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What is a soakwell?


by Jacques Davis - Perth Soakwells
Published 15 February 2016
Copyright 2018 - Perth Soakwells Pty Ltd

The is an updated version of our original article, 

"What is a Soakwell?" 

which has been quoted online since 2008. We discuss soakwells, what they are and how they are used. 


Noun | Soak-well | pron: \ s - oh - k - well \
Full Definition of Soakwell:
  • An underground tank, consisting of durable material, allowing water to dissipate into the surrounding soil, particularly stormwater


A soakwell, sometimes refer to as storm tanks, storm pits, drainage pits, soak holes and oddly enough, sock wells ;) , are underground tanks that are use to catch and disperse water, typically stormwater runoff via downpipes, gutters and surface drains.

Soakwells differ from rainwater tanks in that they they are not used to make use of rainwater for later use. Instead they are used to channel water from above ground to a location below ground where the stormwater will dissipate or disperse into the surrounding soil.

Reasons Why Soakwells Are Sometimes Missed in Constructed Dwellings:

Installation of Soakwells are often ignored due to a number of factors, among them being:
  • Lack of information by client who would otherwise have them installed if they had the relevant information.
  • Misinformation by builders and associates - Most, if not all, Shires in Perth, Western Australia, require a drainage solution to contain stormwater runoff.
  • Lack of enforceability - There is not authority which ensures the installation of soakwells have been adequately performed.
  • Budget - Some clients hold off on the installation of soakwells with the intent of installing them in the future.
  • Lack of planning 
  • Poor DIY Soakwells - Clients often attempt DIY soakwell installations, ultimately procrastinating or abandoning the task entirely.
  • The belief that soakwells are not necessary.

Are Soakwells Necessary in Western Australia? :

All areas in Western Australia require stormwater systems. The National Construction Code of Australia also requires stormwater to be adequately tended to.  

Most of those systems will require either soakwells or sumps. Less often the client will be required to directly connect into a council or municipal stormwater system.

Below is a list of the councils and shires of new areas in Perth, Western Australia where clients are often confused as to whether soakwells and stormwater are necessary. All the below Council districts require soakwells or an equivalent stormwater solution:
  • City of Wanneroo requires soakwells
  • City of Joondalup requires soakwells 
  • City of Swan requires soakwells / stormwater silt pit connections
  • City of Armadale requires soakwells / stormwater connections
  • City of Gosnells requires stormwater /soakwells/  sump connections
  • City of Canning requires stormwater /soakwells/  sump connections
  • City of Kalamunda requires stormwater /soakwells/  sump connections
  • City of Cockburn requires stormwater /soakwells/  sump connections
  • City of Rockingham requires stormwater /soakwells/  sump connections
  • City of Kwinana requires stormwater /soakwells/  sump connections
  • Midland Council requires stormwater /soakwells/  sump connections
  • City of Serpentine/ Jarrahdale requires stormwater /soakwells/  sump connections

     To be continued...