Installing a domestic soakaway –
The steps involved:
- Test the area for it’s porosity
- Decide on the soakaway size
- Choose your soakaway medium, crates or stone
- Line your trench/hole with membrane and install the soakaway
- Backfill and compact the area
- Enjoy having a nice functioning soakaway and dry ground.
Firstly dig a hole somewhere discreet but near the area you are going to install the soakaway. A 0.5 x 0.5m and 1 – 1.5m deep hole will suffice. This is called a percolation test, it is designed to make sure your ground is porous. We find it best not to over complicate things at this stage and do a few simple things:
- Fill the hole with water
- Monitor every hour or so and make a note of the speed with which the water soaks away.
The slower the water takes to displace the bigger a soakaway you need. Our general rule of thumb is 1 soakaway crate (200 litres) per 10m roof or 20m of ground run off that will enter the system. E.g. – a 50m2 driveway would want 3 soakaway crates or 600l capacity.
If you wake up the next day and your hole is still draining consider upping the capacity, if you wake up the next day and the water is still there you have a problem! If the water is not draining at all (clay ground for example) a soakaway is not a viable solution and you need to look more into a tank that will collect the water and pump it somewhere else. That though is a whole other subject matter that our friends over at RainCatcher.co.uk can happily assist you with.
Once you have completed the above and decided that a soakaway will work and have an idea of the size needed you want to make the biggest decision – to use a storm crate or fill the hole with brick/stone. Benefits of stone – you might have it lying around & it’s arguably ‘cheaper’. Benefits of a crate – it’s almost completely void so you dig a 1m cube hole you will actually get 1m cube (1000 litres) or storage, unlike stone which only gives you 20-30% void. You need a hole 70-80% smaller with crates. Also the crates give a nice easy to wrap finish. We do not sell the crates ourselves so have no real reason to push them bar the above obvious benefits. You can get crates form our friends over at EcoTradeCounter.co.uk
Next is the bit we do sell which is the cut to size non-woven fleece to wrap the crates or stone. You need this, it’s not an optional step. The fleece will allow the water to enter and leave (soakaway) your system and most importantly not allow silt and debris to clog and contaminate your soakaway system.
Now we are pretty much done. You have tested the area, sized the system, dug the hole, lined your hole with membrane, installed your chosen soakaway and wrapped in the membrane. All that is left to do is backfill around the system and compact the ground above. Job done.