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When Is A Sewage Treatment Plant Required?

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For most people, disposing of their sewage safely is something that they don’t even think about. If you live in a house that is connected to the mains sewage, you flush your toilet, and away it goes, never to be seen again. If, however, you live in a house that is off-grid, or a good distance away from mains sewage, you need to consider how you can safely and hygienically dispose of your sewage and wastewater.

There are normally three sewage disposal systems that are available to you if you cannot connect to the mains system – a cesspool, septic tank, or a sewage treatment plant. Each option has its advantages and disadvantages, and these should be weighed up according to your own circumstances to decide what is best for you.

What’s the Difference Between A Cesspool, Septic Tank, and A Sewage Treatment Plant?

Building regulations stipulate that if you cannot connect to the mains sewage system, you must have a cesspool, septic tank, or sewage treatment plant. Although similar, they are not the same thing.

A cesspool – or cesspit – is a sealed tank where the sewage flows into. There is no output of the cesspit, it is simply collected in the tank, then taken away to be emptied and disposed of on a regular basis.

A septic tank is a tank whereby the sewage flows into the tank where it separates into solids (sludge), liquid, and a top layer made up of oil and grease. The waste particles in the liquid are broken down more by the bacteria in the septic tank, and the water then dispersed into a drainage field. The sludge is then emptied periodically.

A water treatment plant takes this process a step further. A pump is contained inside the tank, enabling a more thorough breakdown of the waste particles, thus cleaning the water more extensively and in this case, the cleaned water can be drained into streams, watercourses, or ditches.

Septic Tanks Vs Sewage Treatment Plants: Which One Is Best?

Both septic tanks and sewage treatment plants have their pros and cons.

A septic tank is suitable usually for a single dwelling, needing room for a drainage field in the outside area. The ground must be porous so that the water is absorbed. Septic tanks are inexpensive and need to be emptied roughly once or twice each year.

A sewage treatment plant, on the other hand, is suitable for any kind of domestic or commercial setting. By law, this is the only sewage disposal option that you have if you want to dispose of the water into a stream, ditch, or other watercourses. Sewage treatment plants are good for the environment, hygienic, but do require an electricity supply for them to work. They also require regular maintenance to keep it working at optimum levels.

Do Sewage Treatment Plants Still Need Emptying?

Although sewage treatment plants do not store the same amount of solid waste as a septic tank, it is still important that it is emptied periodically. The regularity of the emptying of a sewage treatment plant depends on its usage, make, and size. This will ensure that it continues to work efficiently and reduce the chance of there being any issues with its effectiveness.

What Types of Sewage Treatment Plant Can You Buy?

Several different companies make good quality sewage treatment plants. These can include Conder, Clearwater, Klargester, Tricel, and Hydroclear. They all do the same job, but in slightly different ways and some brands have tanks that are made of different materials.

What Are the Rules and Regulations Around Sewage Treatment Plants?

If you are fitting a sewage treatment plant there are a number of rules and regulations that you need to follow:

  • The sewage treatment plant must be legally compliant – it must be EN 12566-3 2005 certified.
  • If you want the liquid effluent that is discharged from the sewage water plant to run into a watercourse, you should apply for a ‘consent to discharge’ from the local Environment Agency.
  • In some areas, planning permission is required to install a sewage treatment plant. You should check with your local authority to find out whether this applies to you.
Thursday 29th July 2021
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