Foul Water Drainage 


Soakaways are very important for all septic tanks and sewage treatment plants. The reason behind this, is to allow the effluent water to percolate to the ground. When doing so this helps remove the pathogens from the water and treat the effluent water further.

The use of crates and land drains are not allowed under the Building regulations appendix H. You also cannot use “pit” style soakaways either, but sometimes under extreme conditions and one that is designed, will building control allow these.

Boreholes cannot not be used without permission from the Environment Agency (EA), although there are many websites that say you cannot use them. The EA may grant the use of one, but there are many tests that must be carried out and information obtained.


Where a drainage field cannot be used because of high ground water or bad percolation, the use of a drainage mound should be used.

Drainage mounds like drainage fields, need to designed to the BS 6297:2007 +A1 2008. This is the current standard and should always be adopted regardless.

If you ever request a contractor to carry out such works, wait until they mention the regulations to you, not the other way around. This will show their competence in what they do.

Some examples of bad practice are:

  • I will install a pump in your septic tank and pump it over there to a hole in the ground

  • I will pump it to a long soakaway along the them trees or that hedge

  • I will just put a pipe in the ground to the that ditch

  • I will just dig a long trench and put a bit of pipe and some stones around it


These are all incorrect and you should keep away from them!! Bad workmanship will cost you later in time and most will fail within the year of just after.

Invest in a company that know what they are doing, Invest in full designs. We have been doing this over 13 years and design systems for many client to suit the ground conditions and site location. 

Nothing is free and if it is free, is it correct? 

SUDS (Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems)

Surface water, is part of Off Mains Drainage. There isn't many cases where surface waters can be discharged to the main foul or surface network. The normal requirement is that you must dispose of the surface waters on your property.

This can be done in a few ways, One - being a designed and constructed Soakaway, Two - to a rain Water Harvester, Well, Borehole or Pond.

SUDS (Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems) is a very important part of everyday construction projects.

Increasing urbanisation has caused problems with increased flash flooding after sudden rain. As areas of vegetation are replaced by impermeable concrete, tarmac or roofed areas the area loses its ability to absorb rainwater.

This rain is instead directed into surface water drainage systems, often overloading them and causing floods.

The idea behind SUDS is to try to replicate natural systems that use cost effective solutions with low environmental impact to drain away dirty and surface water run-off through collection, storage, and cleaning before allowing it to be released slowly back into the environment, such as into water courses. This is to counter the effects of conventional drainage systems that often allow for flooding, pollution of the environment – with the resultant harm to wildlife – and contamination of groundwater sources used to provide drinking water.

You can obtain permission, Via a consent to discharge to surface waters, this would be in a Ditch, River, the Sea, just to mention a few.

Either way, there is a process to the Design and Installation of these. There are factors to making sure where you discharge to, can cope, the levels are correct or can be achieved. Planning may require you to provide detail plans to deal with rain water and surface water before they pass your planning application.

Some designs require means of pumping to help transport the water from one point to another or to the discharge point. If a pump station is required, then there is the design factor, how big will the pump station need to be, how much water should it pump, the pump size, the location, service requirements. They are all important factors.

While designing is One phase of the work, you then have the compliance of Building Regulations, without this you run the risk of being asked to remove the work you have carried out at your cost.

We can come to site, and discuss your requirement, design the system, submit the plans to Building Control and the Environment Agency. If you decided to discharge to a ditch, river or coastal point, there will be other items to file, ditches can be owned by the inland drainage Board (IDB) or someone else. These all require their permission and this will need to be taken care of.

We will supply to you the design, a break down of the materials and equipment, (Bill of Quantities) and the authorities you may you need to contact. This is all a chargeable service, but you will be able to submit these to experienced contractors to obtain quotes.

We can also offer Project Management to oversee the work.

For Rain Water Harvesting and SUDS please visit:  


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Operating throughout England and Wales

Head Office 01773 76712
Cambridge Office: 01223 850701

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