I've got a plugged-up fifty-year-old drywell that is a ceramic or
concrete box with an iron inspection opening (about a foot in
diameter). I can feel muck under five feet or so of water (no rocks
Am I most likely correct to think that all the water is supposed
to go out the bottom of this box, and not through holes in the
sides? The surrounding earth is hard-packed clay with lots of rocks,
as far as I can tell. It's not damp at all.
I'm trying to think of how to make or buy a low-budget tool that
will pick up that muck through the inspection hole. A ten-foot pole
with a scoop on the end? Is there a standard and cheap way to do
this (without a big truck pumping it out)?
How about the best (cheap) way to bail out the water? A pail on a
How much help would it be to have the thing pumped? They aren't
going to get all that muck with a regular pumping, right?
I never tried this, but there is such a thing as a pump that you can rent
that might help clean out your dry well. I think it is called a rock and
muck pump or a trash pump. They are usually 3" or 4" in diameter and are
used to suck out water that has debris in it. Maybe it's called a debris
pump. I don't remember the exact name for them. I know that the Home Depot
near me rents them.
These aren't generally made with watertight sides. In fact, the sides
are not sealed so that water can get out anyway it chooses.
The surrounding earth is hard-packed clay with lots of rocks,
I think there are several factors to consider before you go down that
path. First is what are you going to do with the muck? As I recall,
this "drywell" served kitchen sinks, etc. Most locations have some
pretty strict codes concerning this. If you think you're gonna put
it in a corner of your property, what happens if someone smells it and
calls the local code officials?
Beyond that, I'm not sure how much muck you'd have to remove to make it
functional. My guess is that contaminants seep pretty deep into the
soil, plugging it. If it were me, I think I would either go for a pro
pumping and see if that lasts for awhile, or else do a correct
replacement, which of course means permits and following code.
I thought that it was runoff from your roof gutters when I suggested renting
a pump. Stuff from the sink could be quite nasty. I suggest like another
poster did, to get it professionally pumped out and hauled away.
Don't do it. The lint from the washer and foodstuffs from the kitchen
sink should really go to a proper septic system than can handle it by
letting it settle out in a septic tank that is pumped out at proper
intervals. A simple drywell lacks this.
So the same stuff won't settle in the drywell? A drywell is nothing
more than a small cesspool, which many old home used for years, had
pumped out, etc. I'm not saying it's better than a septic system
with leach field, but as far as stuff settling out, they function the
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