Septic Tank Clearance
Not all homes or businesses are connected to the local sewer system, particularly in rural areas such as farms. Our network of drains and treatment facilities allows us to get rid of waste when, for instance, we flush the toilet, take a shower or do some washing. In the case of homes that are not connected to the sewerage system, an alternative such as septic tank is required that can collect and handle the waste. This vessel needs to be emptied every so often to ensure that waste material doesn’t build up and cause a health or environmental hazard.
What is a Septic Tank?
A septic tank is basically a large container made of concrete, plastic or fibreglass that is buried in the ground and is used to collect wastewater from a property or home. The tank is filled with water and holds onto any solid waste but passes untreated waste water into a soakaway.
This soakaway acts to send the effluent into the ground, often via a series of pipes, where natural bacteria get to work on it and essentially absorbs it back into the environment safely. The sludge effluent left behind in the tank will build up over a period and this can cause problems if it is not removed at regular intervals.
The classic design of a septic tank is onion shaped which fits below ground but you can get more advanced cylindrical systems depending on how much waste water you produce. More complicated designs have two or three chambers that filter the waste that eventually gets passed out into the soil.
Septic Tank Emptying
To make sure that your septic tank is operating properly it needs to be emptied on a regular basis. This should normally take place at least every twelve months but may well depend on usage and how many people you have in the household. Waste such as excreta builds up in the bottom of the tank and forms a heavy sludge that is partly digested by bacteria.
If you own a septic tank, you have a legal duty of care to make sure that it is maintained properly. The problem with these installations is that you can’t escape the consequences if it is not cleared out once in a while, simply because you will begin to notice the smell. There are a number of professional septic tank clearance companies that can remove the sludge and take it away for treatment and recycling. It is always best to get a licensed company to do the job for you because:
- They are registered to carry this kind of waste.
- They have the right facilities to dispose of it.
- They will normally have a permit, waste management licence or exemption to allow them to spread or treat the sewage.
In places like the Northern Ireland and Scotland, contractors need a similar pollution prevention and control (PPC) permit to handle sewerage waste. Find out more about waste permits here.
What Happens to Septic Tank Waste?
It is illegal at the moment to dispose of liquid waste water to landfill. You can, however, put sewage sludge to landfill if you remove the liquid component and use a site that has a licence to deal with such waste.
Other options for the treatment of this sludge are to use it in anaerobic digestion which can produce fertiliser for agricultural use. With the latest AD technology, waste can be used to create biogas and energy such as electricity.
The way we handle waste is changing all the time. With developments in technology we are now finding new ways to recycle matter such as sewerage and septic tank sludge. It can be used for agricultural purposes and even dried out to make solid fuel for technology such as biomass heaters and boilers.