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The Importance of Soakaways: A Complete Guide

Are you aware of the crucial role that soakaways play in managing surface water runoff? Soakaways are an essential component of any drainage system, helping to prevent flooding and water damage to properties. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the significance of soakaways, their benefits, and why they are vital for effective water management. Whether you are a homeowner, a business owner, or a property developer, understanding soakaways is key to maintaining a dry and protected environment.

  1. What is a Soakaway?

A soakaway, also known as an infiltration system or a soak pit, is an underground structure designed to collect and disperse rainwater and surface runoff. It consists of a chamber or a series of chambers filled with permeable materials such as gravel or crushed stone. These materials allow water to infiltrate the surrounding soil, promoting natural drainage and preventing waterlogging.

  1. The Importance of Soakaways:

2.1. Prevents Flooding: Soakaways are crucial in preventing flooding by collecting and absorbing excess water during heavy rainfalls. They act as a buffer, reducing the risk of water accumulation on the surface and alleviating pressure on drainage systems.

2.2. Protects Foundations: By effectively managing surface water, soakaways protect the structural integrity of buildings and foundations. When water accumulates around the foundation, it can lead to soil erosion and weaken the structure over time. Soakaways divert water away from the foundation, minimizing the risk of damage.

2.3. Environmental Benefits: Soakaways promote sustainable water management by allowing rainwater to naturally infiltrate the soil. This helps replenish groundwater levels, reduce the strain on sewer systems, and minimize the risk of water pollution by filtering out pollutants and contaminants.

  1. Soakaway Design Considerations:

3.1. Permeable Materials: The choice of permeable materials for the soakaway chamber is critical to ensure efficient water infiltration. Gravel or crushed stone with varying particle sizes are commonly used, providing adequate void spaces for water storage.

3.2. Sizing and Capacity: The size and capacity of the soakaway depend on factors such as the surface area generating runoff, soil conditions, and local rainfall intensity. Proper sizing ensures that the soakaway can effectively handle the volume of water it receives.

3.3. Location and Positioning: The location of the soakaway should be carefully determined to maximize its effectiveness. Factors such as proximity to buildings, underground utilities, and the slope of the land should be considered during the installation process.

  1. Maintenance and Regulation:

4.1. Regular Inspection: Soakaways should be inspected regularly to ensure they are functioning optimally. This includes checking for any blockages, sediment buildup, or signs of damage that may hinder water infiltration.

4.2. Local Regulations: It’s important to comply with local regulations and obtain necessary permits before installing a soakaway system. Local authorities may have specific guidelines regarding sizing, positioning, and maintenance requirements.


Soakaways are an integral part of a well-designed drainage system, providing effective management of surface water runoff and preventing flooding. Their ability to protect foundations, promote sustainable water management, and minimize water damage makes them essential for any property. By understanding the importance of soakaways and following proper design considerations and maintenance practices, you can ensure the longevity and effectiveness of your drainage system, keeping your property safe and dry for years to come.