Are Septic Tank Soakaway Crates Legal?

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If you’re a homeowner who relies on a septic system for wastewater management, you might be wondering “Are Septic Tank Soakaway Crates Legal?” Soakways are usually plastic “crates” that create an empty space in the ground. They allow water to enter and then slowly percolate into the ground. In this article, we’ll explore the legality of Septic Tank Soakaway Crates.

Understanding Soakaway Crates

Soakaway crates are a popular solution for managing stormwater runoff, as they allow water to percolate into the ground. However, it’s important to note that soakaway crates are not the same as drain fields, which are also known as leach fields.

The Difference Between Soakaway Crates and Drain Fields

The key difference between soakaway crates and drain fields is their purpose. Soakaway crates are designed to manage rainwater or stormwater runoff, while drain fields are used for effluent treatment. Drain fields remove pathogens and contaminants from effluent as it seeps into the ground, which is not the case with soakaway crates.

The Legality Of Septic Tank Soakaway Crates

Are septic tank soakaway crates legal? No, soakaway crates are generally not legal for managing septic tank effluent. They lack filtration and biological treatment capabilities, posing a risk of contaminating groundwater.

Are Septic Tank Soakaway Crates Legal: FAQs

When it comes to installing a soakaway, the need for permission depends on various factors, such as local regulations and the specific location of your property. In some areas, you may require planning permission or a permit from the local authorities. It is advisable to consult with your local municipality or relevant governing bodies to determine the specific requirements and obtain any necessary permissions before proceeding with the installation of a soakaway system.

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An alternative to a soakaway is connecting to the municipal sewer system. By connecting your property’s drainage to the public sewer, wastewater can be efficiently transported and treated at a centralized location. This option eliminates the need for on-site wastewater treatment and provides a convenient and reliable disposal solution. However, connecting to the sewer system may require obtaining necessary permits and complying with local regulations. It is recommended to consult with the local authorities or utility provider to understand the process and requirements for connecting to the sewer.

The main difference between a cesspool and a septic tank lies in their functionality and treatment of wastewater. A cesspool is essentially a large holding tank that stores wastewater until it is pumped out by a septic removal company. It does not treat the wastewater in any way. In contrast, a septic tank is designed to separate solid waste from wastewater, allowing the solids to settle and be broken down by bacteria. The liquid effluent then flows into a drain field, where it undergoes further treatment and filtration before being safely absorbed into the ground. Septic tanks provide a more comprehensive wastewater treatment system compared to cesspools.

A 1000-gallon septic tank.


In conclusion, soakaway crates are not a legal solution for managing septic tank effluent. While they may be effective for managing stormwater runoff, they do not filter or treat effluent, which can be detrimental to groundwater.