We live in a pretty rainy country here in the UK. It’s not uncommon for our summer plans to be scuppered by total washouts and floods are something that river-adjacent towns and cities see as par for the course. In some cases, the constant threat of flooding is so debilitating for a facility, whether private or commercial, that further action is required to help with drainage. This is where soakaways come in very handy.
The team here at Borehole Solutions, one of the country’s leading geotechnical drilling companies, wanted to look in a little more detail about the humble soakaway, including what they are and when they’re needed.
What Are Soakaways?
In its simplest terms, they’re a buried form of drainage. A soakaway comprises some form of storage device, filled with rubble (usually flint or concrete). Excess water filters through this rubble but does so in a controlled manner to drastically mitigate the risk of surface runoff water escalating into flooding. Excess runoff water is usually directed into a soakaway via some form of guttering. They’re a cost-effective means of drainage that work in most situations. In recent times, installation companies have started using specially designed soakaway crates as opposed to rubble, and both work well. These drainage features also have the added benefit of replenishing the groundwater which aids ecological processes!
When Is A Soakaway Necessary?
These drainage features tend to most often be implemented in more rural areas where there are no storm drains and so flooding holds an increased threat. This isn’t to say they’re exclusive to rural areas, however, and soakaways are also often found in the gardens of suburban homes, especially if they’re lawns often become waterlogged or boggy. Another reason why they’re so widely used is because they’re an invisible feature once installed. Having one installed isn’t going to anger the neighbours or provide an eyesore for the community. There really are very few reasons not to have one installed if you live in a rain-prone environment.
Where Are Soakaways Commonly Used?
One of the most common places you’ll see soakaways being used is in sports pitches. Football grounds, for example, will almost always have numerous soakaways installed. Here at Borehole Solutions, we recently undertook an installation project at Stamford Bridge, home of Chelsea Football Club. The British climate simply doesn’t pass muster as an excuse for these elite clubs where the pitch condition is expected to be perfect at all times.
Back in domestic situations, there are a few key regulations surrounding soakaway installation that you should be aware of. You can’t, for example, install one within 5 metres of a building or road. Furthermore, if there’s any risk of contamination in the runoff polluting the groundwater, then a soakaway cannot be installed. In any seriously damp climate, soakaways provide an ideal anti-flooding solution. They’re incredibly low maintenance, and make for a much more well-managed space with regards to drainage.