Septic tanks are an important part of disposing of and treating waste water in your property when you’re not connected to a mains sewer line.
They’re not something you might think about a lot, but it’s vital they get checked regularly.
The last thing you want is figuring out there’s a problem because you’ve got a flood of waste water around your property.
It’s advised to get tanks inspected every 1-3 years to check how they function and make sure they’re pumping water properly.
This limits flood risks and makes sure it’s doing its job.
It’s also good to get your tanks checked if you’re moving house.
When you move into a new property, whether it’s a home or a business (pub, cafe or restaurant, etc.) you should get them checked and pumped as you don’t know if previous owners looked after it properly.
If you’re leaving a house to go to a new one, it’s a good time to get your septic tank checked over to make sure the new owners don’t find any problems and hold you responsible.
By getting your septic tank checked regularly, you can catch any problems before they happen, preventing anything too serious from happening in the future.
There is legislation in place surrounding septic tanks, and if you aren’t compliant with these, then you can face fines from the EA (environment agency).
It’s worth keeping up to date with how your septic tank’s running, mainly so you don’t have to pay any fines but also to prevent any unwanted floods…because no one wants that.
It’s important to take care of your septic tank to prevent floods and potential fines. Here’s what you can do.
Simple steps to maintain your septic tank
Not many people know they can do a few simple things to maintain the condition of your septic tank.
Here’s are some things to look out for:
- By using a starter bacteria you can maintain a ‘good’ bacteria in your septic tank that would otherwise be lost when you pump it to remove waste and excess water.
- When you get your tank checked professionally and you find it’s getting full regularly, it could be because of heavy consumption. Try to conserve water in your home and check the septic tank to see how it’s working. If it’s still getting full too quickly, it could be another problem that will need to be identified.
- Avoid throwing food waste or other solids into the waste tank when you’re washing up. Even small bits of food can block the tank and cause overflowing and other issues.
- If you regularly pump the septic tank to empty it, it can check for any clogs and potential overflowing.
By doing what you can in your day to day life, you can prevent things from happening that could damage your home and potentially be very dangerous.
If you can spot any issues early, you can fix them sooner.
What can cause problems with your septic tank?
Any ground movement above the tank like heavy rain or construction projects around the tank can cause issues.
It can cause cracks in the septic tank and let groundwater in which will cause flooding and stop the tank from working properly.
To prevent this make sure any workers know about the tank before they start any construction work, to limit damage.
It may not seem like a problem at first, but putting a septic tank too close to a tree can also cause leaks.
The roots can put too much pressure on the tank which could cause a rupture and water leaks, disturbing the filtration of the sewage.
If you’re planning on installing a septic tank into a new building, make sure you check for any large tree roots that could cause damage.
Likewise, if you already have a septic tank, be cautious of planting any new trees around the tank to make sure the roots don’t disrupt the way it functions.
Something that can cause a big problem is the baffle that sits on top of the septic tank.
The baffle helps separate the waste from the water, and if it collapses it can cause water and waste to back up into your house.
Septic tank legislation
As mentioned above, if you don’t comply with septic tank legislation, you can get in trouble with the EA and face large fines.
Some rules you need to make sure you’re following are:
- The amount of sewage produced must be less than 2cu m per day.
- The sewage must be from a bathroom or kitchen from a home or business, like a pub or cafe.
- The sewage must not cause pollution to surface or groundwater.
- If your septic tank is discharging waste directly to surface water, then it needs replacing with immediate action.
Failure to comply with these rules and regulations could cost you a thousand pound fine, which could easily be avoided.
How easy is it to take care of your septic tank?
If you follow the simple steps above, you can ensure your septic tank will work efficiently and not cause any problems for surrounding areas of land and the building.
Calling in a professional can make the job even easier.
They’ll assess, inspect and take samples from your tank to confirm it’s compliant with legislation.
A lot of the time, professionals are called in, but unplanned visits can also take place, so it’s best to try and look after it as much as you can.
The main reasons for maintaining your tank is to prevent floods, limit damage to the actual tank and avoid fines.