I finished building my drywell last weekend with the help of my neighbor – the one with the earth moving equipment. Two weeks earlier my oldest son (21) dug the 2′ deep by 17′ long trench for the drainage pipe. The trench took him about eight hours to dig, with a fair number of texting breaks mixed in. In all fairness to him though, the ground is pretty rocky around here, and it’s also kind of hard to dig while on your hands and knees under the cabin. The drywell pit, on the other hand, only took my neighbor about 10 minutes to dig with his excavator. I can’t even imagine trying to dig a hole that large by hand in this soil.
The drywell is strictly for disposal of the greywater generated in the kitchen and bathroom. Since there’s no toilet in the cabin, I don’t have to worry about any blackwater disposal. The drywell itself is fairly simple, and I got the plans for it in the eHow article Make Your Own Gray Water Dry Well 55-Gallon Drum. The entire drywell cost less than $150, which included all the materials and my neighbors time and equipment.
Wanting to do the right thing, I had originally contacted a local septic company last year to ask if they installed drywells for greywater. They told me they couldn’t install a greywater system and that I would need to have a septic system. It just so happens that septic systems around here are usually mound systems that run anywhere from 10-15K. When I gagged at the price they said they could install a holding tank instead for 7. When I asked if they meant $700, they corrected me and said $7,000. For 7K I’d keep using a bucket under my sink for a long time.
Here’s some more pics of the drywell construction.