Instructables
I had a section of my backyard that turned into a river during heavy rain. Then the water pooled for a while less than 10 feet from my house and finally made its way along the "path of least resistance" into my basement.
After listening to he advise from several people I decided to create a Dry Well.
The basic concept of a dry well is to collect and redirect rain underground and allow it to filter its way to an area further away from buildings.
 
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Step 1: Material

For this project we used:
  • A roll of "separator" fabric - Home despot, yard center, Lowes...
  • 15 ft of 6 inch pvc
  • Pvc fittings (90s..)
  • 3/4 in gravel. I could have used bigger gravel but I had this on hand.
  • A drill and 1/2inch bit
  • A shovel.
  • Enough time to dig a big hole....
  • A 55 gallon barrel.

Step 2: Diggin' 1

First I dug a 1ft X 1ft trench and covered it with the separator fabric. The fabric was not really necessary but my companion thought it would be neater... I am sure the worms appreciate....
the trench has a slight slope to it (1inch for every 4 ft). Of course the path of the trench is away from the house so the dry well is going to be about 20ft from the nearest wall.

Step 3: The barrel

I don't have a picture of this but this is an important step:
I drilled 1/2 inch holes every 10 inch on the barrel. T'hat's about 5 rows of 6 holes per row. I did not drill the bottom of the barrel. When it's all done, the barrel will be upside down with the bottom facing up.

Step 4: More diggin'

Picture of more diggin'
Then I dug a big hole 4ft in diameter, about 5ft deep. I lined the whole with separator fabric. This is useful: it prevents too much silt and dirt to mix with the gravel that could later clog up the barrel.

dreamberry2 years ago
Same as it ever was...
hkelly13 years ago
anybody have any ideas about how to make this type of unit into a 2 or 3 barrel drywell system? stumbled on this site, and LOVE all the ideas I am seeing!!
yeah u connct them horizontaly together noting they whould be at least 7 feeet a prt
iggypop122 years ago
it has to be at least a 2 inch vent pipe cause the inlet is a 4 inch pipe in breathes better. I made one out of a soap bareel made a lid and vent.
Unorthodox2 years ago
Because the barrel is inverted is there a problem displacing the air in it fast enough? I would think a half inch PVC pipe to the surface would allow the barrel to fill faster and percolate into the soil better instead of the air getting displaced back up the drain pipe. I'm sure it only matters though in a tsunami though, and I assume you haven't had a problem?
dadoffour3 years ago
How quickly does your dry well empty out? I've got a sump pump that drains into my yard, causes flooding. I'm looking for a way to make the drainage more efficient.
bruc33ef5 years ago
Another technique (from permaculture) would have been to dig a 1 to 2-foot-deep swale along the contour line using just a shovel. As you're digging, deposit the soil along the downslope side of the swale. Plant that side with some edible fruits and vegetables. Spread a little organic mulch matter along the bottom of the swale. As a result you'd be dispersing the water, enriching the soil, irrigating your plants, saving yourself some effort and expense, and getting some good food. You don't have a water-in-the basement problem, you have a garden design problem.
missplumeau (author)  bruc33ef5 years ago
Bruc33ef, thank you for your insight. The dry well is actually a great source of water for a flower garden that's now flourishing on one side and a linden tree on the other. Unfortunately, this lot is downtown a mid size new england town and the soil is still not suitable for growing food. It is contaminated with lead and some trace of arsenic. I have a basic rain barrel that waters several raised beds in another corner of my small backyard where we grow herbs, tomatoes and other summer goodies.
iPodGuy5 years ago
Cool. I added this instructable to the 55 Gallon Drum Guide.

http://www.instructables.com/id/55-Gallon-Drum/