Effective Soakaway Systems: A Guide to Flood Prevention and Water Management

Understanding Soakaways

A soakaway is an efficient drainage solution designed to manage rainwater and prevent flooding. Typically, it involves a large underground pit filled with rubble or specially designed soakaway crates that allow water to percolate back into the ground. Here’s an in-depth look at what a soakaway system entails:


Composition: Soakaways can be constructed using a pit filled with gravel or by installing soakaway crates. These crates are modular units that can be stacked to create a structure that facilitates efficient water dispersal.

Function: The primary function of a soakaway is to collect rainwater from surfaces like roofs, driveways, and other impermeable areas, and allow it to slowly seep into the soil.

Location: Soakaways are typically located at least 5 metres away from buildings to prevent structural damage and are placed in areas with good drainage properties.


Benefits of Soakaway Systems

Choosing a soakaway system provides several advantages, particularly for flood prevention and rainwater management:


Flood Prevention: By collecting and dispersing rainwater, soakaways help to prevent surface water flooding during heavy rainfall.

Sustainable Water Management: Soakaways contribute to sustainable urban drainage systems (SUDS) by promoting the natural infiltration of rainwater.

Reduced Strain on Sewers: These systems reduce the load on public sewer systems, mitigating the risk of overflow and waterlogging.

Cost-Effective: Installing a soakaway can be more economical than other drainage solutions, as it reduces the need for extensive pipe networks and complex installations.


Installing a Soakaway System

Proper installation of a soakaway is crucial for its effectiveness. Follow these steps to install a soakaway drain system:


Site Selection and Planning:

  • Choose a location at least 5 metres away from buildings and boundaries.
  • Conduct a percolation test to ensure the soil can absorb water efficiently.


  • Dig a pit to the required size, typically at least 1 cubic metre for a standard household soakaway.
  • The size will depend on the expected volume of water and soil permeability.

Base Preparation:

  • Lay a layer of coarse gravel at the bottom of the pit to aid water dispersion.

Installation of Soakaway Crates:

  • Assemble and place the soakaway crates in the pit, ensuring they are level and stable.
  • Connect the crates to the drainage pipes that channel water from your gutters or other sources.

Wrapping the Crates:

  • Wrap the crates with a geotextile membrane to prevent soil and debris from clogging the system.


  • Backfill the pit with excavated soil, ensuring there are no voids that could cause subsidence.
  • Cover the top of the crates with a layer of soil or gravel, depending on your landscaping requirements.


Maintaining Your Soakaway System

Regular maintenance ensures the longevity and efficiency of your soakaway drain system. Here’s how to keep it in optimal condition:


Inspection: Check the inlet pipes and surrounding areas for blockages or signs of damage, especially after heavy rainfall.

Debris Removal: Clear any debris from gutters and inlet pipes to prevent clogging.

Soakaway Crates: Ensure that soakaway crates remain intact and undamaged. If you notice any issues, such as reduced drainage efficiency, investigate and rectify promptly.

Surface Management: Keep the area above the soakaway clear of heavy loads and construction to avoid compaction and ensure effective drainage.

Professional Check-Ups: Periodically have a professional inspect your soakaway system to identify and resolve potential issues early.


By following these steps and maintaining your soakaway system, you can ensure effective flood prevention, efficient rainwater collection, and sustainable water management for years to come.


10 Ways to Prevent Flooding

Flooding can cause significant damage to properties and disrupt daily life. Implementing effective strategies to prevent flooding is crucial. Here are ten practical tips to help you safeguard your property from flooding:


Install Soakaway Systems: Soakaways are an effective way to manage excess rainwater by allowing it to percolate back into the ground. Use soakaway crates to improve the efficiency of your drainage system.

Regular Gutter Maintenance: Clean gutters and downpipes regularly to prevent blockages that can cause water to overflow and accumulate around your property.

Utilise Water Butts: Collect rainwater from your roof in water butts for later use. This not only reduces runoff but also provides a source of water for gardening.

Create Proper Drainage Slopes: Ensure that the ground around your home slopes away from the foundation to direct water away and prevent pooling near the structure.

Install Flood Barriers: Consider installing flood barriers or gates around doors and other entry points to prevent water from entering your property during heavy rains.

Check and Maintain Drains and Sumps: Regularly inspect and maintain drainage systems and sump pumps to ensure they are functioning correctly and can handle high water volumes.

Use Permeable Paving: opt for permeable materials for driveways and walkways. These materials allow water to soak through, reducing surface runoff.

Plant Water-Absorbing Vegetation: Incorporate plants and landscaping that absorb water efficiently. Trees, shrubs, and ground cover can help reduce runoff and improve soil absorption.

Install French Drains: French drains are trench systems filled with gravel and a perforated pipe that redirect water away from areas prone to flooding.

Regular Roof Inspections: Inspect your roof regularly for any damage or missing shingles that could allow water to seep through. Promptly repair any issues to maintain a watertight barrier.


By implementing these tips, you can significantly reduce the risk of flooding and protect your property from water damage. Regular maintenance and proactive measures are key to effective flood prevention.


Choose Your Soakaway System with Drainage Supplies Direct

Drainage Supplies Direct is an expert retailer of flood prevention systems. Our expert team can advise on the best option to suit your needs, ensuring your soakaway project is a success. We have a range of soakaway products available to suit a huge variety of needs.


Are you looking for a high-quality soakaway system? Email us at sales@drainagesuppliesdirect.co.uk, call us at 01752 466151, or order online 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We’ll be able to help you purchase your soakaway today.