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A Guide To Residential Dry Wells

residential dry well guide

What Is A Dry Well?

A dry well is an underground structure that disposes of unwanted water from your home – typically stormwater, and at times, gray water, which is all water from your household except for the water from your toilet. It is a covered, porous-walled chamber that allows water to slowly soak into the ground (that is, percolate), dissipating into the groundwater.

As you know, living in Oregon means that we experience a lot of storms and water excess. With uncontrolled stormwater, you can expect erosion and localized flooding time and time again. Dry wells are just one means by which stormwater runoff can be collected and controlled.

When Dry Wells Can Help

Imagine what happens when there’s a storm. Water falls onto your roof and drains into your gutters, or wherever it can find an escape route. Gravity does it’s business, and the water finds its way into the ground. If you have a dry well, a successful installation means that gravity pulls water into the lowest point of the yard, giving the runoff water a place to collect until finally, it dissipates into the soil, instead of building uip across the lawn surface and pooling into depressed areas.

While dry wells typically are used to collect runoff from the roof, they can also be used to relocate gray water (the relatively clean water wasted by sinks, baths, washing machines, and dishwashers).

Common Dry Well Problems

Dry wells typically do not need much maintenance beyond periodic inspections and cleanings. Sometimes, you may notice leaves or debris clogging the lid. Simply move it out of the way and your dry well should be back in business.

Another common problem is sediment buildup inside of the dry well shaft. Water may have a hard time dissipating into the ground if the bottom of the shaft is covered in dirt and other debris, which is common in older dry wells. In order to avoid buildup, check the dry well frequently to make sure there isn’t standing water. If there is standing water, and it hasn’t drained in 72 hours or less, it is a solid indicator that your dry well needs to a professional cleaning.

Maintaining Your Dry Well

Regular maintenance and checkups are critical to keeping a properly functioning dry well. If your dry well floods, it can cause further headaches as there is potential of property damage. Keeping your dry well lid clean and clear of debris is a simple maintenance task. But,  if your home or business relies on a dry well to drain stormwater, we can make dry well inspection and cleaning part of your regular service package.

Give us a call at 503-292-5346 to schedule your checkup or cleaning.