Many times a drywell is undersized for the volume of water that is directed into it. Another factor is soil make-up. If the drywell was not installed into well-draining granular material and the backfill material around the outside of the rings does not drain well, this will affect the leaching abilities. In this case, the drywell becomes nothing more than a holding tank with limited capacity. Many towns now require the installation of drywells for the construction of new homes. Drywells sometimes serve dual purposes; to collect roof runoff and surface water from driveway and lawn areas. The collection of sediment (leaves, silty soil, debris and lawn clippings) at the bottom of the drywell can also effect the leaching ability of the drywell and over the period of just a few years the drywell can become overwhelmed during heavy rains.

A 30 year old drywell structure installed in well draining material that failed due to silt
and sediment migration into the surrounding soils b/o lack of maintenance.

Catch basins serve as collection points for surface water and are also the first place where debris is deposited. Annual service and inspection is the best way to keep this critical part of the drainage system functioning at its peak performance. The grate or surface inlet of the catch basin can become restricted during periods of heavy rain or late in the fall when the leaves cover the ground, the catch basin can be rendered useless. Serious consideration should be given to the size and depth of the structure. The volume of water and handling of debris that enters through the open grate dictate how well the structure will perform under peak demand. Consider what would happen in the event the structure was obstructed or otherwise could not move water from the area, where will the water go?  Will the water simply pond on the lawn or is a cellar entryway or basement window well the next lowest area that will take water?

window well
A below grade window well that's back pitched
towards the house with no drainage system.

The pipe used to connect the roof drains, catch basins and drywells should be sized appropriately to accommodate large volumes of water in the event of a flooding condition. Flexible corrugated pipe works well in many cases because it’s easy to work with and adapts easily to changing site conditions. However, the corrugations in the pipe make it susceptible to debris becoming lodged and thus restricting flow rates. Smooth interior pipe works the best but the cost differential sometimes doesn’t outweigh the performance of the pipe. When corrugated pipe is used it is best to have it inspected once a year to be sure that the pipe is structurally sound and free of obstructions.

We specialize in a variety of drainage solutions that most heavy site development companies just  won’t touch. Drainage problems in hard-to-reach areas like under decks, patios, planters, basement egress windows and garden areas make up the majority of our drainage calls. Any site development or earthwork contractor can install drywells, but installing the right amount of structures combined with accurate placement of catch basins and/or trench drains makes the right job. Intercepting the water at key locations before it poses a threat to your home, longevity of the design and the correct installation methods separate what our definition of drainage means from the rest of the industry.

If you have been experiencing poor plant health, soaking wet lawn areas and patches of turf that either die off or are overtaken by moss growth, these are just a few signs of poor drainage and un-healthy soil conditions. Some simple steps can be taken to correct most drainage issues that you as the homeowner can handle easily. Call to schedule an appointment for a complete review of your property so we can identify the problem areas and recommend the best solutions.