naturally occurring sinkhole
- Include pipes under the surface of the ground
As a result, homeowners may need a permit before installing a dry well. They should check with their local permitting agency to determine whether they need a permit for the project and what information to submit with the application.
Homeowners also need to calculate the amount of anticipated water runoff and select a dry well with the right capacity to hold and disperse this volume of water. Ideally, the water should drain from the underground reservoir within 72 hours after it enters. If the dry well still has water inside after three days, the container is not large enough to handle the runoff, and the homeowner should install a larger or additional dry well.
Advantages Of Dry Wells
Dry wells are useful for keeping walkways dry and preventing flooding. This gives the homeowner more control over the landscape and helps keep walkways dry so no one slips while walking after a storm. It also stops puddles from forming in the yard. Dry wells prevent soil erosion that occurs when fast moving water carries away the top layer of soil while at the same time, adding to the ground water reserves. They are also easy to install and do not detract from the surrounding landscape because the reservoir stays underground.
Disadvantages Of Dry Wells
Dry wells aren’t perfect. In places that receive frequent periods of heavy rain, homeowners need to make sure they install a container with the capacity to hold all the water going into it. If the container is too small, the excess water passes through an overflow cap and pools on the surface of the ground. In extreme cases, the water can back up in basements and damage the house’s foundation. Another problem is the dry well design, which makes them prone to clogging. Leaves and other debris from the surrounding landscaping may get caught in the underground container or the pipes leading to it.
DIY Or Hire A Pro?
Although it’s possible for a homeowner to install a dry well, this project is best left to a professional who understands how to correctly place the dry well in the ground. Improperly installed holding containers can cause serious water damage to the property and the buildings on it. Dry wells that don’t have the capacity to hold all the available water or that don’t drain well can back up and cause damage to a house’s foundation. For this reason, many local governments require permits for this type of project so they can verify who’s completing the work and inspect it when it’s finished.
Dry Well Kits
Homeowners who want to tackle this project on their own need to first check with local authorities to verify local regulations and restrictions and then research how to construct a dry well. This information helps you choose between creating a custom dry well kit from landscaping materials or purchasing a pre-fabricated dry well kit. Most hardware stores carry items like Flo-Well dry well kits designed as modular systems that work independently or as part of a larger water-management system. Whether you choose to build their own dry well or use a kit, homeowners should follow instructions carefully and consult a dry well professional about installing an overflow pipe.
Find A Pro
You don’t have to live with a waterlogged yard or driveway. If you’re ready to improve the appearance and safety of your property by installing a dry well, let ImproveNet help you. Try our free lead generator to find landscaping professionals in your area.
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Last updated on Feb 23, 2017