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An environmental support services company | 24/7 Emergency Response | Serving London and the South of England
24/7 Emergency Response
Serving London and the South of England

Septic Tanks – What you Need to Know

Here iss some vital information regarding septic tanks and how to maintain them to keep things flowing smoothly.

Septic Tanks are a relatively easy solution for dealing with sewage and waste water as long as they’re regularly emptied and maintained. The infographic below helps to explain how a typical domestic septic works.

How does a Septic Tank Work?

Septic tanks are very common in rural properties where no mains drainage is available, the purpose of a septic tank is to treat waste water. It is usually buried underground near the property and will either be rectangular and made of brick, stone or concrete, more modern tanks will be a bottle-shaped plastic tank.

The septic tank waste contains natural bacteria that digests and separates organic matter to create a layer of crust and solids from the waste water (the layer of sludge settles at the bottom of the tank – as pictured above).

There are many different types of septic systems, a conventional soakaway-based system (as featured in our infographic) discharges the waste liquid from the distribution box into perforated pipes located in a drainage field (soakaway). The perforated pipes are designed to slowly release the treated effluent into the soil.

Do I Have Any Responsibilities?

If you own or use a septic tank, the quality of the discharge and its impact on the environment are your responsibility. You may be held accountable for any pollution caused by your septic tank. You are also responsible for ensuring that:

  • Your septic tank is properly maintained
  • Your septic tank access lids are secure and in good working order
  • Any drains to and from the septic tank, including the soakaway, are free-flowing and free from obstructions

If your septic tank isn’t maintained properly it can fail which could then back up and flood your property with raw sewage. To make matters worse it can end up in the local environment causing a hazard to rivers, streams and waterways.

Looking After your Septic Tank:

Nature makes a septic tank work but over time, the sludge at the bottom of your septic tank will build up. This sludge has to be removed to ensure the tank continues to work correctly and to prevent the soakaway from becoming clogged. De-sludging should normally take place every twelve months, however this depends on the tank size and usage.

If you know where the septic tank outlet drains to, check that the discharge is a light grey colour. If the liquid includes dark solid material or recognisable sewage solids, this shows that the septic tank needs de-sludging.

You should plan your de-sludging well in advance to avoid difficulties. If the time is approaching for your septic tank to be emptied or you would like more information and advice then give our friendly team a call on 0800 171 2204 or 01323 741818.

If disaster strikes we also operate an emergency response call out service, 24/7.

Call either number and our experienced team will be there to carry out your septic tank emptying quickly and safely.

2020 Septic Tank Regulations:

New rules were introduced in 2015 by the government for septic tanks, they aim to end the practice of septic tanks discharging directly into a local watercourse such as a river or stream.

These rules are designed to reduce the level of pollution from sewage in watercourses.

Septic tanks that discharge into watercourses must be replaced or upgraded by 1 January 2020, this includes properties for sale.

Systems can be replaced by connecting to a mains sewer (where available), installing a drainage field (soakaway) or replacing with a sewage treatment plant which are all services that our Civil Engineering and Groundworks and Pump Services teams can provide.

We’re always on call and are available all day, every day. Get in contact with us on 0800 171 2204 / 01323 741818 or email us at [email protected] and our team will be happy to discuss or book in any of our services for you and answer any queries you may have.