Poor Ground Conditions

The soakaway being constructed in ground conditions which are non-permeable such as sandy clay, silt clay and clay.  This would result in the effluent that discharges to the soakaway filling the soakaway and subsequent flooding of the septic tank, or potentially effluent bursting out of the ground causing a health hazard.

It is important that the percolation characteristics of the ground are suitable in both summer and winter months.  To identify whether the ground conditions are suitable for a drainage field / soakaway and to determine the size required it is necessary to conduct a Percolation Test. Without the results of a Percolation Test there is no way of knowing the size of drainage field / soakaway required or if this disposal method would indeed work.

Can my septic tank discharge to a ditch, stream or river?

The effluent from a septic tank is disposed of to a drainage field / soakaway. Under no circumstances should it be allowed to discharge to a ditch, stream or river.  Such a discharge is an offence under the Public Health and Water Resources Acts and renders the offender liable to prosecution by the Statutory Authorities.

In many parts of the UK it is common to find older septic tanks discharging direct to a watercourse.  This is mainly due to septic tanks being installed in areas where the ground conditions do not favour a soakaway system, and as a result the original soakaway has been extended to a nearby watercourse.  No matter how long a septic tank has been discharging to a ditch or any other watercourse, it is still an offence.

Septic tanks can be upgraded into sewage treatment plants by installing a Mantair conversion unit which complies with the requirements of an Environment Agency Permit.

Why does my septic tank smell?

The process within a septic tank is called ‘anaerobic digestion’ which reduces the sludge volume.  During the digestion process methane, hydrogen sulphide and other gases are produced and these gases can in some cases cause a serious odour nuisance.

Septic tanks should be correctly vented to allow the noxious gases to escape to the atmosphere.

Septic tank failure

Septic tank failures can be the cause of various issues for homeowners with some of the most common failures being associated with odour nuisance and pollution in watercourses. However, the most common septic tank failure we come across is where the existing septic tank is flooding due to the receiving soakaway failing.

Septic tanks can be in the form of a traditionally built tank from either brick or concrete, or in the form of a prefabricated tank.  Problems can be experienced with all types of septic tank, and all septic tanks are designed to promote the growth of anaerobic micro-organisms which partially degrade the receiving waste water.

Did you know that the cost to resolve your septic tank failure may be covered by your existing buildings insurance policy?

Mantair works in partnership with UKDP, to offer a unique insurance claims management service. Providing expertise in managing insurance claims for the costs of repairing or replacing damaged drainage systems, we work on behalf of property owners, helping them to save thousands of pounds in resolving their septic tank failures.  Read more

Call our team today to find out more about how we can help solve your septic tank failure.  01255 476467.

Septic Tank Floodingsoakaway-failureseptic-tank-problems

Common Septic Tank Failures Explained.

The process within a septic tank is called ‘anaerobic digestion’ which reduces the sludge volume.  During the digestion process methane, hydrogen sulphide and other gases are produced and these gases can in some cases cause a serious odour nuisance.

Septic tanks should be correctly vented to allow the noxious gases to escape to the atmosphere.

Can my septic tank discharge to a ditch, stream or river?

The effluent from a septic tank is disposed of to a drainage field / soakaway. Under no circumstances should it be allowed to discharge to a ditch, stream or river.  Such a discharge is an offence under the Public Health and Water Resources Acts and renders the offender liable to prosecution by the Statutory Authorities. Read more….

My septic tank is flooding?

There are many reasons which may cause a septic tank to flood and these can range from something as a simple as an outlet ‘dip pipe’ being blocked to more serious problems involving the receiving soakaway system.

The effluent level inside a septic tank should be at the level of the outlet pipe.  In some instances either the inlet or outlet pipes for a septic tank can become blocked with materials such as fat or tissue.  If the inlet ‘dip pipe’ becomes blocked this would result in the foul drainage to the tank flooding, and this is more common in older traditionally built septic tanks.  If the outlet ‘dip pipe’ becomes blocked this would result in both the septic tank and incoming foul drainage pipe work flooding.  In some cases it is only necessary to clear the blockage with drainage rods.

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The most common cause for a septic tank flooding is due to the receiving soakaway and not the septic tank.  If a soakaway fails and prevents the effluent from percolating through the ground this will result in the soakaway, septic tank and the foul drainage pipe work surcharging.  Septic tank soakaways can fail for a number of reasons and these include:

Ground Conditions

The soakaway being constructed in ground conditions which are non-permeable such as sandy clay, silt clay and clay.  This would result in the effluent that discharges to the soakaway filling the soakaway and subsequent flooding of the septic tank, or potentially effluent bursting out of the ground causing a health hazard.

It is important that the percolation characteristics of the ground are suitable in both summer and winter months.  To identify whether the ground conditions are suitable for a drainage field / soakaway and to determine the size required it is necessary to conduct a Percolation Test. Without the results of a Percolation Test there is no way of knowing the size of drainage field / soakaway required or if this disposal method would indeed work.

Natural Water Table

The drainage field / soakaway being under the natural water table.  This can often be the cause for septic tank soakaway systems failing during winter months only.  When a drainage field / soakaway is operating underneath the natural water table the septic tank, soakaway and foul drainage pipework will be at the same level as the surrounding water table and as a result the flooding within the system can be moderate or severe.

Problems with septic tank systems operating in high water table areas can be overcome by installing a Mantair septic tank conversion system.

Root Ingress

The drainage field / soakaway being constructed in close proximity to trees and shrubs.  Roots of trees and shrubs planted too close to a drainage field / soakaway can enter the drainage pipe work and block the pipes.  Root ingress into drainage fields / soakaways is the cause of many systems blocking and as a result flooding of the septic tank system. Mantair works in partnership with UKDP to offer a unique insurance claims management service to our customers for situations where root ingress has damaged a drainage system.

Physical Damage

Physical damage to the drainage field / soakaway.  In some cases a septic tank can flood due to the receiving soakaway pipe work becoming damaged and broken.  This can often be due to heavy machinery moving over the soakaway and crushing the pipes.  Older ‘but-jointing’ soakaway systems were constructed using clay wear pipes and it is common for these clay wear pipes to become dislodged due to ground movement, resulting in soil entering the pipe work and blocking the soakaway.

Increase in Flow

Additional waste water entering the septic tank.  A septic tank and the receiving drainage field / soakaway are designed to cater for a certain volume of flow per day.  If the flow being discharged to a septic tank increases and the tank is not designed for this additional flow then problems can be experienced with both the septic tank and drainage field / soakaway system.

Sodium Binding

Excessive use of detergent based products i.e. dishwasher tablets, washing powders etc. will lead to eventual failure of the soakaway.  This is caused by a process called sodium binding where the sodium present in detergents cause any silt or clay particles in the sub soil to bind together to form am impervious layer.  The same effect occurs if a water softener is present as the softened water will have relatively high sodium content.

Age of the Soakaway

Older drainage fields / soakaways can fail due to a build-up of sludge solids.  The level of sludge solids passing through the septic tank are due to a number of reasons, including size of the tank, nature of the waste water and emptying frequency.

Septic tank failure

There are various reasons why septic tanks fail and some of the most common causes are as follows:

Septic tank baffled collapsed

Within most prefabricated septic tanks are internal baffles or cones which are designed to prevent solids and floating material from passing through the tank.  In some instances baffles and cones can collapse resulting in solids and floating material passing through the tank and into the soakaway network.

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Prefabricated tanks can also implode if there is substantial ground movement around the tank or if the tank hasn’t been installed using the correct back-fill material.  If these tanks are not back-filled with concrete this can result in flotation of the tank especially when a tank is emptied during wet weather periods.

Mantair works in partnership with UKDP to offer a unique insurance claims management service to our customers for situations where an existing septic tank baffle has collapse or where the tank has imploded or split.

Traditionally Built Tanks

One of the most common failures on traditionally built septic tanks is when the dip pipes fall away from the inlet or outlet pipes.  This can sometimes occur when the septic tank is emptied.

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Concrete septic tanks can crack and leak allowing ground water ingress.  If ground or surface water enters a tank this can result in flooding and failure of the soakaway.  Excessive water ingress into a septic tank would result in sludge solids passing through the tank and into the soakaway, resulting in failure of the soakaway.

Mantair are able to identify whether the damage to your septic tank might be covered by your insurance policy.  If so, Mantair in association with UKDP we will be able to manage a claim on your behalf.

Potential problems for Septic Tanks

Excessive draining of cooking oils and grease can cause the inlet drains to block.  Oils and grease are difficult to degrade and can cause difficulties with the emptying. Disposing of non-biodegradable items such as nappies and baby wipes will rapidly clog the septic tank and these items should not be discharged to the tank at any point. Certain chemicals should not be discharged to septic tanks, including pesticides, herbicides, paint, solvents or high levels of bleach.

Septic tank failure signs
  • Drain or sewage backup;
  • Discharge of effluent to surface or watercourse;
  • Effluent level above the septic tank inlet;
  • Septic tank being emptied frequently;
  • Depression area over the septic tank or soakaway.
Septic tank solutions

As detailed throughout this page, there are various reasons for septic tank problems.  The solution will depend on a number of factors and it is advisable that professional advice is sought prior to any remedial works taking place.

Can my Septic tank be upgraded or converted?

The majority of septic tank problems in the UK can be overcome by installing a Mantair septic tank conversion unit.  The Mantair unit is specifically designed to be installed within an existing septic tank or cesspool, converting the existing tank into a sewage treatment plant.

The Environment Agency recognises the Mantair unit as a sewage treatment system and provides Permit Certificates approving the discharge from these systems direct to ditches and streams, thus removing the need for a soakaway network.  All Mantair units are designed to ensure that the completed installation complies with the requirements of the Environment Agency and Building Regulations.

Call our team today to receive a free site visit regarding a septic tank failure on 01255 476467.

Can my Septic tank be upgraded or converted?

The majority of septic tank problems can be overcome by installing a Mantair septic tank conversion unit.  The Mantair unit is specifically designed to be installed within an existing septic tank or cesspool, converting the existing tank into a sewage treatment plant.

The Environment Agency recognises the Mantair unit as a sewage treatment system and provides Permit Certificates approving the discharge from these systems direct to ditches and streams, thus removing the need for a soakaway network.  All Mantair units are designed to ensure that the completed installation complies with the requirements of the Environment Agency and Building Regulations.  Read more

Posted in FAQ

Septic Tank Problem – Cromer Lodge, Felbrigg, Norfolk.

Part of the former Gate Lodge to Felbrigg Hall, Cromer Lodge is a quirky, cosy cottage situated at the entrance to Felbrigg Hall Estate in Norfolk.  Guests staying at Cromer Lodge enjoy easy access to park and woodland walks through Felbrigg Estate, whilst the Norfolk town of Cromer is only ten minutes drive away.

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Whilst surveying several drainage systems at Felbrigg Estate for the National Trust, Mantair engineers identified that the septic tank serving Cromer Lodge was in need of replacement.  The results of the septic tank survey identified the soakaway system connected to the existing septic tank was functioning correctly, allowing the discharged effluent from the septic tank to percolate into the sub strata.

Cromer Lodge is a National Trust Holiday Cottage for persons visiting Norfolk on holiday and as such the variations in flow can alter dependent from high to low seasons.  In view of this and the ground conditions being suitable for a soakaway system, Mantair recommended that a septic tank would be more suitable than a sewage treatment plant.  Sewage treatment plants can be susceptible to variations in flow.

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With the soakaway system functioning effectively and the cause of the problem being with the septic tank itself, Mantair engineers recommended that the only remedial works required would be replacing the existing failed septic tank with a modern septic tank.

With Cromer Lodge being a Holiday Cottage it was essential that all works were carried out and completed during a period when no guests were staying at the cottage.  This septic tank installation in Norfolk was carried out and completed over a period of only two days, ensuring no holiday bookings were affected.

Prior to any works commencing Mantair engineers scanned the proposed location of the new septic tank to ensure that no underground services were present.

The septic tank was delivered to Cromer Lodge using one of Mantair’s delivery vehicles after it had been inspected at Mantair’s head offices in Essex.  All septic tanks and sewage treatment plants Mantair provides are inspected prior to approval for delivery.

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The scope of the works included:

  • Exposing the existing foul drainage pipe work and installation of new drainage to the location of the new septic tank system;
  • Excavation of suitably sized hole in preparation for the installation of the septic tank;
  • Installation of the septic tank, including for a concrete surround;
  • Installing a new discharge drain from the septic tank to the existing soakaway system;
  • Emptying and filling-in of the old septic tank system;
  • Removal from site of all surplus excavated areas;
  • Backfilling all excavations and leaving the area neat and tidy.

On completion of the ancillary works Mantair commissioned the septic tank system and removed all machinery from site, leaving the garden area in a neat and tidy manner.

Mantair provides a comprehensive septic tank and sewage treatment plant service throughout Norfolk. This includes free site inspections, guidance and advice on the most suitable system for our client’s requirements, complete installation and full after sales care for both septic tanks and sewage treatment plants throughout Norfolk and East Anglia.

If you would like a Mantair engineer to visit you please fill out the form below or contact us on 01255 476467.

Sewage Treatment Plant Installation in Suffolk – National Trust

Sewage treatment plants offer Suffolk homeowners with a modern alternative to septic tank systems for areas not serviced by mains drainage. As leading independent installers and service providers for sewage treatment plants in Suffolk, Mantair is ideally placed to provide Suffolk homeowners with a sewage treatment plant to meet their site requirements, or provide the expertise required for assessing septic tank problems.

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Located on the National Trust’s Ickworth Estate near Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk, in an area of outstanding beauty is “The Roundhouse”.  After the renovation of the property Mantair were appointed by the National Trust as the preferred contractor to provide a design, installation and commissioning service for the upgrading of an ageing septic tank serving the property.

Mantair engineers carried out a detailed survey of the location to determine the ground conditions of the site and to evaluate the position of underground services.  The results of a Percolation Test showed the sub-strata to be impermeable and that a replacement septic tank soakaway system would not operate effectively.

After considering all the various options for foul drainage disposal and the size of the property, Mantair recommended the installation of a six – person sewage treatment plant with a discharge direct to a nearby watercourse.  It was important that the chosen treatment system was installed below ground to ensure there was no visual impact on the properties surroundings.

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As part of the project Mantair liaised with the Environment Agency and the local Building Control Department to obtain the relevant approvals for the installation of the sewage treatment plant and the discharge to the nearby watercourse.

Taking into account all of the site requirements, Mantair recommended the installation a Tricel sewage treatment plant with MEDO air blower.

As with all underground septic tank and sewage treatment plant installations Mantair carries out, the tank was completely encased in concrete to ensure the structural integrity of the tank is not impaired and to prevent the potential of flotation of the tank.

The installation of the sewage treatment plant included:

  • Exposing the existing foul drainage pipe work and diverting to the location of the new Tricel sewage treatment plant;
  • Installation of the Tricel sewage treatment plant in a suitably sized excavation and back-fill;
  • Locating the air blower within a Beehive blower housing – a purpose built housing designed to blend into the natural surroundings;
  • Provision of an RCD protected power supply to the Beehive housing;
  • Installation of the air main from the air blower to the Tricel sewage treatment plant;
  • Installation of a new 110mm diameter discharge drain to the receiving watercourse, including for the installation of a headwall;
  • Backfilling all excavations and leaving the area neat and tidy.

On completion of the ancillary works Mantair commissioned the Tricel sewage treatment plant, including setting of air valves, checking all pipe work joints and viewing the discharge into the final discharge chamber.

After all works were completed at this Suffolk location, Mantair provided the National Trust with a Maintenance Agreement providing a full after care service for the newly installed sewage treatment plant.

Mantair provides a comprehensive septic tank and sewage treatment plant service throughout Suffolk. This includes free site inspections, guidance and advice on the most suitable system for our client’s requirements, complete installation, commissioning and full after sales care.

If you would like a Mantair engineer to visit you please fill out the form below or contact us on 01255 476467.

 

Sewage Treatment Plant Installation Arrington, Cambridgeshire.

Located on the delightful Wimpole Estate in South Cambridgeshire is Rectory Bungalow.  After the renovation of the property in 2012, Mantair were appointed by the National Trust as the preferred contractor to provide a design, installation and commissioning service for the upgrading of an ageing septic tank serving the property.

Survey & Design

On viewing the drainage layout of the property it was found that the existing septic tank was located close to a willow tree.  On inspection of the septic tank it was found that the tank had substantial root ingress which had resulted in the structural integrity of the tank being impaired.  It was therefore necessary to provide a sewage treatment solution that would require the installation of a new tank.

A detailed survey was carried which included a Percolation Test.  The results of the Percolation Test showed that the sub-strata was impermeable and that a replacement septic tank soakaway system would not operate effectively.

After considering all the various options for foul drainage disposal and the size of the property, Mantair recommended the installation of six person sewage treatment plant with a discharge direct to a nearby watercourse.  It was important that the chosen sewage treatment sewage treatment plant was installed below ground to ensure there was no visual impact on the properties surroundings.

As part of the project Mantair liaised with the Environment Agency and the local Building Control Department to obtain the relevant approvals for the installation and the discharge to the nearby watercourse.

Installation

Prior to any ancillary works commencing Mantair engineers scanned the proposed location of the new sewage treatment plant and areas where any excavations were taking place to ensure that no underground services were present.

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The scope of the installation works included:

  • Exposing the existing foul drainage pipe work and diverting to the location of the new sewage treatment plant;
  • Installation of the sewage treatment plant in a suitably sized excavation, including for a concrete base and backfill;
  • Provision of an RCD protected power supply to the sewage treatment plant installation;
  • Installation of a new 110mm diameter discharge drain to the boundary ditch;
  • De-commissioning of the failed septic tank;
  • Backfilling all excavations and leaving the area neat and tidy.
Commissioning

On completion of the ancillary works Mantair commissioned the new sewage treatment plant, including setting of air valves, checking all pipe work joints and viewing the discharge into the final discharge chamber.

All machinery was removed from site with the garden being left in a neat and tidy manner.

If you require assistance with a septic tank problem in Cambridgeshire or have a requirement for a new sewage treatment plant or septic tank, call our team today to receive a free site visit.

 

Septic Tank Upgrade – Mill Cottage, Blickling, Norfolk

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Located on the delightful Blickling Estate in North Norfolk is Mill Cottage, a three bedroomed house on the banks of the river Bure, adjacent to the now redundant Blickling Mill buildings and race.  After the renovation of the property Mantair were appointed as the preferred contractor to provide a design, installation and commissioning service for the upgrading of an ageing septic tank.

On inspection of the existing septic tank it was found that the tank did not have enough capacity to enable the installation of a Mantair septic tank conversion unit.  It was therefore necessary to provide a treatment solution that involved the installation of a new tank.

With the property being on the banks of the river Bure, the natural water table in the ground is only 2ft below ground level.  With the natural water table being this high a new soakaway system would not function and it was therefore decided to install a sewage treatment system which would allow the overflow to be discharged into the river Bure.

septic tank upgrade norfolk River Bure Norfolk

When considering all of the sewage treatment plants available for a site such, Mantair identified that the Puraflo Peat sewage treatment system provided the best economical and efficient solution to overcome the drainage issues at the property.  Unlike other sewage treatment plants the Puraflo Peat sewage treatment system does not require the installation of a deep underground tank as the system is installed partially above ground reducing the excavation depth to a minimum.

It is however, necessary to have a septic tank ahead of the Puraflo system to trap solids and floating matter.  With this in mind, it was decided to utilise the existing septic tank and install a pumping station after the tank.  The liquids discharged from the septic tank would drain into the new pumping station and be pumped to the Puraflo sewage treatment plant.

At the heart of the Puraflo sewage treatment system is the Peat Bio Filter, an efficient filter that is made from 100% natural resources.  A combination of biological and chemical processes inherent in natural peat treats the receiving wastewater from septic tank and filters it through the bio-fibrous peat modules.  The resulting treated effluent is clean enough for discharge direct into the river.

As part of the project Mantair liaised with the Environment Agency and the local CNC Building Control to obtain the relevant approvals for the installation and the discharge into the river Bure.

Mantair engineers not only installed and commissioned the Puraflo sewage treatment plant with minimal disturbance, but have also provided a full after care service including planned maintenance visits.

If you require assistance with a septic tank problem or have a requirement for a new sewage treatment plant or septic tank, call our team today to receive a free site visit.

 

Orford Ness Nature Reserve, Suffolk – Sewage Treatment Plant Installation.

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Orford Ness is a 10 mile shingle spit of land off the Suffolk coastline and is separated from the mainland by the River Ore.  Orford Ness is the largest vegetated shingle spit in Europe and is both a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and is also a RAMSAR Site.

Top secret military testing was carried out at this designated Outstanding Area of Natural Beauty during both World Wars and Orford Ness was home to both the Ministry of Defence’s Experimental Flying Research Station, and after World War 2, the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment.

Orford Ness in Suffolk is now owned by the National Trust and is open to the public for parts of the year.  Due to an ineffective septic tank soakaway system serving the waste water facilities on the Ness, the National Trust asked Mantair to investigate and provide a solution to the problem, taking into account the wide variation in waste water flow between winter and summer months.

Prior to the design element of the project, Mantair carried out a full site investigation including a detailed land survey for unexploded ammunitions and underground services.  Following the various preliminary site surveys, Mantair liaised with the Environment Agency, English Nature and Suffolk Coastal District Council regarding the project to determine an acceptable wastewater treatment solution.

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Taking into account that Orford Ness is an internationally important site for nature conservation, the Environment Agency and English Nature accepted Mantair’s waste water treatment proposal which comprised two sewage treatment systems and a flow splitting chamber which allows the flow to be diverted to either of the two systems.  For low season during winter, a Mantair septic tank conversion system was fitted within the existing septic tank, converting the tank into a fully functioning sewage treatment plant.  In summer the Ness is open to the public and the waste water flow increases substantially.  A 42PE Tricel packaged sewage treatment plant was installed to cater for the increase in flow during summer.

The Orford Ness project in Suffolk posed significant challenges to Mantair engineers as there is still dangerous debris buried on the Ness, including bombs, and the only access onto Orford Ness is from Aldeburgh along shingle beach on a Unimog vehicle, or from Orford Quay on a landing craft.  Timing was also crucial on the project as the water table on the Ness is affected by the tide and all excavations had to be carried out within a certain time frame.

Despite the complexity of the Orford Ness project, the pre-planning and experience of the Mantair engineers ensured that the project was completed efficiently and without any problems.

If you require assistance with a septic tank problem or have a requirement for a new sewage treatment plant or septic tank, call our team today to receive a free site visit on 01255 476467.