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I installed a drywell for my greywater system, basically I dug a 4 ft hole with a plastic drywell shell from Home Depot placed in it and buried. I check the levels all the time and the water drains about an inch a day. The well is placed about 20 ft from 3 trees in the front yard. A liquid amber, a giant pine tree and a street tree of which I  dont know the  species.

My question is, does the standing water, replenished by daily showers, pose a risk to the trees? The ground is pretty much clay… Im afraid of root rot, or the water becoming stale or poisonous… I only use Dr Bronner’s soap.

When I dug down, I dug  where I didnt run into roots, though I did find some directly adjacent to the hole and exposed to the hole.

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Hi,

That shouldn’t be a problem for your trees. The area under your dry well will be saturated but the trees have a lot of space in other parts of the yard to have dry roots. Over irrigating near the trunk, or over a large portion of the root zone, can be a problem though.

The water in your dry well will probably get stinky and anaerobic, but so long as no one contacts it it shouldn’t harm anything.

If you are interested in using the greywater for irrigation then a different sort of system would be required.  Greywater systems are designed to prevent ponding water and spread it out over a larger area so there is no stagnant, stinky water.

  • Also, remember that greywater should only be discharged into the landscape is there is enough separation from groundwater, so be sure your dry well isn’t putting the water too deep or too close to the water table (typically a 2-3 foot separation is required.).
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