Dry well cleaning


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Old 05-26-18, 01:13 PM
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Dry well cleaning

I wasn't entirely sure which forum this should go in.

My house has a drain in the below grade cellar entrance (the kind where you go down a few steps and there's a door). As far as I can tell, it's not plumbed anywhere. It doesn't daylight, and it doesn't seem to connect to house plumbing. It appears to be a dry well, with pipe straight down, and gravel inside it.

It's also full of gross, smelly muck on top of and between the gravel. (Probably made worse by cleaning some of the scum off of the steps, which then ran down in there). I tried to just scoop the muck off the top and get to clean gravel, but that didn't happen.

Is there some sort of magical juice I can pour in there that'll clear it up? Or am I going to have to somehow dig out all the gravel and scum and add clean gravel in?
 
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Old 05-26-18, 01:51 PM
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That setup is very common with basement entrances like that. It's basically a shallow dry well. It can only hold a limited amount of water based on the ground seepage.

In order to keep it operating properly it's best to replace the rock. Otherwise flushing the muck down can clog the rock and then nothing will drain. Usually a post hole digger makes a good tool to get the old rock out.
 
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Old 05-27-18, 12:14 PM
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Thanks! Good to know this is normal. Unfortunately, it's only about a 3" drain opening. The well beneath is wider, but a post hole digger won't fit in.

I did get through the layer of pure scum and get to the mucky gravel with a long scraping tool, but removing the gravel will be a different challenge. I wonder if I might be able to suck it out with a shop vac.
 
 

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