Soakage Pits a Solution
Thursday, August 11, 2016
Amrita SeRVe is promoting soakage pits in all our villages so that waste water can be directed underground and recharge groundwater.
A soakage pit is a covered, porous-walled chamber that allows water to slowly soak into the ground. Instead of waste water collecting on the surface where it cannot be properly used and creates a dirty environment, the water slowly leaches back underground where it is naturally cleaned and infiltrates the surrounding soil.
In our villages, this is especially useful around community water taps, as the accumulation of big puddles misuses water and can produce mosquito breeding sites. Soakage pits are also an effective alternative to drains, which often get clogged and are often not really cleaned.
The sources for soakage pits need to be stormwater or what is known as “greywater”. Waste water needs a primary treatment if it is from things like septic tanks and pits for pour-flush toilets.
As greywater percolates through the soil from the soakage pit, small particles are filtered out by the soil matrix and organics are digested by microorganisms.
The wastewater effluent is absorbed by the soil and moves both horizontally and vertically through the soil’s pores. Because of that, soakage pits are best suited for areas that have soil that absorbs well. Clay, hard-packed or rocky soil doesn’t work well.