Dry well doesn't drain very well, what to do?

My neighbor's property runs downhill to mine and I get some water running through the cracks in the stairs of my basement hatch. My father-in-law thought that the water running down that hill was pooling at the low spot in my backyard and thought a dry well would fix it. So we built a dry well about 7-8 feet from my house and connected my backyard gutter to it as well. He assumed that if we dug down about 3-4 feet we would hit sand that would absorb the water, well we didn't hit sand only clay, but he figured it would be fine anyway so we punched some holes in the sides of plastic bottomless lining and filled it over with dirt. I added a top drain to it to further drain the area. Well the problem is that whenever we get moderate to hard rain the well overflows rendering the back gutters useless (they overflow) and what's worse is that it hasn't alleviated the water coming through the cellar stair walls. It rained hard last night and it's about 14 hours later and the well is still pretty full. Should I just dig up the well and just connect a long gutter as I was doing before? Any ideas of what I can do to draw the water away from the cellar stairs? Would regrading the dirt around the house make a difference?
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Joe wrote:

Well clay is almost waterproof. I suspect that is part of your problem.
Did you put the drywell on the slope above your home or on the other side below your home? Putting it above would not help much.
Does the general slope of the land fall away from your bulkhead stairs on all sides for at least 10 feet?
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Joseph Meehan

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run drain line well away from home DOWNHILL.
you should of filled the tub and surrounding area with gravel, dirt just compacts and doesnt drain.
do you have a downhill space to drain too? the flexible black plastic drain line is cheap and asy to use so run 2 one for downspouts and a seperate one to a gravel bed in the problem area, just the gravel bed area should be perforated the balance solid pipe.
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run drain line well away from home DOWNHILL.
you should of filled the tub and surrounding area with gravel, dirt just compacts and doesnt drain.
do you have a downhill space to drain too? the flexible black plastic drain line is cheap and asy to use so run 2 one for downspouts and a seperate one to a gravel bed in the problem area, just the gravel bed area should be perforated the balance solid pipe.
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We put the well in what seemed to be the low ground at the bottom of the hill. The area around the cellar stairs is basically on the same plane, but yes I believe the problem is that the dirt around the back of the house is flat and does not slope away from the house. If I were to dig up some dirt from my backyard and build up the grade around the back of the house and cellar do you believe that would alleviate the problem? Also about the dry well - would it be better to just dig it up? It works fine in light rain but I'm worried about the whole well freezing up in the winter further hampering the draining process.
Joseph Meehan wrote:

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Dig what up? It's just dirt.
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Joe wrote:

I don't think something 7 or 8 feet away from the house in clay soil at the same level as the area you are trying to protect is going to help much. That said what will work depends greatly on local conditions. A good local contractor should be able to help you out.
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Old mother earth sometimes gets saturated with water and you will get water at your hatch even if it was all builders sand. It really is just a matter of when, not if.
So build your solution around your problem. Sounds like you need a sump pump.

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I'm no drainage expert, but I don't think you created a dry well at all. I think all you did was bury a piece of plastic in the ground. What about your hole makes it a dry well?
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tub bured should be filled with big rocks so it can accept and staore water temporarily
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tub bured should be filled with big rocks so it can accept and staore water temporarily
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