What is a Sewage Treatment Plant and How does it Work?
The clue is in the name: a sewage treatment facility put in simple terms, treats sewage. It operates in a way that is similar to a septic tank but relies on electricity and is more advanced and creates an environment that facilitates the growth of bacteria.
These bacteria breaks down the sewage and solid materials to generate a clean and non-polluting effluent discharge. This effluent can be discharged into a waterway or absorption trench, provided that all the necessary legal permissions are obtained.
Sewage treatment plants are available in various sizes to accommodate the needs of households, from small residences to large commercial properties and facilities.
As no sewage treatment plant is the same, we have wrote a detailed article explaining how a sewage treatment plant works here.
How Often Do I Need to Sewage Treatment Plant Emptied?
As a general rule of thumb, most manufacturers recommend having your sewage treatment plant emptied at least once a year.
Although the purpose of a sewage treatment plant is to treat the wastewater as thoroughly as possible while dealing with much more waste than a septic tank, they still require emptying annually. Over time, the sludge can build up in the treatment plant so it’s beneficial that the sludge in the system is emptied annually or as advised by the manufacturer and installer to keep the sewage treatment plant in optimal condition.
How Often Do I Need to Sewage Treatment Plant Serviced?
Most manufacturers recommend servicing your sewage treatment plant at least once a year.
The Environment Agency’s general binding rules state that your sewage treatment plant “The system must be installed and operated in accordance with the manufacturer’s specification”. Most manufacturers advise annual servicing and emptying so to ensure you are following the legal regulations you must schedule sewage treatment plant servicing at least once a year.
This is best scheduling the same time as your empty so your mechanical and electronic components can be serviced at the same time.
What does a Sewage Treatment Plant Service include?
Our sewage treatment plant service includes a full 23 point check listed below. Our engineers will also email you the service report after every visit.
- Visual inspection of plant
- Check mains incoming power supply healthy & safety inspection
- Check site control panel / blower housing for damage / water ingress, etc
- Visually inspect all panel internals and manually check for loose connections
- Check overloads
- Check field cabling & earthing (General safety checks)
- Check junction boxes, are they correctly rated?
- Check power to blowers and pumps
- Measure and record the blower’s and pump running currents
- Check air filter condition on the blower and replace for new if due.
- Check media section (treatment zone)
- Check enkamat (if fitted) or media section for blockages
- Check levels are correct.
- Remove discharge pump, clean, test and check operation
- Check non-return valve operation
- General wash down or jetting if required (water supply required)
- Advise on de-sludge
- Check the alarm system if fitted
- Check internal pump pipework for splits or corrosion
- Check airlines
- Check air taps
- Check hanging chains for corrosion
- Check condition of manhole cover and frames
Many clients like to add on our high pressure water jetting service while the sewage treatment plant is booked in for an empty and service. This can help with the de-sludge by breaking down the larger crust sections, it also allows the bacteria to be washed though bales to allow new growth.
Why is Sewage Treatment Plant Servicing Important?
Sewage treatment plant servicing is essential for many reasons, including;
- Regulatory Compliance: Regular servicing and maintenance of sewage treatment plants help ensure compliance with the general binding rules set out by the Environmental Agency, avoiding fines and legal penalties.
- Avoid breakdowns and blockages: Routine servicing helps prevent premature wear and tear, corrosion, and breakdowns, reducing the need for costly replacements and repairs.
- Prolong Life: Regular sewage treatment plant servicing helps extend the lifespan of the equipment and components within the system and ensures it is in optimal condition.
Energy Efficiency: Well-maintained treatment plants operate more efficiently, therefore they consume less energy. Energy-efficient operations not only help reduce operational costs but also minimise the environmental impact of energy consumption.
Indications that something is going wrong with your Sewage Treatment System
Here are some indications that something maybe be going wrong with your sewage treatment plant:
- Foul Odours: If you notice foul smells in near the sewage treatment system, this could be a sign that the system is not functioning properly.
- Gurgling Noises: If you hear unusual sounds such as gurgling or bubbling noises coming from your plumbing, this can suggest a problem with the sewage treatment plant. These sounds could be a results of air blockages or clogs in the system.
- Slow Drains: Slow drains in the property can indicate a blockage or malfunction in the treatment plant. This could be due to a build up of solids or sludge.
- Backed-up Sewage: If the sewage starts backing up into the sinks, toilets or drains, this is a clear warning sign that the sewage treatment system is failing. If this occurs, you should seek immediate assistance.
- Lush Grass: While it might seem like a positive side effect, an unusually green and lush patch of grass around the sewage treatment area can indicate an issue with the system resulting in nutrient-rich effluent leaking from the system and fertilising the soil around it.
If you notice any of these signs or suspect something is wrong with your sewage treatment plant, it is important to not neglect these indicators and contact a professional to access and resolve the issues. Neglecting these signs and not booking in regular sewage treatment plant servicing can result in costly repairs, health hazards and pollution to the environment which could lead to expensive fines.