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Soakaways are often used in rural areas where the local water company has not provided a storm or foul drain. The rain water should be excluded from the sewage tank as this can cause severe problems during storms as it can lead to massive surges at the sewage tank, for this reason the only option is to construct or install a soakaway system.

A soakaway will be successful depending on the surrounding soil and ground suitability. In areas where clay or high water table are apparent it may not be successful for a soakaway to work. Ground tests (percolation tests) will be carried out initially to check suitability.

On some occasions a small pump chamber may be needed to pump the final effluent into the soakaway with non-return valve should there be limited options.

We can visit your premises and advise whether a soakaway system is an option to resolve any problems with discharge from the sewage system or advise if an alternative system would be more suitable.

We install and carry out our own work by our own qualified staff.


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Soakaways can work for many years but there comes a time when they can fail. This can be down to several reasons.

The sub-soil around a soak-away can seal due to grease, fat and fibres passing through the tank and this is why you should have dip pipes and a well-constructed filter system in place. Blockages can occur due to tree root ingress and impact damage to pipes. Traditional butted land drains often used in the construction of soakaways can silt up and block.

A sudden change in a property’s occupancy can overload the soakaway; a large family moving into a property previously occupied by an elderly couple can have a dramatic effect on the volume of water used. Also the ground can become saturated due to prolonged and heavy rainfall or a shift in a ground water table can also overload the system.

In most cases we can extend existing systems using modern materials, given the correct ground type and a big enough area to work in. On occasions it may be necessary to install a pump chamber on the outlet of a septic tank in order to lift the wastewater into a more suitable area or to utilise any good quality topsoil that may be covering clay based sub-soil.

On other occasions where the ground is just not suitable for a traditional soakaway, or the final product finds its way through to a water course, then the tank may need to be upgraded by installation of a treatment plant system.


There are the obvious signs like having a lake of sewage appear at the bottom of the garden or the septic tank overflowing, if the septic tank requires emptying more frequently than usual or if water enters the tank from the outlet during the emptying process. This usually indicates that something isn’t right with the soakaway system.


It is worth having the outlet high-pressure water jetted on the off chance that a simple blockage has occurred in the soakaway system. Typically we would carry out a sonar trace from the tank or from an excavation on the outlet of the tank and again excavate at the point that the sonar trace finished.

This will give you an idea of the extent and construction of the original system and the ground type you are working in. From this point a decision can be made as to whether to extend the existing soak-system or advise a suitable alternative.


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Bristol: 01454 222 888
Weston super Mare: 01934 419 599
Email: info@andersonswaste.co.uk

Contact Us

Andersons Waste Management Ltd
Unit 6, Hydro Estate, Off St Andrews Road, Avonmouth, Bristol, BS11 9HS 

Bristol office: 01454 222 888

Weston: 01934 419 599

Out of hours tel: 01454 222888

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