Soakaway Problems

Does your property have soakaway problems? 

Is your soakaway drain blocked?

Firstly, it is important to note that a soakaway for rain water is different to a soakaway system designed to carry wastewater.  Rain water soakaways normally consist of a chamber made of bricks, concrete or crates, and are unsuitable for use in wastewater systems.  This page deals with soakaway problems relating to waste water only.

A wastewater soakaway is the section of a drainage system that follows from a septic tank or sewage treatment plant. The purpose of a soakaway is to allow the liquid waste that has left the tank to percolate through the soils surrounding the pipework.  The soakaway pipework is often perforated or slotted to enable this to happen.  The process of the liquid waste percolating through the particles in the soil provides a form of treatment of the waste, and it is then safely dispersed into the surrounding sub soils.

Soakaway systems vary in size, which depends on three key things:

  1. the size of the property
  2. the volume of waste the system is designed to process
  3. the porosity of the surrounding soil (this is measured by undertaking a percolation test)

So, what causes soakaway problems?

There are a number of different things that can cause soakaway problems.  Of course, the first problem is that your soakaway is tucked away below ground, so more often than not you won’t be able to see exactly what’s happening.  Here’s an idea of some of the common things that can cause your soakaway to stop soaking away:

  • A high water table – we know that a table made of water wouldn’t be much use, but in this instance, a `water table’ means the level below which the ground is saturated by water.  You can’t see it, and you certainly can’t rest your cup of tea on it, but it can cause you problems with your soakaway system.  This is because if the ground is saturated, there isn’t anywhere for the waste water to go.  Usually it filters through the tiny gaps in the subsoil particles, but if those gaps are already full of water then this process doesn’t work.  What this means is that the waste water goes straight into the ground water without having been properly treated first.  This can cause a pollution which could contaminate local land or watercourses such as streams. You might even find you get contacted by the Environment Agency and they would want the problem sorted out as soon as possible. If you’ve received a letter from the Environment Agency and need urgent advice, call our team today on 0800 028 9903.

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