When To Use a Drainage Pit

Sometimes a drainage pit is the only solution for water issues on your property. It might be the only logical place to divert water if the land can't be pitched for proper drainage.  What is it exactly and how and when is it used?

Reasons to Consider a Drainage Pit

Water can often be directed to acceptable areas of your property, such as an area in the rear. However, it must drain from a higher area to a lower area.

Here are some situations where other grading or drainage options are not possible.

  • Your property is very flat.

  • Land at your property borders is higher than the land near your house.
  • Land is graded towards your house.

There are other situations too, but these are the most common.

What Does it Look Like

This structure is a large container where water can be led to. It is installed underground and it has holes in it so that the water can seep out back into the land.

If you can imagine a very large drum with holes in it...this is what it would resemble. It must be sized based on the amount of water that it will hold and they can be quite large.

I considered having one installed on my own property and the recommended size was 8 feet in diameter by 8 feet deep.  

If it is too small the surrounding land will become saturated with the water that percolates out of the pit. It also absolutely must be located far enough from the house so as not to cause any water issues there.


How Does it Work?

  • The land is usually graded towards the drainage pit and enters through the top. This can be done by simple grading towards the pit.
  • You might also create swales leading to it.
  • Water can also be diverted into pipes which enter it also.
  • You can even lead the leaders from your roof gutters into it.

Before installing this type of drainage system, there is something you might consider doing.

Have the soil in the area surrounding the pit tested for percolation. If the soil is clay, for example, water will not be able to seep into the ground through the holes in the pit.

I would also recommend having the structure sized by an engineer so you are sure everything will work properly.

Related Pages

Lawn Drainage

Perforated Pipe

Trench Drains

Driveway Drainage

Rain Gardens

Slope Plantings and Drainage

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