Soakwells are underground tanks that are designed to contain stormwater or rain from the roof of a building. Pipes channel the water into the underground tank. That water later seeps slowly into the surrounding soil through openings on the side of the tank. However, some factors can affect the effective functioning of soakwells. This article discusses some of those issues that may have a negative effect on your soakwell.
One of the problems that can affect the effectiveness of a soakwell is its limited capacity when compared to the needs it is currently serving. For instance, the soakwell may have been designed to handle the water from a smaller roof. That soakwell may be inadequate to handle the larger volume of water that comes from an expanded roof. Similarly, the soakwell may be overwhelmed if you pave the yard so that water cannot filter through the soil beneath. That extra water will overfill the underground tank to the extent that the nearby section of the foundation may be damaged.
The soakwell may also be compromised in case heavy traffic moves above it. For instance, heavy construction equipment, such as heavy-duty excavators, may cause the soil around the soakwell to become compact. It will then become very difficult for the rainwater in the soakwell to seep into that compacted soil. The restricted water may start overflowing from the top of the tank. This can disturb the stability of the soil upon which your home was constructed.
A tree may spread its roots far beyond where you may have anticipated. Many of those roots may grow towards the soakwell because the roots will have detected a steady source of water in that direction. Such roots can be problematic in several ways. First, they may block the openings designed to let water out of the underground tank. Secondly, the roots may break the soil and create a channel/trench along their length. Consequently, water from the soakwell may end up flowing along the channel created by the large roots. This large volume of water may disturb the stability of the surrounding soil by making it soggy.
As you can see, you need to be vigilant so that you prevent the soakwell of your home from being compromised by anything that is done on your property. Ask an expert to assess the condition of the soakwell and its surroundings in case you suspect that some recent activity on the property may have had a negative effect on the integrity of the soakwell.