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CostHelper > Home and Garden  > Driveways, Pools & Outdoor Living > Dry Well

Dry Well Cost

How Much Does a Dry Well Cost?

low costDo-It-Yourself: $5-$50average costPrefabricated Plastic Dry Well: $90-$350+high costConcrete Dry Well: $300-$5,000+
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Sometimes called a soakaway or seepage pit, a dry well is an underground structure that captures storm runoff from roof tops and surrounding areas, and allows it to recharge the underground water supply. Dry wells can be installed on properties with drainage problems, especially flat lots that are lower than the surrounding area, where rain water needs to be diverted way from the house's foundation. They may also be installed simply to conserve water as part of a rain harvesting system.

With the right soil conditions, a dry well might be part of a septic system. A dry well can be a simple hole filled with gravel, a perforated container or one or more large vertical concrete rings/pipes with perforated sides. The size and type of dry well chosen depends on the amount of water present.

Typical costs:

  • A do-it-yourself dry well to process rain water can be created for $5-$50, depending on the size and materials used.[1] explains how to create a small dry well using a posthole digger, a 4"-6" fabric pipe sleeve and pea gravel.[2] explains how to create a slightly larger dry well using a plastic garbage can (adding holes to the sides and bottom), landscape fabric, stones and gravel. Having a handyman, gardener or day laborer create this type of simple dry well might cost $50-$250 or more, depending on how long it takes, the materials used and local rates. Multiple small dry wells might be installed in a large, soggy yard.
  • A prefabricated plastic dry well can cost $90-$350 or more, depending on size and materials. The Flo-Well FWAS24 Manufactured Dry Well[3] is 24" in diameter and 28.75" high, hold 49 gallons and costs $90-$190, but can cost $280 or more with the addition of a surface drain and grate, cover, bottom panel, filter fabric and other options.[4] charges $169 for a kit with a 24"x29" dry well, a vent grate and 24 square feet of filter fabric; a surface drain or a bottom panel adds $35 each. These plastic dry wells typically are relatively small and intended for do-it-yourselfers; installation by a handyman, gardener or day laborer might cost $100-$300 or more.
  • Having a concrete dry well installed can cost $300-$5,000 or more depending on size, design and location; the Lake George Park Commission[5] in New York estimates the average cost for installing a dry well at $900-$1,400, while the city of Portland, OR[6] , estimates the average cost at $1,200-$1,500. Costs can be higher than average if there's an extensive drainage problem and a landscaper or other professional needs to design the best dry well/drainage solution. For example, Oregon landscaper M.D. Vaden[7] charges a minimum of $100 for a drainage consultation.
Related articles: Septic System, Perc Testing, French Drain, Downspout Extension

What should be included:
  • Dry wells work best in soils that drain well and in areas with low water tables. Professional installation of a large concrete dry well requires about two hours of backhoe time and about four hours of unskilled labor, although it may take longer if the soil is hard to dig or access is difficult, according to[8] . Kalamazoo County in Michigan illustrates the installation of a concrete dry well[9] to process liquid effluent from a septic system.
  • Check the local zoning codes before installing a dry well. Many areas regulate how close a dry well can be located to a building foundation, cesspool, property lines or private drinking well. Drywells are prohibited in some locations, especially those with high water tables.
Additional costs:
  • A percolation test should always be done before installing a dry well, to make sure the soil can absorb the water fast enough. This can be free for a simple do-it-yourself perc test, or $100-$1,000 depending on site conditions, size and number of test holes/pits needed.
  • Professionally installed French drains to direct water into the dry well can cost an average of $25 a foot.
Shopping for a dry well:
  • Materials for a do-it-yourself dry well are available from home improvement and hardware stores. Some local hardware stores carry prefabricated plastic dry wells, as do online retailers like Amazon[10] .
  • Concrete dry wells are commonly available from construction supply companies; or search for local landscape designers at the Association of Professional Landscape Designers[11] .
  • Ask for and check references; search for complaints with the Better Business Bureau[12] ; and verify that the company is properly insured, bonded and licensed.
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