Household waste isn’t something we feel the need to consider. That is, of course, until you find yourself living somewhere that doesn’t have access to the mains sewerage system! Then you become fully responsible for ensuring your waste is disposed of both safely, and in accordance with the regulations laid out by the Environment Agency.

There are two main systems which service household waste: septic tanks and sewage treatment plants. For more information on septic tanks, read on…

What Is A Septic Tank?

A septic tank is a system that processes household waste via two compartments. The waste will pass from your home into the first compartment and any solid matter will remain there. The liquid waste will then move to the second compartment via a baffle and will be cleaned in this second chamber. The cleaned water is then drained into the ground via the drainage field (or soakaway).

Historically, septic tanks were able to pass their waste directly into a watercourse but this is now no longer legal under the new Environment Agency legislation which came into force in 1st January 2020. If your septic tank is non-compliant you have two options:

  • Install a drainage field
  • Replace the septic tank with a sewage treatment plant

What Are The Different Types Of Septic Tank?

Brick Septic Tanks

These are built underground as two chambers. The first chamber has an outlet pipe into the second into which the waste water will overflow. A septic tank doesn’t treat any of the waste within it, instead it separates it out. In order to do this, there are various types of pipework which prevent the solids from reaching the drainage field and the waste splits into three layers.

Top – this is the densest layer, made from solids, fats and oils that haven’t broken down. It’s also known as the crust. This will need removing when the septic tank gets emptied.

Middle – this is the waste water that will flow out of the tank and into the drainage field to soakaway safely into the ground.

Bottom – this is known as the sludge as it’s not perfectly solid or liquid and will build up over time so also requires removal during the emptying of the septic tank.

Glass Reinforced Plastic (GRP)

These work in much the same way as brick septic tanks. However, where the water separates and flows into the second chamber by a pipe system in a brick-built tank, a baffle is what facilitates this in a GRP septic tank. The other processes remain the same.

Septic Tank Regulations

If you have a septic tank there are certain regulations that you must follow in order to run compliant and safe drainage. At Proseptic, we keep up to date with the latest septic tank regulations. We have listed some of the latest regulations below.

  • Septic tanks must be situated at least 7 metres away from the habitable areas of your property.
  • They must also be located within 30 metres of an access point in order for them to be emptied.

The septic tank chambers must pass the wastewater into a drainage field which must also comply with certain regulations. These are:

  • The field should be at least 2 metres away from a neighbouring boundary
  • The nearest watercourse should be situated at least 10 metres away
  • Houses or buildings should be at least 15 metres away
  • No water source (such as a well) should be within 50 metres
  • There must be no driveways, access roads or paved areas in the vicinity

If you would like to chat about your septic tank, get in touch with us today. All of our drainage services are fully compliant with septic tank regulations.