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House soakaway - appreciate advice


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We are in the process of buying a house with a soakaway for surface water drainage. Surveyor has reported that the garden Is drenched, admittedly after heavy rain. This is the first time I've come across soakaways and would appreciate any advice - pros v cons. What to look out for. Hope you can help, ta.

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In my last property, when I was having a large extension built, the building Inspector insisted upon a soakaway. I pointed out that the ground contained a lot of clay and all of the other surface water drained into the main drain. However, the builders built a soakaway at the required distance from the building. Before they filled the large hole with stone chippings, they got the building Inspector to 'inspect' it. Using my garden hose he filled the hole with water, he then came into the house to inspect the building work. After around 30 minutes he went back outside to check the soakaway hole. The water lever was still the same, "Oh, that's no good, too much clay in the ground, you will have to go into the main drain".  No apologies, no compensation, I was just left to make good the wasted efforts of the failed soakaway.  May be worthwhile checking the ground where the soakaway is situated.

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18 minutes ago, garjo said:

We are in the process of buying a house with a soakaway for surface water drainage. Surveyor has reported that the garden Is drenched, admittedly after heavy rain. This is the first time I've come across soakaways and would appreciate any advice - pros v cons. What to look out for. Hope you can help, ta.

I have soakaway's and a cesspit so my water bill is halved. The soakaway effectiveness depends on the drainage capacity of the surrounding soil. If its part of a larger housing scheme its likely that a percolation test will have been carried out and the size of the soakaway calculated accordingly. My house is built on clay and I have three large soakaways built with rock gabions. They are just 8 years old and if we get extreme weather they will fill and the surface water run down to the lake. Ultimately they can get clogged and may need a re dig but that's likely to be after a very long time. 

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previously soakaways were filled with rubble and such like to soak up water and support the ground above, these days most bco's want to see crates used, these are strong enough to support the ground above (with a concrete cap) and as they are empty they can obviously catch a lot of water, so the speed at which it drains away is far less of an issue. average soak away uses 6 crates. worth checking the downpipes are not blocked/cracked and allowing the water to escape above ground too

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It’s standard practice now to divert all rainwater back into the ground rather than into the foul system and as discussed already a perculation test should have been done to calculate the soak away size.

I am a surveyor and also in herts, DM me your details if you want a second opinion help/advice....👍🏻

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I think if your ground can percolate it,. All surface water should go into the ground to maintain the water table.

My house I built I looked at soakaways for both surface and run off from a modern septic system. Ground is clay and full of land drains already so was a no go for me unfortunately.

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If it's 1950 ish house they would of just butted pipes together,these will be sorted up and could even be up the rainwater pipe.

1980 house was 1m x 1m hole filled with rubble and mixer wash ours so most likely solid.

You need to consider putting on new soak aways all round,saturated ground is not good sign,is there run off from road spilling into your purchase.

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