You are on page 1of 3

Soakage Pit

It is also called soak pit or seepage pit. It is the simplest and cheapest method of disposal of stillage
water in villages, on a small scale.

For individual houses a pit of about IV2 cubic meter of rectangular shape is dugged, filled from bottom
to top with large stones, brick bats and gravel, lined with bricks, keeping open the joints for
absorption. The topmost layer is of gravel or sand. It is covered with a gunny cloth, tarred on both
sides to prevent the loose soil slipping into the trench and block it (Fig. 12.15). Bottom of the pit should
be sloping away from the house. The pit is dug at a strategic point in courtyard of the house where in
stillage can be admitted.

Since the suUage contains grease, oil, detergents and solid waste, these are removed by allowing the
suUage to pass through an earthen pot (or matka or kerosin tin) with perforated bottom, filled with
straw and grass. If not removed these will interfere with proper functioning of soakage pit.
The perforated pot with grass is also therefore known as ‘grease trap! Grass has to be changed
periodically, once in 10 to 15 days, depending upon the waste water. Use of grease trap is not essential
in hot climates because fats do not solidify. It would be still better if a small grit chamber is
constructed between the oudet of the house and the soakage pit. This small chamber functions like
that of gully trap to remove solid waste from the stillage. T-shaped pipe connection is made between
the oudet of the house and the matka.

The suUage from the house is drained to the grease trap and then to the soakage pit through
submerged pipes.

As the suUage passes through the grease trap, the grease, oU, garbage, food waste, grit or dust, etc.
are all mechanicaUy trapped. The suUage passes through the bottom of the trap into the soakage pit,
where it gets large area for biological

Soak pit



Gunny Sand Brick bats Stones

Degradation by the aerobic bacteriae in the pit, ultimately converting it into harmless inorganic
substance. The water percolates into the ground.

After sometime, the pit become suUage sick, because pores become clogged. So, another pit must be
constructed by the side and two pits are made to work alternatively. When one becomes suUage sick,
it is dugged up and exposed to air and sun and Med again with fresh stones and gravel.

Literature: COMMUNITY MEDICINE with Recent Advances.

Soak Pit …wiki


Effluent, Greywater, Urine, Ana

l Cleansing Water, Stored Urine


Stored Urine, Anal Cleansing


A soak pit, also known as a soakaway or leach pit, is a covered, porous-walled chamber that allows
water to slowly soak into the ground. Pre-settled effluent from a Collection and Storage/Treatment
or (Semi-) Centralized Treatment technology is discharged to the underground chamber from which
it infiltrates into the surrounding soil.

As wastewater (greywater or blackwater after primary treatment) percolates through the soil from
the soak pit, small particles are filtered out by the soil matrix and organics are digested by
microorganisms. Thus, soak pits are best suited for soil with good absorptive properties; clay, hard
packed or rocky soil is not appropriate.
Design Considerations

The soak pit should be between 1.5 and 4 m deep, but as a rule of thumb, never less than 2 m above
the groundwater table. It should be located at a safe distance from a drinking water source (ideally
more than 30 m). The soak pit should be kept away from high-traffic areas so that the soil above and
around it is not compacted. It can be left empty and lined with a porous material to provide support
and prevent collapse, or left unlined and filled with coarse rocks and gravel. The rocks and gravel will
prevent the walls from collapsing, but will still provide adequate space for the wastewater. In both
cases, a layer of sand and fine gravel should be spread across the bottom to help disperse the flow.
To allow for future access, a removable (preferably concrete) lid should be used to seal the pit until it
needs to be maintained.

Advantages Disadvantages/limitations

- Can be built and repaired with locally - Primary treatment is required to prevent clogging
available materials

- May negatively affect soil and groundwater

- Technique simple to apply for all users properties
- Small land area required
- Low capital and operating costs


A soak pit does not provide adequate treatment for raw wastewater and the pit will quickly clog. It
should be used for discharging pre-settled blackwater or greywater. Soak pits are appropriate for rural
and peri-urban settlements. They depend on soil with a sufficient absorptive capacity. They are not
appropriate for areas prone to flooding or that have high groundwater tables.

Health Aspects/Acceptance

As long as the soak pit is not used for raw sewage, and as long as the previous Collection and
Storage/Treatment technology is functioning well, health concerns are minimal. The technology is
located underground and, thus, humans and animals should have no contact with the effluent.Since
the soak pit is odourless and not visible, it should be accepted by even the most sensitive communities.

Operation & Maintenance

A well-sized soak pit should last between 3 and 5 years without maintenance. To extend the life of a
soak pit, care should be taken to ensure that the effluent has been clarified and/ or filtered to prevent
the excessive build-up of solids. Particles and biomass will eventually clog the pit and it will need to
be cleaned or moved. When the performance of the soak pit deteriorates, the material inside the soak
pit can be excavated and refilled