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Maintaining Septic Tanks

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  • Maintaining Septic Tanks
  • Posted date:
  • 07-12-2016
Maintaining Septic Tanks

If you make use of a septic tank, you have specific responsibilities to be aware of. Let's look at how you can effectively maintain a septic tank on your property.  

A septic tank is a tank that is usually stored underground. It holds raw sewerage, and therefore the tank needs to be regularly emptied and cleaned. These tanks have separate compartments for waste in liquids and solids and must enter that waste manually. You can have your local authority inspectors empty your septic tank, and specialists will usually do so at a charge. You can also make use of a private contractor.  

If you have a septic tank, you usually do not have to pay any sewerage charges to your local company. However, if your tank is connected to the public sewer line and pipes, for example, to allow for the overflow, you will need to pay additional charges.   

If your surface waters drains are connected to the public similar, you will also have to pay additional charges even if your tank is attached. If there is a public sewer line close by, you have the right to connect to it. You will have to pay additional for this, but you can insist on being connected. If there is no public sewer line close by, you can ask your local sewerage company to provide one.  

Whether you use a septic tank or a cesspool, it can be great alternatives to a traditional sewerage system. But it is essential always to maintain them effectively and make sure that you adhere to all the requirements.  

Basic Septic Tank Responsibilities 

The most vital thing for many property and homeowners is to thoroughly understand that it is your responsibility to properly maintain it when you have septic tanks on your property.   

Suppose that your tank becomes a problem for your neighbours or community over time through leaking, toxic smells and chemicals. In that case, your local authorities and council will insist your septic tank is appropriately accessed, cleaned and emptied.

To ensure you comply with all Environmental Agency laws and regulations, it is essential that you:

Thoroughly empty and desludging your septic tanks routinely of scum, grease and water as this ensures they cannot pollute the surrounding areas. 

Do your best to limit the septic systems sewage discharge per day to around a minimum of 2,000 or 5,000 litres of treated sewage. If you want to increase the litres, you must get a permit.

Ensure you repair any problems or faults as soon as possible.Have your septic tank emptied by registered waste carrier specialists at least once or twice a year.

Inspect the area around your tank and where it releases sewage like the soakaway on a regular monthly basis and check for any signs of significant issues.

You may call the Environmental Agency to check whether or not your litre capacity requires a permit. 
The phone number you can contact is 03708 506 506. 
You can also utilise their hotline at 0800 80 70 60 if you have concerns your tank is causing pollution.

Top Tips for Septic Tank Maintenance

You can manage all your wastewater using your septic tank for many years into the future. However, for those looking to make the most of your septic tank investment, ensure it remains in excellent condition throughout the years of usage. To do so, you must stay on top of the maintenance of your unit.   

Maintaining your septic tank system will extend the units overall life span but also helps to reduce the risks of any expensive and unexpected faults or breakdowns that may occur or develop.

Make your Property Water Efficient

You don't want to put excessive strain onto your septic tank system by consistently overloading it with far too much wastewater, as this can result in a damaged, blocked or weakened tank.   

By making all the appliances in your property or household more water-efficient, you can reduce the overall workload your septic tank has to undertake and extend the capacity and life span.   

In doing so, you can enhance the efficiency of your property when it comes to water use. You can fix your leaking toilet, choose to use your dishwasher or washing machine for full loads or install energy-efficient appliances like showerheads or toilets. These minor changes you can make over time will reduce the usage of your septic tank and allow it to last for more extended periods.   

Learn What Not to Pour Down your Drains

You must be aware of numerous substances that you cannot dispose of down any drains or sinks in your home. The bacteria inside your septic tank has to work on a very delicate balance; the mere introduction of specific harmful elements could upset the overall PH balance of the drainage system. It could drastically prevent bacteria from breaking down properly and therefore causing blockages.   

Some of the essential items to be aware of not disposing of or flushing down your drains, sinks, or toilets are:

Disposable diapers
Coffee grounds, nutshells or eggshells
Fats, grease or oils
Cigarettes, especially those with filters
Feminine sanitary care items
Wet wipes
Paints or toxic chemicals
Paper towels  

Ensure that none of these objects gets down into your tank and that you can maintain the septic system and prevent system failure and future damage. The only things you can allow down sinks, toilets and drains are toilet paper and human waste.

Carry Out Regular Inspections

Regular inspections related to the overall condition of your tank will allow you to spot issues and any developing faults much quicker; when you detect these problems early on, they are cheaper and better for your tank to repair. It is essential to look at your septic tank's overall condition as, if you don't, it may stop working one day without warning.   

Look for any visible components in the tank itself, the ground and soil surrounding, and the drain field thoroughly to search for signs of leaking or damage. Inspecting your tank every few months allows you to become aware of how full it is, and then you can book your next emptying service appointment in plenty of advances.   

Maintain your Drain Field

The drain field or sewage treatment plant maintenance is just as essential as maintaining the septic tank itself. Any damages that occur around the drain field can harm the efficiency and performance of your tank; it could overflow or cause it to become backlogged if there is no maintained outlet for the wastewater to go.   

Ensure you avoid placing trees or plants in the area of your tank, as root infiltration can often interfere with the wastewater flow. It is also crucial to ensure you never drive or park on the drain field.     

Have your Tank Pumped

Regular pumping of your septic tank is required for functioning systems that work optimally. Many suggest that tanks must be pumped at least every three years, or five, depending heavily on the usage of the occupants or family members and the tank size.   

However, we recommend that it is best to have a specialist check your septic tank annually to see if it requires emptying. It may not fill up that fast, but it's best to be on the safe side.   

Your septic tank will run less efficiently with the gradual waste and garbage it holds and accumulates over time. It may become damaged in various ways, so it is far better to be cautious than risk leaving it to get worse.    

Are you looking for septic tank emptying or other wastewater services? For liquid waste collection or disposal in Surrey, Sussex, Essex or the South East, follow the links below. Contact our professionals today for a free quote about any of our services.