DIY, HOW TO & SUSTAINABLE LIVING
Infiltration Tank Installation Guide
Whether you're a tradie looking to use the Atlantis underground infiltration system for your next project, or a homeowner who needs a versatile stormwater solution, Eco Sustainable House can help. We've compiled a basic guide below to give customers and installers alike an idea of how the system is put into the ground and assembled.
The photos shown here and the steps laid out are based on a typical infiltration tank for a residential project. Atlantis Flo Tanks can also be used for Detention and Rainwater Harvesting applications.
1. Assemble the tanks onsite
Once you've purchased your Atlantis Flo tank modules, they will arrive in flat packed bundles. This makes them easy to transport to where your tank is being installed, saving the need for cranes and other heavy machinery. Using a rubber mallet and a bit of manual labour, anyone can assemble the tanks.
Each tank only takes a few minutes to put together, as the video below demonstrates.
The simple pin and hole system allows you to customise the number of internal plates to suit the loading requirements. Plus, you can stack the modules vertically just by leaving out one of the large plates off each cube.This means you can create any shape for your infiltration system and minimise the lateral area needed to meet the water storage requirements.
2. Excavate pit & lay geofabric
Excavation may be completed prior to the tanks arriving or being assembled, or the tanks might be ready to go in already. In either case the pit needs to be sufficient size to accommodate not only the modules themselves, but the minimum top, side and base backfill.
Rainwater and On Site Detention tanks would also require an impermeable liner along the base and up the sides to be installed at this stage.
If possible, lay a base (100mm) of smooth, clean washed river sand, free from lumps or debris that may damage the geofabric or make the tank uneven. Keep an eye out for the presence of soft or muddy soils, as your system should be at least 1 metre above the ground water table.
3. Place Flo Tank Modules inside pit
Thanks to their light weight and modularity, the Atlantis Flo Tanks are much easier to install than the concrete equivalent. Each module can be moved by hand and placed side-by-side with the others to create any shape. This means you could have an L-shape or U-shape, or any other orientation you need to fit your site. If loading tanks stacked Triple or greater, we recommend using a hand trolley or lifting with two people.
The modules do not need to be connected or glue horizontally. Assuming they have been place correctly on a flat surface, there should be no gaps in between. Using string lines as a guide, and starting in one corner, is a good way to make sure the system is lined up correctly.
4. Cut holes for inspection ports & filtration system intake (if required)
Depending on the application for your tank, you will have additional pipes going in and out of the system. This may be a filtration unit, an overflow pipe, an inspection port and so on. The recycled plastic of the matrix units can be cut into without worry of affecting the structure of the area around it. A jigsaw or equivalent tool can create the required holes easily. For larger units you may even want to do this step before some of the modules are placed into the pit.
If you are using plastic liner and geofabric, these will likely need to be cut as well. Refer to your manufacturer's instructions for this. Alternatively, a specialist company may provide a liner that has be pre-cut to fit your tank.
5. Wrap all tank modules in geofabric/geotextile
Assuming the geofabric has been laid correctly in Step 2, workers on site should now be able to simply fold those layers over the top of the tank. Aim to have a minimum overlap of 300mm at the joins and seams, with duct tape or equivalent used to cover where they meet. Try to use as few separate pieces as possible by opting for wider width rolls of geofabric.
The result should be a neatly wrapped tank covered on all sides with the fabric. Sealing the system in this way prevents backfill materials from entering the system.
If you are using a plastic liner, follow this same method for that as well, though welded seams may be required for certain retention applications.
6. Backfill area with desired substrate
Starting with the sides of the tank, refill the pit with soil, sand or equivalent backill material. Only leave your inspection ports and the top of the filtration unit uncovered. Never use infill materials containing clay. Compact the side fill as it is laid, in 150mm lots. Use a mechanical compactor if possible as the vibration will help eliminate any minor gaps between the modules
Minimum backfill (above the tank) for pedestrian loading is 300mm, preferably of washed river sand compacted to 95% proctor density. This increases to 600mm for vehicle loading applications. There should also be some side backfill, maximum 500mm, before the excavation line. Base fill as discussed in step 2. Be careful when placing the first layer on the top of the newly place tank so as not to move the tanks or break the geofabric lining.
Consult with an engineer and advise ESH if you are creating a concrete slab above the infiltration system. This will ensure the right number of internal plates has been used to cope with the weight.
Erect erosion control devises or otherwise direct any stormwater runoff, debris, silts or clay away from the tank until it has been commissioned by the plumber. And there you have your Atlantis system ready to meet all your infiltration needs!
*Please note this is a general guideline only, refer to the Flo Tank Assembly Guide linked below for full specifications.
ESH provides support only, and does not take responsibility for commercial estimating or specifying.
Find out more:
Counting Trees: How to Make the Most of Recycled Timber
Wood is one of the oldest building materials, an architectural staple that never goes out of style and can last generations. It’s a way to bring instantaneous character even to brand new homes. Melbourne architect Anthony Chan said, in an interview for Domain.com: “So many projects are flat with render, steel or glass, but timber gives a building warmth, texture and contrast.” We see it favoured above other materials not just for it’s ability to harmonise with almost any room, but also because of it’s environmental benefits – as the process of growing trees for timber removes CO2 from the atmosphere it’s considered the only renewable building material.
But how do you know for sure that your wood has been responsibly grown? There’s a bevy of stamps, labels and symbols but if you’re looking to truly minimise wastage during your next project – recycled timber is a must. Some go as far as to say “… it is no longer palatable or responsible, to use materials that are unlikely to be locally recycled, reused, or that don’t address life cycle issues, resulting in waste in landfill, anywhere in the world.”
Using recycled timber can help prevent the CO2 it stores from being released back into the atmosphere if it were to be burned or discarded in landfill. It’s also the most financially sound investment, often costing a fraction of that of new timber. There are psychological benefits to having timber in your home, too – having wood in your interior has a positive effect on stress levels that even live plants can’t beat.
So where do you start when bringing recycled timber into your home or workplace? With the timber itself. You can find floorboards, cabinets, old doorframes, posts, beams and furniture someone has ripped out during their renovation on any online marketplace. The risk here is sometimes the wood can be damaged, rotted or termites may have gotten to it, so depending on what you would like to use it for you should inspect your fleamarket find carefully before you use it. Another option is to go to a recycled timber specialist to buy either a fully-constructed piece or the materials you need. Like buying a secondhand car from a car yard as opposed to off a stranger, the price may be higher, but the quality will be too. You’ll find unique furniture and remilled timber of a guaranteed standard without any nasty surprises.
You’ve purchased your timber, now what can you do with it? Better to ask, what can’t you do with it. New decks, pergolas, support beams, flooring, garden features, planter boxes and much more can all benefit from the rustic, characterful look of recycled timber.
Unless specially treated, timber should be kept away from extreme heat or open flame so bear this in mind when you’re deciding what to turn your recycled timber into. Be sure to look into new innovations with paints, stains and other coatings. Special clear epoxy resins can protect your outdoor furniture from UV discolouration and give it water resistance, all while still showing off the natural beauty the material is loved for. You’re giving this timber a new chance, so protect it correctly and you’ll have something that will last generations to come. It’s worth the investment!
Brownfield Sites, Meet Industrial Buildings: The Perfect Ecological Solution
Brownfield sites, land with known or suspected pollution, have always been a bit of an ecological conundrum. It’s not always possible to return them to the environment if they’ve been contaminated by waste, but they’re not an attractive (or safe) place to build a family home, either. So, what is there to do about these unused swathes of land? One ingenious solution is the conversion of industrial buildings to luxury apartments.
Industrial buildings don’t always come with brownfield sites, but the two go hand-in-hand; often, whatever industry was there before was the cause of the polluted land in the first place. However, these barren fields and vacant warehouses are seeing new life in the “warehouse conversion” movement throughout Australia. By returning these fields to the city through converting them into housing, it changes them from a waste of space to a brilliant piece of prime real estate.
The warehouse conversion concept has been popular for some time, but its trending rise has spurred a truly eco-friendly reuse of the brownfield sites that the warehouses sometimes sit on. Like we stated above, the sites can’t really be given back to the environment, so the only options are to rebuild or leave what’s already there.
Obviously, if the brownfield site is unsafe for habitation, efforts to remedy that need to be taken first. However, leaving the buildings that already exist on these properties instead of tearing them down both preserves their history and saves money. That’s why the warehouse conversion and the brownfield site go together so well; attractive apartments can be built within the existing infrastructure that’s both cheaper and arguably as in-demand as new construction.
Unfortunately, the idea isn’t perfect. Since the buildings are so large, they’re not particularly eco-friendly, and they often face challenges due to the level of technology they were built with, such as inefficient ducting, plumbing, or wiring, unless these are fixed artificially. The large buildings are also very expensive to heat in the wintertime. In comparison to alternative options, though, the warehouse conversion option is still tough to beat.
Once a brownfield suite is decontaminated, the question often remains what to do with it. However, with the luxury-apartment-warehouse-conversion option, we have a relatively cheap way to repurpose the real estate of the original building, all while preserving its history. While the buildings themselves may be less than perfect to begin with, the repurposing of the land is certainly an environmentally friendly message that many have heard.
If you’re considering a warehouse conversion, or just have an industrial site you want to be more eco-friendly, have a look at Eco Sustainable House’s full range here. With rainwater tanks, venting skylights, solar hot water, green walls and much more, you can really transform any building.
Alicia Rennoll (Environmental Research)
The Backyard Carpark: How to Prevent Ruts in Your Lawn
Like buildings, relationships and just about everything in life, lawns need good foundations. Whether its from the family car or some native wildlife, they can take a beating and start looking like the tee off at your local golf course. Protecting the roots when your turf is laid can help you avoid many of the most common types of damage your grass can sustain. This is especially something you should consider your yard is going to be exposed to a lot of traffic from children and pets or vehicles. Even if the grass itself isn’t torn up, the soil can become compacted, making it difficult for water and air to reach the roots, so a system that prevents compaction will serve you well in the long run.
Rather than wasting your week constantly refilling these divots with soil or sand, reinforce your turf a stable grid system. Products such as the Atlantis Turf Cell act as a barrier for grass roots, preventing soil compaction and destruction of the root system. To put it simply, you can drive over the grass all you like and it won’t die off. This is because only the blades of the grass are the above the protective grid, the root ball is sitting untouched inside the plastic cell void. Unlike concrete and other reinforcement options the cells are completely permeable, meaning they wont affect your stormwater requirements.
Sold in square metre sheets of clipped together recycled plastic panels, the turf cell is incredibly easy to install and suits projects of all sizes, from backyards to sports fields. Simply lay the turf cells on top of 100mm of compacted road base, or equivalent growing media, followed by 20mm of sand (if required). Then fill the cells completely with topsoil straight from the truck (you can drive straight over them for unloading!) and water the soil in. Fill to the top of the cells and either seed the soil or roll your turf over the top. If using turf rolls, make sure to hit them to break off excess dirt - this ensures the roots are completely inside the cell, not just sitting on top.
If you’re laying new turf in the backyard or in a rooftop greenspace, you might also want to invest in some drainage cell underneath to help get your garden off to the right start. This eco-friendly product provides modular drainage wherever you need it, to prevent flooding in urban greenspaces as well as a passive irrigation source in landscaped gardens. It also enables you to direct the flow of excess stormwater that would normally flood low-lying areas of your lawn.
A large component of gardening is preparing for the next season and putting measures in place to make it difficult for pests and diseases to take root, and in Australia’s climate keeping an eye on the weather during different seasons and adjusting watering schedules is as important as spraying for weeds and fertilising. Modern varieties of turf are developed to be tolerant of drought, shade, weeds and pests but as a living thing it still needs care even with the best possible preparations.
Spring brings a surge of growth for both grass and weeds so feeding the plants you want and inhibiting the growth of those you don’t will be a priority. It’s also the time when pests start laying eggs but they are also often the first food source for nesting birds so keep this in mind when you choose your pesticides.
Toward the end of the year it’s a good idea to let your grass grow longer so as not to encourage weed growth and to prevent the soil from drying out as quickly, especially if you live in areas prone to drought. A wetting agent can also help your soil retain moisture better during the Summer months, so that your grass can go longer between drinks.
Autumn is a good time to build up your yard’s health before the cold hits, so remember to fertilise before your grass’ growth slows right down while spraying for Winter weeds before they emerge.
While you should always remain vigilant of pests and weeds, your lawn can require mercifully little maintenance over Winter, provided it has been adequately cared for in previous months. Growth will be slow, so mowing will be infrequent, and weeds will also be taking it easy, but this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep an eye out. If you have any varieties of trees that drop leaves make sure to keep them under control to prevent die-back, too.
Proper ground preparation before your turf is even laid is one of the most important things you can do to ensure you have a level, lush lawn for years to come, so laying drainage cell or a stable grid under your new turf can safeguard against compaction which leads to ruts and die-off. After all, prevention is the best cure. Once you’ve made this initial investment, follow it up with proper lawn care and you’ll have an enviable garden year-round.
Want to get a price on the Atlantis turf cell or drainage products? Simple give Eco Sustainable House a call and our friendly team will get you a quote in no time.