With the right knowledge, you can save time and money by identifying early signs of soakaway problems

Are you experiencing septic tank soakaway problems? If you suspect that your soakaway system is not performing properly, contact the experts at Proseptic!

Incorrect Installation of a Septic Tank Soakaway

A soakaway is an area of land which acts as a filter for the water flowing out of the septic tank or sewage treatment system, it can contain pipework with perforations which allows the waste water to soak into the surrounding ground or just a hole with bricks etc.. The soil particles in the soakaway area filter and treat any remaining waste in the water draining from the septic tank.

Soakaway problems have a range of causes, many of which can be hard to diagnose without thorough investigation, training and knowledge. The three main causes of soakaway problems are;

Incorrect Installation of a Septic Tank Soakaway

The main issue we see at Proseptic is incorrect installation of the soakaway system. This can include installation which has not been laid deep enough under the ground, or a percolation test has not been carried out correctly meaning that waste water is not being filtered through the correct soil type or too short a length of drainage trench.

Soakaways need to be installed in the right type of ground conditions, and this includes making sure that the sodium levels in the soils are optimal and the ground shows some kind of absorption. This is not an issue which many property owners can diagnose themselves, but it can have disastrous effects. Waste water which is not properly filtered can cause contamination in surrounding land and waterways – which will land property owners in trouble with the Environment Agency.

If you suspect that your soakaway has been installed incorrectly, or if you have already been contacted by the Environment agency, contact us immediately for advice and solutions.


The ground surrounding the soakaway system can become over saturated for a variety of reasons including;

  • Damage to the septic tank causing an excess of contaminated water to escape into the soakaway.
  • Soakaway becomes blocked by the failure of the septic tank to restrict solids
  • Damaged or cracked pipe allowing too much water to soak into the soil.
  • Excess groundwater or flooding in the area.
  • Tree root infestation

An oversaturated soakaway

This will stop effectively processing waste water as there simply isn’t enough space for more water to enter the system. This can cause further damage to the septic tank and pipes as the pressure and build-up of water may become heavier than the system is designed to hold.

Damage –  Septic tanks and soakaway pipes can become damaged over time. There are a variety of possible reasons for sudden damage or cracking to the soakaway pipes and septic tank, including;

  • Repeated pressure from vehicles, such as tractors, driving over the soakaway area.
  • Plant life growing in the area and putting pressure on the pipe or septic tank walls – the main culprit for this is tree roots, which are far stronger than the plastic used for sewage treatment system components.
  • Properties which may have been unoccupied for some time may see a build-up of sludge in the septic tank and pipes due to a lack of maintenance.

Soakaway Replacements and Property Insurance

Many soakaway problems, repairs and replacements will be covered by your property insurance. At Proseptic, we offer a full liaison service, whereby we communicate with insurance companies and offer full details of our findings, work and the solutions necessary to take the stress out of claiming soakaway issues through property insurance.