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Can a Soakaway be built in clay soil?



I am the maintainance supervisor at an apartment complex. We have had a water problem in the basement crawlspaces for some years. The owner has now agreed to fix the problem. My question is can a soakaway (drywell) be built successfully in clay soil? We had a landscape contractor come in and say yes if the soakaway is large enough. But we have also had a general contractor come in and say definitely no. We have had several other contractors come in but all with different ideas.

If you know of any websites that would be great too. Any help with this is appreciated.
We have installed a sump pump in the basement but we are trying to prevent the water from even entering the crawlspace.

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4 Responses to “Can a Soakaway be built in clay soil?”
  1. Christine Anthony Said:

    I dont think it will be successful in clay soil .I think a sump pump would be the best answer .
    pump it into the main drains.

  2. Diya Salmon Said:

    Clay soil will not let the water drain out fast enought for what you want to do. A dry well about tree foot deep and with a sump pump in it to pump water out will work just fine.
    Depth of well would be up to you but 3 or 4 foot should be enough.
    you can install some kind of grating over the well and pump. Works great.
    Just make sure you install the well in the low side of the floor where ever that may be.

  3. Donovan Sutcliffe Said:

    It depends of the soil structure. I have a lot of poor draining clay soils at my house too. When I installed my irrigation system, I put in drain sumps in my valve boxes to prevent them from sitting full of water and breeding mosquitos.

    Many times, like at my home, there is a quick draining soil layer beneath the heavy clay layer. In one part of my yard, I dug down 2.5 feet and hit a nice draining layer. In another part, I dug down 5 feet and it still doesn’t drain worth beans. Before having someone install anything, have a percolation test done. Dig a few test holes, add water, and see how long they take to drain. Chances are, there are some locations on the property that will provide adequate drainage for your needs.

  4. Carina Mcbride Said:

    OK. Picture this rectangle a cut-away view of the proposed site. You dig a hole, in clay, 6′ deep,by 12′ wide,by 36′ long. That’s a 72 yard hole in clay. As you’re aware, water doesn’t soak thru clay.If you can’t get thru the clay,either can the water.If you cant pump it off the property , that french drain won’t help.The water will evaporate faster if you don’t hide on a hole full of rocks.