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October 10th, 2019 in Plumbing Tips

Differences Between Catch Basins and Dry Wells


When you think about your home’s plumbing, what you do picture? Toilets, showers, sinks, dishwashers, other indoor fixtures? What about the plumbing outside the house? For many homes, a drainage system is an important component of the overall plumbing system.

Landscape Drainage With a Catch Basin

Two common approaches to residential drainage are catch basins and dry wells. They have some aspects in common but they also operate in very different ways.

What catch basins and dry wells have in common

First, let’s cover the commonalities between the two drainage systems. Both catch basins and dry wells are designed to move water away from your property. This can prevent the water from seeping into your foundation, flooding your basement, and causing damage. Diverting the water properly can also solve areas of your lawn that are constantly soggy. There are also some common elements in the way the systems are built. Both can feature pipes, grates, and some type of water storage areas.

What makes a catch basin different?

In general, a catch basin will be placed underground at a low point of your property. At ground level is a grate that allows the water to pass through but blocks leaves and other large pieces of runoff debris. The water flows down the inlet into a concrete or plastic storage tank. From there, the water can be pumped into a municipal system or released into a nearby water source or area to evaporate.

Over time, debris can accumulate in the basin which can cause a clog or foul odor coming up from the grate. The solution to this is periodically cleaning out sediment from the basin.  

What makes a dry well different?

A dry will is intended to move various types of water from roofs, gutters, paved surfaces, septic tanks, and indoor plumbing fixtures. The dry well is a hole dug into the ground and then reinforced with hard materials such as stone, bricks, or concrete. The hole is typically six to eight feet deep and four to ten feet wide.

Water can enter the dry well from a grate or pipe coming from another part of the property. As the water collects in the well, it slowly seeps into the surrounding soil, which naturally filters the water. Dry wells can be used to supplement a septic system or fix flooding on a lawn. The downsides to dry wells are that they can get backed up by leaves and other run-off debris. They can also get overwhelmed during a heavy storm or if your property has a high water table.

Does your home need a drainage system?

If you have a sloped yard or often find standing water in your lawn (especially if it’s near the foundation), having a catch basin or dry well installed could significantly improve the drainage of your property.

Which one is right for you? While catch basins and dry wells are similar in some respects, they also function in different ways and are suitable for different purposes. So it’s best to speak with a drainage professional to determine the best system for your needs.

At Rick’s Plumbing, we’re here to handle all your plumbing needs, from large to small. To speak with one of our licensed plumbers, call 203-516-4505 today.



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