Methods of Constructing a Soaking Device

Important Takeaways:

  • Before installing a soakaway, a percolation test should be performed to determine whether a soakaway will be an effective solution.
  • A soakaway must be located at least 5 meters from the property.
  • When digging a soakaway hole, account for 150mm of shingle on all sides.
  • Soakaway should not be installed near any power lines, gas or water mains.

A soak away drainage system collects surface water from nearby rainfall and re-distributes it back into the ground at a rate that does not flood the nearby soil - if your property has flooding or standing water issues, it can be a great solution. Back in the day, these were simply a hole dug in the ground and filled with waste and rubble, but now we have products like soakaway crates that vastly improve the system's efficiency and lifespan.

Here, we'll go over how to build and install your soakaway system in a few simple steps, explaining the equipment you'll need and providing some helpful hints along the way.

Choose the Best Location

You must choose the best location for your soakaway in order for it to be as effective as possible. It should be at least 5 meters away from your property or a retaining wall, and even further away if the chosen site slopes down toward your property (otherwise the foundations may be damaged). There should be no underground services such as gas and water mains pipes, drainage pipes, communications cables, or electrical cable ducts in the area. If you are unsure, contact your local authority planning officer for site plans and building regulations to avoid disasters.

You should also conduct a soil percolation test to determine whether the soil on your property is suitable for a soakaway drainage system. Some soils, such as heavy clay soils, are unsuitable for this type of drainage. A blog post on how to conduct a percolation test can be found here.

Locate the Location

You'll need to dig a hole based on the size of your soakaway crates, which will vary depending on the number and type of crates you have (they come in various shapes and sizes). ), taking into account the base, back fill, and side fill that will be required. The layers of shingle you'll need to place all around the crate are about 15cm (150mm or 6 inches), so keep that in mind when digging out the pit. So, for one of our best-selling products, the Geocell 1m3 Soakaway Crate Kit, you'd need to dig a hole 1530mm long, 970mm wide, and 1600mm deep. This allows for 44 crates, 150mm pea shingle (10/20mm) on the top and bottom sides, and 400mm of cover over the top.

Although you can excavate the site by hand if you prefer, a mini digger is much more efficient. They are simple to use and will save you a lot of time and effort, not to mention that they are usually inexpensive to hire.

Include a Pre-Filter

While installing a pre-filter isn't completely necessary, it is recommended. It will extend the life of your soakaway and aid in its efficiency. A silt trap, for example, is installed before and slightly above your soakaway crate as well as after the drainage pipe, trapping dirt particles and other waste from the rainwater that flows into it before entering the crate chamber.

All you have to do to keep your silt trap in good working order is to remove and clean out the removable bucket inside every two or three months. This will keep debris from entering your soakaway system and clogging or damaging it, potentially necessitating the replacement of the entire system later on.

Make the Base

After digging the proper size hole, remove any stones, roots, and rubble from the base and smooth out the pit's bottom as much as possible. Then, for the crates to rest on, add a layer of leveled and compacted 20mm pea shingle about 150mm thick.

Set up Your Crates

Before inserting the crates into the hole, line it with geotextile membrane. Dirt and silt will enter the system and clog it if the membrane is not completely wrapped around the crates and the inlet pipe, reducing the amount of water storage space inside.

The crates can then be lowered into the hole and the non-woven geotextile membrane wrapped around them again, making sure to cover the pipe entry point and every outward face. Some crates include clips for connecting the crates; otherwise, you can secure the crates with cable ties until the side fill is applied, which will further stabilize it.

Join the Pipes

Your entry points will vary depending on the manufacturer of your crates; some will have knock outs or cut outs, while others will not have an entry point at all, meaning the pipe is butted up to the crate's wall or ran across the top of the crates. When only one pipe is used, the other crates should be turned so that the pipe entry areas face the soakaway, preventing the membrane from sagging into them.

Hold the pipe up to the entry point, draw a circle around it, and mark the center. The membrane can then be cut across and folded back, allowing you to push the pipe in by about 150mm. After inserting the pipe, wrap the excess membrane around it to ensure a tight fit.

Fill in the Soakaway

Your crates will be supported by the 150mm layer of pea shingle that you can now add around the existing structure as side fill. Aside from improving water flow out of the crates, the side fill will protect the structure's integrity against any movement or ground disturbance.

Once the side fill is in place, add another 150mm layer of pea shingle on top of the crates, followed by a 400mm layer of soil (always check manufacturer's guidelines as each crate will be different) for a garden soakaway system. If the soakaway is in a driveway, parking lot, or road, you may want to increase this.

Advice on Soakaway Installation

Installing soakaways is simple, but it's always a good idea to make sure you know exactly what you're doing and what you'll need for the job. We're here to help if you need more information about building your entire soak away or just want to know what kind of material you should use for backfilling. Simply contact us by phone or email (whichever option is most convenient for you), and we will assist you with all of your drainage needs.

Soak Away Products for Sale:

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