Septic Tank Replacement, Troubleshooting and Advice

When septic tanks are working efficiently, they do not require much thought or effort. You will need to carry out annual checks and maintenance and the occasional improvement may be necessary. However, overall a septic system is a lot less worrisome than people believe. With this in mind, however, when a septic tank suffers from an advanced failure or damage, it can cause issues and a replacement will be necessary.

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The Septic Tank Replacement Process

The problem

A septic tank as opposed to a cesspit, which is a sealed tank, uses a baffle and dip pipe arrangement which effectively holds the solids in one section and allows the fluids to cross over the baffle. The effluent then requires to be filtered by a soakaway in the ground.

The first sign of a failure is the septic tank “backing up” where the fluids cannot drain through to the soakaway.

Common practice is to pump out this excess into a nearby ditch or watercourse as a point of discharge. However, this is a direct infringement of the rules governing sewage discharge governed by the Environment Agency.

Soakaway or drainage field

The septic tank will normally have a drainage field commonly known as a Septic soakaway attached to enable the fluids to soak into the ground.
When it fails it usually means it can no longer soak away. This causes the raw sewage to rise to the surface and can endanger public health.

Survey and report

The next step is a survey. This involves having the tank pumped to establish its condition. A CCTV camera survey follows to clarify the condition of the drainage network.

Percolation test

Any form of septic tank or soakaway replacement will require a Percolation Test. This assesses the absorption qualities of the soil in the garden where the replacement will be sited. It is a Building Regulations statutory obligation and calculates the minimum size of the new septic soakaway or drainage field to safely store underground, the daily discharge from the property whilst it permeates into the ground.

The solutions

The Survey Report will highlight the extent of the problems confronting the householder. Each measure has a variable cost depending on size and scale of solution.

Extending or replacing the soakaway

The least expensive measure is the replacement or extension of the existing septic soakaway. This is in the form of trenches in various widths containing perforated pipes surrounded in pea shingle, the extent of the network is defined by the Percolation Test calculation.

Retrofit treatment plant option

In some cases, it is not possible to discharge flows to a new soakaway, perhaps due to lack of space, poor invert levels or the need to position in higher ground. In these instance’s a simple pump station will be included with the new soakaway. Alternatively, the most appropriate measure is a Retrofit Sewage Treatment Plant which can have a pump included. This is particularly beneficial where a watercourse can be accessed as rules dictate any discharge to a water course must be via a treatment plant.

Sewage treatment plant to ground

In these two instances the original septic tank has to be operating effectively. If not the discharge will require treatment from a sewage treatment plant which conforms to national and European standards. The discharge from such a unit is virtually pure water and as such can be safely pumped or gravity fed to the ground via soakaway or drainage field as described above.

Sewage treatment plant to watercourse

A domestic sewage treatment plant is the only ethical and environmentally acceptable method of replacing a septic tank. It is more expensive because it has multiple sections where the raw sewage is subjected to air injection from a compressor activating the sludge causing anaerobic digestion therefore purifying the fluids to the levels where it can be safely discharged into streams and rivers without harming marine life.


FAQ’s

What are common septic tank issues?

  • Antibacterial cleaners causing septic tank bacteria to cease breaking down solid waste.
  • Residents flushing items which should be disposed of in other ways, including kitchen roll, food items and even coffee grounds – causing blockages.
  • Tree roots growing into the system and causing blockages, damage and leaks. Septic tanks should always be installed at least 30 metres from nearby trees.

How do I keep my septic tank running smoothly?

Septic tanks are part of a septic system. This system treats your household sewage when you aren’t connected to a larger sewage system. They require a septic drain field to function properly. You must also keep the septic tank from getting blocked or overfilled. Regular maintenance checks and routine improvements will identify and prevent potential issues before they worsen. An early fix will eradicate the need for a full septic tank replacement in the long run.

When is septic tank replacement necessary?

The most common sign that a septic tank is damaged beyond repair and that a septic tank replacement is necessary is a change in the drain field. Problems within the septic tank will often cause leaks. This results in a damp, wet or squishy field with a noticeably bad odour.
Once problems have been noticed, it is a priority to ensure that septic tanks are replaced or repaired as soon as possible. Delays can endanger the health and well-being of the property’s residents and may even cause structural damage to the property itself.
Whether you’re interested in a check to make sure your septic tank is working properly or if you suspect that it may need replacing, we can help you keep your septic system running perfectly. We offer free evaluations and advice, so give us a call today to find out more about our septic tank services.

Benefits of Proseptic

No obligation septic tank advice

  • If you have any questions about septic tank replacements or are unsure if your existing system meets the latest regulations, please get in touch. Our friendly, expert team are always happy to share our expertise to help you make the right decisions.

Fitted by expert engineers

  • Septic tank surveys, inspections, installations and on-going maintenance are carried out by our team of highly experienced engineers. We pride ourselves on our customer service which is why most of our work actually comes from client referrals.

What you can expect from Proseptic

  • Our customers are more than a sales opportunity. We want your sewage treatment system to work for you. Therefore, we deliver all septic tank replacements with longevity, quality and efficiency with minimal hassle.
  • We endeavour to explain all sewage treatment options to you. Therefore you can feel confident and make an informed decision, armed with all the information available.