DrainChecker Blog

Soakaway Q&A

What is a soakaway?

A large hole dug into the ground which allows rainwater from roof gutters, conservatories, driveways, patios, and gardens to be diverted into an area where it can be absorbed into the ground. Soakaways are designed to house excess rainwater temporarily during heavy rainfall and without one you may experience flash flooding.


How deep should it be?

Regulations don’t put a depth minimum or maximum on a soakaway but the amount of water the soakaway can hold and the speed of which the water can soak into the ground are the main factors. Putting a soakaway at the lowest point of your garden will make this easier as the excess water can naturally run down to it.


How far from the property should it be?

A soakaway must be at least five metres from the wall of a building and at least two and a half metres from a boundary. These are the regulations in the UK right now in 2022. These regulations are there to prevent any subsidence as well as to limit excess rainwater on your property effecting your neighbours.


What materials should be used?

Gone are the days when filling a soakaway with rubble was your only option. Nowadays many builders will use plastic crates. These crates are wrapped in a felt membrane and creates a much larger capacity than using rubble. It also allows excess space for water to flow through meaning there is less chances of blockages from roots or soil.


How much does a soakaway cost to fit & build?

As with most thing, the cost of building will depend on several factors; the builder, where you by your materials, the location of your soakaway, the depth, the amount of materials needed and of course, the cost of completely the whole project such as replacing patio slabs or relaying a driveway after the soakaway has been built. A soakaway can cost between the region of £800 and £1,500 depending on the factors stated above. This can be a lot more if your soakaway is more complex.


Can you divert rainwater into a sewer as well as wastewater?

As a rule, rainwater and foul/wastewater and should be kept separate with foul water being sent away via pipework to your local water treatment/sewage plant and surface rainwater being diverted to a soakaway or a watercourse. You can contact your local water company and ask them about their policies for rainwater to find out more.