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  • Writer's pictureKristina Carroll

Draining Away Excess Water: Everything You Need to Know About Dry Wells

Updated: Jul 3, 2023

Dry well systems are underground structures designed to collect and disperse excess water into the surrounding soil. They are commonly used as drainage solutions to manage stormwater runoff and prevent water accumulation in areas prone to flooding.

dry well system

Purpose of a Dry Well:

Dry wells serve as a means to effectively manage water runoff by providing a storage area for excess water to infiltrate into the soil gradually. They help prevent soil erosion, reduce the risk of standing water, and alleviate the strain on conventional drainage systems.


A typical dry well consists of a large excavated hole or pit filled with layers of gravel or aggregate, which act as a storage and infiltration bed for water. The well is often lined with geotextile fabric to prevent soil particles from clogging the aggregate.


During heavy rain or periods of excessive water runoff, the dry well collects the water through a series of inlets or surface drains. The water then slowly infiltrates into the surrounding soil, replenishing groundwater levels and reducing surface water accumulation.

Installation process:

The installation of a dry well system generally involves the following steps:

  • Site assessment: Evaluate the area where water needs to be managed and determine the appropriate location for the dry well, considering factors like soil type, depth to the water table, and proximity to existing structures.

  • Excavation: Dig a hole or pit of sufficient size to accommodate the required volume of water storage. The size and depth of the well depend on the anticipated water runoff and local regulations.

  • Infiltration bed: Fill the excavated area with layers of clean gravel or aggregate. These layers provide storage capacity and allow water to slowly infiltrate into the soil. The aggregate is typically wrapped in geotextile fabric to prevent soil intrusion.

  • Connection and diversion: Connect surface drains, downspouts, or other drainage systems to direct water into the dry well. This can involve the use of pipes, catch basins, or other inlet structures.

  • Backfill and surface restoration: Once the dry well is in place, backfill the excavated area, level the surface, and restore the landscape to its original condition.


Proper maintenance is essential to ensure the effectiveness and longevity of a dry well system. Regular inspections should be conducted to check for debris accumulation, sediment buildup, or any signs of clogging. If necessary, the dry well may need to be cleaned or flushed to maintain optimal functionality.

pvc drain pipe installation

It's important to consult with local authorities or drainage professionals to ensure compliance with regulations and obtain necessary permits before installing a dry well system. Additionally, consider seeking expert advice to assess your specific drainage needs and determine the most suitable design for your property.

Mountain Drainage Solutions is a local, family owned and operated, small business serving our neighbors here in Asheville, NC and surrounding areas.

Our experts will be able to provide you with a free on-site consultation to help you determine what drainage solution is best for your needs and the needs of your home.

Contact us today for a free estimate!


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