7 Steps to Create a Soakaway

A soakaway is a hole dug into the ground which is used to return rain water back to the earth. The hole in the ground is filled with soakaway crates, shingle and crush. Soakaways are often a requirement for rural properties where a centralised stormwater runoff solution is not available. The pictures below show the process for creating a soakaway for a new house on a rural plot of land.

Step 1: We used a 360 Excavator to dig out a trench. All the soil that was removed was loaded into a dumper and moved to another part of the site. The site for the soakaway must be at least 5 metres away from any building (BS 8301). The hole will be slightly larger than the volume of all the soakaway crates, this allows for backfill and sidefill.

Step 2: A layer of shingle was added to the bottom of the trench. A membrane layer was added. Then the soakaway crates were added to the trench. The crates clip together to create a large unit which will eventually fill with water. To size up how many soakaway crates will be needed consider 1 cubic metre of soakaway crates will drain a roof area of approximately 50 square metres of roof area and this will hold 1000 litres of drain water.

Step 3: The crates were then wrapped with a membrane layer which allows rainwater to pass through but prevents soil particles or other material from entering the soakaway. Every face of the soakaway is wrapped in the membrane, bottom, sides and top.

On the right hand side, see the drain pipe which will run from the house and feed the soakaway.

Step 4: A lorry delivers crush which was used to cover the soakaway crates.

Step 5: The 360 excavator was used to distribute the crush on top of the soakaway.

Step 6: The 360 excavator dug out a trench back to the house site and the drain pipe was laid. Note that the soakaway and drain pipes must be in a spot lower than the area being drained.

Step 7: The 360 excavator levelled the crush and then top soil was used to complete the soakaway.

This completes our process for creating a soakaway for a house on a rural plot of land.

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