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A guide to Soakaway Blockages and how to repair them.

We offer a FREE quotation for any Septic Soakaway Installation in the UK.  In addition, we can also arrange an engineer to visit and asses your current system. Get in touch to arrange or just to talk through your problems. We are happy to help, call us on 0800 3101092 or via our contact form


How to repair & fix Soakaway blockages

 Get in contact with us on 0800 3101092  or via our Contact Page

Can you clear, fix or repair a blocked Soakaway drain?

As with all of these types of questions, the answer depends on the cause of the problem. To try and help we will classify the problems into soft and hard blockages. However, before we get into the more difficult bits check the Soakaway filter. Should the Soakaway filter looks blocked great, get a hose and rinse it out. If you are not sure where the filter is give the installer a call. If you don’t have a filter then well that probably explains why you are having problems! 

Soft Blockage: Intermittently blocked Soakaway drain

If you have a soft blockage this is normally caused by an item being flushed that should not have been. These types of blockages are easily cleared with a high-pressured water jet. All of our engineer’s vehicles have a Jetta which is capable of clearing. A soft blockage is caused by foreign material blocking the system’s piping. You can normally see this type of blockage with it most likely to occur in the soakaway filter or at the exit from your tank.

If you’re not sure what type of blockage you are dealing with then give us a call for a free inspection. To do this properly we require your tank to be emptied in advance. We can arrange this if you require although obviously this element will not be free and we will have to recharge you, this is normally c.£150. Our team of field engineers regularly undertake inspections of troublesome septic tanks and soakaways, with no problem.

Jetting a Soakaway drain

If we are unsure upon inspection we will offer to try to rectify this with high-pressure water jets. This forces water into the pipework and backwashing it to drag out the silt and leaves so that it is potentially left clear and running.  However, there are no guarantees that this method works and, in our experience, there is about a 50% success rate in getting a soakaway back to its original condition after a few hours of jetting.  

Hard Blockage & Blocked Soakaway Insurance

If the Soakaway is permanently blocked, it will need replacing. This isn’t always as straightforward as it sounds, as a new Soakaway can’t be positioned in the same place as the previous one. Please have a look at our Soakaway Installation page. In some situations, our expert team may be able to help get the costs of replacing or repairing your system covered by your insurer. Simply all Soakaways eventually fail, don’t panic it just happens, we can go through all of the options with you. It is also likely that the regulations have changed since the Soakaway was originally installed. This may require the new soakaway to be in a significantly different position. Check our Soakaway regulation page.

How to repair a failed or blocked drain field

This video shows one way to fix a certain type of blockage

Tree Roots in Drain: Tree Roots Blocking or Damaging Soakaway

Tree root damage to a soakaway is another common issue and potential cause of a blockage. Root damage causes blockages or leaks by stopping the flow of the waste liquid. Once tree roots have penetrated through pipework then the Soakaway’s performance will be compromised. The Root will need to be removed and the damaged sections replaced. In most cases, you can avoid a full failure and the need for a replacement.

How to remove tree roots from drains UK

Cutting back the roots and replacing the damaged sections of the system is a short-term fix. Essentially find the affected area cut away the roots and assess the damage. Try to remove as much of the root as possible to help assess the damage and to aid in repair. Dig a few meters away from the ingress and saw through the root then remove all material up to the system.

Unless you remove the offending tree the roots will grow back. Unfortunately, the trees, especially fruit trees are attracted to nutrient-rich waste.

Soakaway blocked due to a faulty Septic Tank

If you have a hard blockage if may be caused by a fault in your Septic Tank other than a temporary blockage. If there is damage to your septic tank’s dip pipe or baffle then solid waste may be flowing straight into the Soakaway. This will cause the Soakaway to become blocked and fail. You will also be discharging untreated waste directly, which likely causes a bad odor.

Is there a Chemical to treat a blocked Soakaway?

If you are using a Septic Tank or Sewerage Treatment plant we would advise you to avoid using chemicals. Many traditional chemical solutions are likely to damage the workings of the tank. Simply the risk in terms of cost to repair is not worth it.

Soakaway problems in clay soil

Soakaways struggle in clay soil. Septic Soakaways rarely work a sewerage treatment plant is really the only viable solution. If you are having problems with soakaway drainage in your clay soils please give us a call. We have years of experience but will need to test the soil and understand the topography to offer a solution that will work. In honesty, the likely cause of the problem is a cowboy firm installing a solution that is not fit for purpose.

What is the cost of repairing or renewing a failed Soakaway?

It depends on several factors mainly what the cause of the failure is. We offer a free inspection and will give you a quote for the work. There are no strings attached, if you feel we are too expensive then you can walk away without paying a thing.

What is the cost of replacing a Soakaway?

The size of a soakaway depends on the volume of liquid you are likely to put through it and the type of soil you have. Building regulations specify the size of the tank you will need based on occupancy. We will test how quickly your soil drains using a percolation test. Once we have both of these details we will be able to determine the size of the drain field or soakaway needed.  

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