What Does Soak Wells Mean In Drainage?
What Does Soak Wells Mean In Drainage?
A soakwell is an underground structure which allows rainwater to drain away. It typically consists of concrete, polypropylene, PVC or plastic and may be found with or without concrete pavers or lids which resist pressure from above.
Soakwells are typically 500mm to 300mm below ground with the bottom edges varying in depth between 500mm to 2.4m.
Soakwells are essential even in excellent drainage areas as heavy rains often cause flooding and can damage property if not properly managed. They are connected to a roof drainage system and allow water to run off into the surrounding soil.
It is important to check your soakwells every couple of years to ensure they are working properly and have not accumulated any volumes of sand, dirt, or debris.
Soak Wells Design
A soakwell is an underground tank which allows water to seep away without causing damage to surrounding areas. Soakwells are typically made of concrete, polypropylene, PVC or plastic and may be found with or without concrete pavers or lids which resist pressure from above.
Design considerations for soak wells include soil type and stability, topography, separation to groundwater, setback distances from buildings and other structures, and the size of the soakwell. Additional storage can be provided by depressing the verge and using a grated lid on the soakwell.
Rain Bird Soak Well is designed to be lightweight and still withstand ground pressure. Drainage slots are designed into a strong beehive shape to provide maximum water flow to the surrounding soil.
Soakwells can also be used in road systems with precast concrete soakwells with concrete lids. Liners wrapped in geotextile are installed in free-draining sand with perforations in side walls of the soak well. Creative designs for soak well pools have been created using plunge pools, pool designs, tank pools, native vegetation, piped conveyance systems sized for 1 in 5 year storms and more.
Can You Build Over Soakwells?
It is not recommended to build or concrete over a soakwell, as it would make it inaccessible for future maintenance. This is because if the soakwell becomes blocked or needs to be serviced, it will be difficult to access.
It is also important to consider the location of the soakwell when building, as it should not be placed in a future pool location. If a soakwell has already been installed and the house has been handed over, polypropylene soakwells may be more viable due to their configurability.
It is important to manage rainwater on your property effectively, as failure to do so can lead to erosion of house stumps and building subsidence, subsidence of footings and concrete pads, and rising damp to walls and footings and flooring. Therefore, it is best not to build over a soakwell.
Can You Put A Soakwell Under A Driveway?
Yes, it is possible to install a soakwell under a driveway. However, it is recommended that if installed under concrete or pavers, the soakwell should be installed with a trafficable lid to ensure it can be accessed in the future.
This is because according to stormwater management guidelines, soakwells installed within a concrete or paved area are to be accessible.
Additionally, compaction of the soil around and above the soakwells should be done after installation to ensure proper drainage.
How Deep Should A Soakwell Be?
When installing a soakwell, depth is an important consideration. A minimum depth of 300mm from the top of the soakwell to the ground should be achieved for optimal performance, with 500mm being the preferred depth.
Depending on the size and type of soakwell chosen, the bottom edge of the soakwell may vary from 800mm to 2.4m deep.
Careful consideration should be taken when choosing and placing a soakwell to ensure it performs efficiently and effectively.
How Long Do Soakwells Last?
Soakwells are designed to last for many years, however regular maintenance is important to ensure they continue operating effectively.
Checking every couple of years to make sure the walls haven’t collapsed and that there isn’t an accumulation of sand, dirt or debris which can reduce capacity is recommended in order to ensure optimum performance.
If any build-up is found then it should be removed with careful digging. With proper care and maintenance, soakwells can last for a very long time.