Care & Maintenance

Septic Tanks come in all shapes and sizes and in varying states of repair. Septic tanks are used for the storage and/or treatment of foul waste from any property that is not connected to mains drainage. Regardless of type, age, function or location all septic tanks require a regular empty, known as a de-sludge, to keep them in operational condition. If your property uses a septic tank or the like it is your responsibility to know how your system works and to ensure it is serviced regularly.


Modern septic tanks, sewage treatment plants and cesspits are designed to treat a specified volume of water over a daily period; this is calculated on maximum persons that could live in the property [not necessarily living in the property at that time] and allowing for a set amount of water per person.

Contact Us

Types of Tank – Primary Treatment

Septic Tank

A chamber or series of chambers, usually underground, that collects and holds sewage and allows a certain amount of decomposition by bacterial activity. Final effluent is discharged from the furthest point of the chamber where it typically enters a filter chamber or soakaway.

Sewage Treatment Plant

Treatment plants are the industrially evolved successors to septic tanks. They collect and store raw sewage but the treatment is technically advanced and generally involves mechanical agitation by either rotating drums, water pumps or air blowers. Due to the improved quality of final effluent the discharge may go directly to a watercourse [Environment Agency permitting].


Treatment plants are sewage works in miniature.


A large chamber designed to store raw sewage where mains sewage or a septic tank/sewage treatment plant is not permitted due to reasons such as pollution hazard or lack of available land to install a soakaway. Cesspits require frequent emptying and are designed to hold waste for up to 45 days between pump outs. They can be quite costly to operate due to the emptying costs and where possible alternative solutions should be sought.

Pump Chamber

Designed to pump liquids and, in some cases, small solids between to points. Some pump chambers are used in conjunction with a septic tank or treatment plant to pump final effluent away from the tank and into a soakaway, filter chamber or even mains drainage. Other pump chambers are used as a means of pumping all foul waste or surface water from a source to mains drainage.

Secondary Treatment

Soakaway/Drainage field

A network of underground pipes containing slots or holes, that allow final effluent to discharge slowly into the surrounding ground.

Filter Chamber

Usually a brick chamber, though some modern plastic or fibreglass alternatives are now available, that allows effluent from a septic tank to enter at the top where it is then dispersed over a stone or clinker bed capped with corrugated tin. The effluent drips down through the stone where bacterial action treats the liquid before it is discharge through an outlet pipe at the bottom of the chamber.

Septic Tanks and Drainage Systems – The Do’s and Don’ts


  • Understand how your system works and where all the inspection and access point are located.
  • Use septic tank friendly products such as cleaning materials and washing powders so the tank remains as healthy as possible
  • Do have routine empties by a responsible Waste Carrier. Incorporate the tank empty with a maintenance check to ensure everything is working correctly.
  • Do keep a service record of when your tank was emptied and inspected.
  • Do keep the area around the tank’s access point and drain inspection points clear of plants and other items to allow quick and easy access.
  • Look after your soakaway and filter chamber to make sure you’re not polluting the local environment.
  • Check with the Environment Agency when planning to install a new sewage treatment plant to ensure the unit is suitable.


  • Don’t use excessive quantities of bleach. Your tank uses bacterial action to break down the sewage and bleach, especially in large volumes, will kill the bacteria
  • Never flush wipes, sanitary towels, nappies, cigarette butts or other litter down the toilet. Your tank is not a bin.
  • Try not to wash food waste and coffee grounds from the kitchen sink. Do not pour fat or cooking oil down your drains – it will solidify in your drains causing blockages.
  • Never flush petrol, diesel, oil, paint thinners, solvents, weed killer or pesticides. They will kill the tank’s bacteria and could potentially create a pollution hazard for the local area.
  • Don’t use chemical drain cleaners to clear a blockage – Call a professional
  • Don’t surround your tank or soakaway with trees and shrubs; their roots will find their way into your system and compromise the efficiency of the tank and block the drains. Likewise, avoid driving on the area of the soakaway.
  • Do not connect surface water drains to your tank or drainage field. Excessive quantities of water will flush the bacteria away from the tank.
  • Don’t use soakaway crates to drain the effluent from your tank. They are not permitted by the environment.
  • Do not put dead animals into the tank. Contrary to myth they will not increase the tank’s life or performance
  • Never run the outlet pipe from your septic tank into a ditch or watercourse. This is illegal and carries a maximum fine of £100,000.00
  • Don’t leave the periods between your tank empties and inspections too long.