• In this video, This Old House landscape contractor Roger Cook shares a permanent way to collect and disperse sump-pump water.

    1. Insert the end of the sump pump's discharge hose into a 10-foot length of 1½-inch-diameter PVC pipe. The pipe will temporarily carry sump-pump water away from the worksite.
    2. Set the drywell tank in position on the lawn and then use line-marking spray paint to paint a straight line extending from the discharge hose at the house out to the drywell.
    3. Paint a circle onto the ground around the outside of the drywell. Mark the line about 12 inches away from the drywell. Move the drywell out of the way.
    4. Use a pointed shovel to dig a trench along the paint line leading from the house to the drywell. Make the trench about 8 inches deep and the width of the shovel's blade.
    5. Lay a plastic tarp on the ground beside the drywell location. Dig around the circular paint line and shovel the soil onto the tarp. Continuing digging until you've formed a hole that's 4 feet deep and 2 feet larger in diameter than the drywell.
    6. Fill the bottom of the drywell hole with 8 to 10 inches of crushed stone.
    7. Line the hole bottom and sides with sheets of landscape fabric.
    8. Set a length of 1½-inch-diameter Schedule 40 PVC pipe into the trench. If necessary, join lengths of pipe with couplings. Glue together each joint with PVC primer and cement.
    9. Use an electric drill and 1½-inch diameter hole saw to cut a hole through the drywell tank. Position the hole about 2 inches down from the upper rim of the drywell.
    10. Set the drywell tank into the hole with its top cover in place. Shovel crushed stone into the hole all around the drywell.
    11. Take the end of the PVC pipe that's in the trench and push it through the 1½-inch-diameter hole cut earlier in the side of the drywell. Be sure the pipe extends at least 6 inches into the tank.
    12. At the opposite end of the trench, glue onto the PVC pipe a 90 elbow and a short vertical length of pipe. 13. Backfill the trench with soil
    14. Slip a rubber hose connector over the end of the vertical length PVC pipe. Secure the connector with a stainless-steel hose clamp.
    15. Feed the sump pump's discharge hose into the rubber connector and secure it with a hose clamp.
    16. Wrap the excess landscape fabric over the top of the drywell.
    17. Install a pop-up release valve to the top of the drywell.
    18. Backfill the drywell with soil, making sure you don't cover the pop-up valve.
    19. Rake the soil smooth and plant grass seed.
    • Difficulty: Moderate
      Requires a lot of digging
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      Tools List

      • pointed shovel
        Pointed shovel
      • wheelbarrow
      • utility knife
        Utility knife
      • pvc saw
        PVC pipe saw
      • drill
        Drill/driver fitted with 1½-inch diameter hole saw
      • multi-bit screwdriver
      • metal garden rake
        Leaf and garden rakes

      Shopping List

      1½-inch-diameter Schedule 40 PVC pipe

      PVC elbow and couplings

      Line-marking spray paint

      Plastic drywell tank and cover

      Crushed stone

      Plastic tarp

      Landscape fabric

      PVC primer and cement

      Rubber pipe connector and two stainless-steel hose clamps

      Pop-up release valve

      Grass seed