How can I create a dry well system on my property?


How can I create a dry well system on my property?

Asked by Justin Newsted

How much property will I need to create a dry well system? I have a 2,300 square foot home in a production home basic lot.

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Harold Remlinger, AIA, LEED AP, NCARB's picture


There is more than a simple yes or no answer to your question. Here are a few considerations.

  • Local ordinances: I would recommend that you visit your municipality's engineering department to discuss the feasibility of installing a dry well, and to find out whether it is allowed per the adopted ordinance.Most municipalities do not allow dry wells but might have an alternative system to help maintain a dry lot and control water runoff.
  • Soil conditions: Have you had a perk test performed on your property? The dry well will only work if your site can absorb the water entering into it. If, for example, you have clay soil substrate, you will be creating a pond rather than a dry well, since the water will not be absorbed by the underlying soils.

To proceed:

  1. Start with your local municipality to see if they allow the installation of a dry well.
  2. Have a geotechnical engineer perform a perk test and even soil boring(s) in the proposed location of the drywell to determine the proper size and construction based on the site conditions and amount of water runoff experienced during the greatest rain event.
  3. Consider alternatives based on the investigation performed by the geotechnical engineer. The engineer may have a better solution for your situation.