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Capiphon Drainage

Capiphon™ (sold as Smart Drain in the USA), is a capillary drainage technology. It consists of a belt of 2 mm PVC, usually 10 or 20 cm wide, with omega-shaped grooves running down its length. In some situations, such as installation into embankments, Capiphon is wrapped around a PVC pipe and used in place of the belt.

The groves are omega shaped with an internal diameter of one millimetre. The opening to the grooves is approximately 0.3 mm.

Because Capiphon uses capillary action, it is in dynamic equilibrium with the moisture in the soil. Water moves into the belt as soon as the soil reaches saturation, faster than simply relying on gravity. For the same reason, water continues to flow for longer.

Does Capiphon block like other drains?

No. Unlike every other drainage system, Capiphon does not block with either fine particles (reference 1) or algae (reference 2).  Particles smaller than the opening of the grooves (0.3mm) can enter the grooves but will easily pass out of the system.  The grooves themselves do not block – if one or more soil particles lodge against a groove, water can enter either side of the particle.

Capiphon is still draining successfully after 15 years in the ground.

Does Capiphon require expensive installation?

  • No need for a gravel transition layer.
  • No need for a geotextile fabric.
  • In fact, Capiphon needs to be in close contact with the soil so trenches can be shallow and narrow.
  • No need for a precisely graded trench because the siphon will operate even if there is a rise and fall along it.
  • No need for extra fittings. Simply cut a slot into the discharge pipe and insert the belt into it. Secure the two with a cable tie, and then run a bead of silicone sealant across the back of the belt.
  • Sealing the loose end of the belt with silicone helps to create the siphon.
  • If the site is particularly muddy, laying the belt on a thin layer of medium sand creates the optimum capillary conditions.
  • Then simply backfill the trench and roll. Replace turf if it has been cut prior to trenching.