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Lodian Cecil Reese wants to explore home-grown groundwater effort

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Posted: Wednesday, December 2, 2009 12:00 am

At Cecil Reese's home near Ham Lane and Turner Road, he was clearly on a mission as he paced around his yard and showcased his downspouts, each one an opportunity for rainwater collection.

Normally, the water just finds its way into a massive puddle in the yard or meanders toward the sewer, where it eventually reaches the ocean. But Reese, with his humble upbringing, has big plans for the pipes. He wants to connect them to a dry well, a deep hole designed to move surface water underground with help from drainage pipes — possibly helping recharge the area's parched groundwater basins.

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Welcome to the discussion.


  • posted at 3:06 pm on Wed, Dec 2, 2009.


    I have lived in my current home in Lodi for 20 years. I installed a dry well in my backyard when I relandscaped it almost 17 years ago. I couldn't come up with a better way to drain the downspout water without going all the way to the street or creating a muddy mess during the winter. The dry well has worked out perfectly for me. It is a circular hole about 4-5 ft deep and 4 feet wide. Once I broke through the hardpan about 2 feet below the ground it was beautiful, soft sand. I placed weed barrier cloth around the edges; filled it up with small river rock, connected the drainge pipe to the well and then covered the top with more weed barrier. I have never had the drainage system back up on me even during the worst downpours. My only regret is that I didn't make more space between the top of the well and the grass. It is the first area on my lawn to show water stress. This article just confirmed that I did the right thing 17 years ago!

  • posted at 2:17 pm on Wed, Dec 2, 2009.


    in austin texas people can buy discounted plastic cistens from the city to catch roof run off and reuse on their gardens and whatever.

  • posted at 10:03 am on Wed, Dec 2, 2009.


    JBD it is evident that you have the space to install 80' of pipe and the proper soil to allow water to percolate into the ground. For city dwellers it is more or less out of the question. If you live in an area where adobie clay is evident, forget it. There are also areas that have hard pan only a foot or two deep and therefore defeet the purpose. If this is to work, it has to be done on a much larger scale, as mentioned in my first post.

  • posted at 7:57 am on Wed, Dec 2, 2009.


    Of course exact soil characteristics matter so your mileage may vary, but in my part of Sacramento the water percolates very effectively using the installed perforated pipes. Other details...I have a total of about 80 horizontal feet of 4" perferrated pipe in trenches, with a fabric wrap to keep the sand out, and clean-out access (in case roto-rooting is ever needed). The grating at the top of the outlet tee is removable so I can remove accumulated sediments from the vertical "sump". I've only collected a cup of sediments (mostly leaf/seed matter from our trees and some roof grit) in two years. Water in the pipes fully percolates within a few hours of a rain event (mosquitos need about 72 hrs of standing water to breed...according to the State regulations).Details matter but the idea has merit and does work in my situation. Not trying to capture all the water, and not going too deep saves costs, eases maintenance and helps protect the groundwater by allowing natural soil treatment of most measureable contaminants.

  • posted at 5:52 am on Wed, Dec 2, 2009.


    A waste of time. You cannnot put a 2'' pipe 4' in the ground and hope to accomplish anything. In order to be effective, you would need a 10'' hole drilled 50'-60' in the ground, a casing must be left in place to keep the rock from filling with native earth. I lived in Modesto, in the section I lived in there were no storm drains and relied on these dry well to remove the water, at times the well couldn`t keep up with the rain and everyone had water half way up their drive ways. Sooner or later the perferrated pipes will fill with sand and small roots, just like a septic system and will render it useless. Trust me I know. All you get is water that will not leach into the ground and a prefect place for mosquito`s to breed due to standing water.

  • posted at 3:42 am on Wed, Dec 2, 2009.


    Great Idea .... I actually did this kind of system when I remodeled in Sacramento. My downspouts are connected to perferrated pipes which are laid in sand filled trenches. Near the street there is a tee that goes down to a vertical stick of perfed pipe and up to a drain outlet (to the street). It doesn't capture all the water but it takes a really big sustained rain for any overflow to make it to the street. This cost almost nothing more than a standard drain system. As to concerns the rain water may contaminate groundwater...a) even if some air (or roof) pollutants are dissolved they are minute compared to contaminants in any non-treated water source(ie rivers, irrigation canals)near Lodi, also if the rainwater is applied above the actual groundwater level the soil serves as a very effective filter and treatment system (ie, like a septic tank leach field).



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