Outside Digging – Drains and a Dry Well

It seems I can’t walk outside without grabbing a shovel and digging a hole. I’m sure there’s some medical (or psychological) condition causing this malady. But if I’m going to have the yard graded and seeded, we better dig all the holes we need now.

1 downspout capsLet’s start with these strange creatures. The old sewer system in this neighborhood combined the storm sewers with the sanitary sewer system. The gutter downspouts drained into this system. It’s now illegal to do this because it causes all the rainwater dumped in the sanitary sewer to be processed at the sewage treatment plant. If there is a large rainstorm, the sewage can actually overflow and be dumped into the nearby Ohio river – definitely not a good thing. These are Fernco caps I made up to cap the sewer tile. If you go here you can see a simpler version. I had to make these up because I couldn’t find a cap to fit the clay tile pipe locally.

2 tile tie in Of course I had to dig up around the old tile drains and cut them off – there were two pipes with gutter downspouts tied to the main house sewer line.

3 tile cut offThe clay tile is cut off with a 4″ diamond blade on an angle grinder.

4 tile cap in placeThe caps are slipped over the tile and the stainless steel band is tightened. I should have done this years ago. In the summer when the sewer lines dry out, the sewer gas will come up through these pipes and it stinks like…well, you know what I mean. These are buried with dirt and you’re done.

5 sump pump exterior drainThe other problem is the sump pump discharge pipe came out of the ground close to the back door. It’s the little white pipe laying on the ground. I also wanted to run the gutter for the door side of the mudroom away from the concrete – to avoid an ice skating rink in the winter.

6 drywell layoutSo the solution was a dry well piped out into the middle of the yard. I’ve already been busy with my shovel digging a trench and pit.

7 sump pump tie inAt the sump pump outlet I started the layout of tying the outlet into the gutter drain. I’ll have to wait for the gutters to be installed to find the exact location of the downspout. I used 4″ PVC sewer drain pipe joined with a 3″ PVC adapter to a 1 1/2″ X 3″ Wye.

8 drywellI used a Flo-Well Dry well. Here it’s wrapped with landscape fabric to keep dirt out of the holes in the side of the well.

9 drywell setThe white pipe on the top is to allow for a pop up drain. If the 49 gallon well fills up, the pop up valve will let the water out of the top. I haven’t installed this part – I’m using the pipe just to locate the well for the excavators when the yard is graded.

10 drywell center drainThe well sits in a 6′ deep pit that has a 2′ gravel bed. The bottom of the well is open, which allows the water to drain into the soil. This is good, because I was able to save the original water well and we will have well water to water the gardens.

11 sump pump tie inThe gutters were installed and this allows me to locate the exact location of the downspout.Here everything is tied together. A flexible Fernco connector connects the sump pump pipe through the foundation to the dry well drain. The downspout will be attached to the drain. A debris strainer will be added in the downspout to collect anything that might clog the drains.

Today it’s raining like crazy, so we’ll finish this up – along with concrete air conditioner pads when the weather breaks.

Stay dry.


11 thoughts on “Outside Digging – Drains and a Dry Well

  1. The info you have here is ultimately what I think we’re going to need. We used to have a basement water problem which a swale has alleviated. When we get to grading and seeding some of our downspout water will have to be rerouted underground. At that time I’ll refer to your well-documented plan. Jo @ Let’s Face the Music

  2. Oh my gosh, digging outside is no fun for me, unless I’m putting a plant in. My poor husband had to dig out a waste water line 3 weeks after we bought our last house. Not fun. We are in desperate need of a french drain in the back. We’ll get to it eventually! 😉

    • Hi Kristen – sorry I missed your comment. I know what you mean – but if It has to be done, might as well make it fun! Well, I’m easily entertained. Happy 2016!

  3. I have so much to say that I don’t know where to start. I love your blog!!! It’s so nice to know that I’m not the only one that finds sump pumps interesting enough to take pictures of and post them online. We found a rod covered in petrified poop when our sewer line was checked. Imagine my shock at the low number of page views that blog post received. Huh.

    • Hi Whitney! I found your blog through my reader topics – so I thought I’d follow along. Oak Park holds a special place for me. I celebrated my wedding night at the Harvey House and on my first day as a married man I spent it at a Toomey Art auction. I started my blog just to keep track of everything – I didn’t know I would still be working on the house – and not moved in – six years later. I hope to finally call it home in 2016. And yes I post just about everything – but some are painfully boring. Thanks for following along – I’ll be watching what goes on in your renovation.

      • Thanks Curt! Our goal for The Ashland House is to move in early 2016. Although, it seems you’ve had a head start. 😉 I really enjoyed looking at the pictures you shared of the tile in your master bathroom. I’m finding the tile selection for our home to be a bit daunting. I’ll figure something out, right?

      • Sure you will, Whitney! The thing is, there’s always more than one design that works – I have many projects completed that if I did them today I would select something slightly different. But we’ll see how it looks in the end. Time will tell.

  4. Pingback: More tedious things to look at | Adventures in Remodeling

    • Thanks, Rachel! – That’s nice to hear from pros like you. It has worked well so far through some pretty large rainstorms.

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