Installing soakaways, do this first
The first thing that you will need to think about when undertaking any DIY plumbing soakaways construction or sewage work are the regulations issued by your Local Authority.
You will have to present detailed plans for the proposed drainage work when you are changing existing sewage system or installing a new sewage system, and also need regular inspections to be undertaken to ensure that the plans are following the local building regulations during progressing each phase of the work. However you do not require authority approval for replacement of failed joints or cracked plumbing and drains pipes. This may be the case with soakaways, depending on the scope of the development.
If you hear the term ‘surface water’ in any sewage documents this basically means rain. In older properties this can discharged into a foul water sewage system whereas in other properties this can discharged into soakaways, a watercourse or a surface water sewer. The rainwater pipes in combined drainage systems empty their discharge into the foul water drains through gully traps, this prevent foul air from escaping outside creating odours. However with the new sewage systems, the foul and the surface water can be kept apart. The soakaways are not connected to the sewers. It is extremely important to ensure that you do not connect foul water to a surface water sewage system. When in doubt about the how the modern sewage system works, consult the Building Control Department.
Before you begin, you will need to plan the route of the waste pipes and siting of any soakaways. The route should be as short and straight as possible, this will help to reduce future maintenance problems and costs. Also, make sure none of the pipes are laid at too steep an angle. A surveyor’ site level should be used to work out the fall of a drainpipe. A hosepipe filled with water from an established datum point can be used if you don’t have a surveyor’s site level.
When installing your drain trench, you will need to make sure that you do not impair the stability of the building. If you are laying a drainage run parallel to the home, you must ensure that any foundations are not undermined.
When fitting in a new drainage system, you should not dig the ditch too long before placing the pipe as the ditch could collapse. Make sure that you get the pipes laid as quickly as possible and then back fill the trench as soon as the system has been inspected and tested.
The trench may need to be supported depending on the depth and soil conditions. Do not take any risks. If in doubt add support to the trench to prevent it from collapsing. The trench should be narrow, but spacious enough for people to work with any required tools. The bottom of the trench must be smooth and clean, free of any objects that make it uneven such as stones or bricks. If the existing soil is too weak or clayey, you should place and compact a layer of firmer soil at the base of the ditch to prevent later sinking.
Pipework must be uniformly supported by the soil bed, and not by stones or bricks haphazardly placed underneath the pipes. This should not be used as support for the short or the long run because it will damage the pipe, the pipe needs to be fully supported over its full length. The base should be tightly packed in the appropriate manner with holes carved out to fit in the protruding pipe connections. The entire drain pipe system has to be uniformly supported by the soil bedding.
An important criteria for pipe layout is that you should be able to access any point with a drain rod to clear blockages through the drains or where connected to the soakaways. This need for drain rod access can be easily achieved by keeping the pipeline straight and in short sections. An inspection chamber should be present at places where the pipework changes its direction, this is important so that it remains accessible to drain rods and they do not need to go around corners.
Following this guide you can see that work on soakaways, DIY plumbing and drainage can be delivered by conscientious DIY enthusiasts.