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Septic tank systems have been used in the rural areas of the UK for over a 116 year mostly for areas where mains drainage is not available. So what is a septic tank. A septic tank accumulates all of the wastewater from the property, the toilet, laundry, bathroom and kitchen waste. The main purpose of a septic tank is to separate the solid material and allow the sludge formed to undergo a process known as anaerobic digestion. This has the effect of reducing the sludge volume and therefore the frequency of septic tank emptying by vacuum tanker.

The wastewater from the septic tank is disposed of to a soakaway. It is prohibited to discharge to a ditch or streamand is an offence under the Public Health and Water Resources Acts. Offenders are liable to prosecution by the Authorities. With environmental authorities becoming more stringent, the use of septic tanks have declined and in recent years the need for sewage treatment plants have become more wide spread.

What a Septic Tank System comprises of

The parts of a SEPTIC TANK SOAKAWAY are the septic tank, comprising of two chambers, and the underground soakaway network.

Anaerobic digestion takes place within the septic tank and anaerobic micro-organisms develop and partly breakdown the accumulated wastewater. Inside the septic tank solids settle in the tank and materials such as tissue float to the top of the liquids and form a scum layer.

Older septic tank versions are “built tanks” there is commonly ‘T’ pipes, these are located on the inlet and outlet. The purpose of ‘T’ pipes is to stop floating material and settled solids going through the septic tank and into the soakaway network. Modern septic tanks, manufactured in Fibreglass or Polyethylene normally have internal baffles fitted to prevent floating and settled materials getting into the soakaway.

Septic tank soakaways typically consist of a system of irrigation pipes which allow the wastewater to percolate into the sub-strata. They may be used where the sub-strata is sufficiently permeable and in locations which are not prone to flooding or waterlogging.

Placing your septic tank in the ground

Septic tanks are commonly dug into the ground,and usually with manhole cover to allow for inspection and emptying. Septic tanks should be placed at least 7 metres from any habitable buildings, and preferably downslope. Allow for for vehicle tank emptying. A septic tank should be palced within 30 metres of the vehicle access point where the the septic tank is no more than 3 metres below the level of the vehicle access point, The installation depth of a septic tank will be partly dependent on the depth of the incoming foul drainage.

Septic Tank installation and Conversion

Most of the septic tank problems are overcome by installing a Hertfordshire Drains septic tank conversion system. A Hertfordshire drains system is specifically designed to be installed within an existing septic tank or cesspool, converting the existing tank into a sewage treatment plant. Call Hertfordshire drains to install your septic tank.

Septic Tank Maintenance

Because septic tanks are underground they are often forgot about until there is a problem. It is essential that all septic tanks are periodically inspected and maintained to prolong the life of the tank and receiving soakaway system.

It is normal practice to have the tank emptied annually by a Licensed Tanker Company. Should the septic tank not be emptied at suitable intervals this can lead to fine solids passing through the tank and into the soakaway system, resulting in the soakaway problems.

On traditionally built septic tanks there are pipes on the inlet and outlet. It is essential that these pipes are replaced if they become dislodged as this would result in fine solids pass through the tank and into the soakaway system. Inlet pipes can also become blocked over a period of time due to a build up of fat inside the pipe. Should this happen the incoming effluent would need to rise to the top of the pipe and result in partial flood of foul drainage pipes.

Regular inspection of the effluent level inside septic tanks is crucial as this would show the failure or partial failure of a soakaway. The effluent level within a septic tank should never be above the inlet into the tank.

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Hertfordshire Septic Tanks

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