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How to get rid of standing water with dry wells

Excessive rainwater runoff or standing water near your house may leak into the basement. It must be carried a safe distance away. Call your local public works department about connecting the main downspout from your roof into a municipal storm sewer. If this is impossible, connect it to a dry well-a below-surface collecting basin that allows water to drain slowly into the soil.

You can construct a dry well using a 55-gallon oil drum or concrete blocks. Locate the well at least 20 feet from the house and, if possible, lower than the surface around the house. If you’re connecting the dry well to the house gutters, it should be accessible to the main downspout. Excavate a hole big enough to bury the dry well and deep enough for it to be covered by 18 inches of soil.

If you use an oil drum, cut off its ends with a hammer and cold chisel. Make an inlet opening on one side near the top and punch random holes in the sides for drainage. Position the drum in the hole with the inlet opening facing the house.

If you use concrete blocks, lay each block on its side in rows, forming a hollow square at least 3 feet by 3 feet. Create an inlet opening near the top by facing the opening of a concrete block toward the house.

Dig a trench from the downspout or the area you want drained. It should slope down 1/2 inch for each foot of its length. Install drainage pipe in the trench with one end emptying into the inlet opening.