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Septic Tanks

Septic tanks are systems that collect and clean wastewater in homes, businesses and other areas that are off-mains. Typically made from GRP or plastic, septic tanks remove solids and a certain level of bacteria from wastewater to make this water suitable for release into a soakaway system. Septic tanks do not treat the sewage enough for the water to be released into a water course. For this, you require a sewage treatment plant. Use our guide to sewage treatment plants if this applies to you. 

Septic tanks are onion shaped with a bottle neck at the top for access to the system. Covered by an access cover, often of A15 pedestrian-only weight class, the lids are for maintenance access. Septic tanks are very low maintenance and only need to be emptied, or desludged, once every 1-2 years. When septic tanks are well-installed and well-maintained they can last for over 20 years easily, serving the household, office, caravan park or off-mains industrial building they’re connected to.

Installation need only be around 2m deep but in areas with hard rock beneath, septic tanks come in flatter shapes. Known as shallow dig septic tanks or low profile septic tanks, these tanks are designed so that there’s no need to excavate as deep, so you dig wider instead. From brands like Graf, Marsh and Kingspan Clearwater, they are manufactured from reliable and trusted names. 

Do you need planning permission for septic tanks?

Planning permission will need to be obtained if the property doesn’t already have an off-mains sewage treatment system. If the property has a septic tank already and you’re looking to replace this then you don’t need planning permission. You do however have to notify the local council and operate under a Building Notice.

There are also instances where you need to claim a special permit for installation of a septic tank. You DO NOT need a special permit if the waste is domestic (from a toilet, bathroom, pub, office etc.), and if the waste won’t cause pollution. Agricultural and industrial waste for example, regardless of planning permission, will require a permit from the local authority.

Rules and regulations exist around releasing the treated water to prevent harm to the environment and local wildlife. For example, you cannot install a septic tank within 50 metres of a private water supply, and you must apply for permits if you’re in a groundwater source protection zone. You can find out if you’re in a groundwater protection zone by contacting the Environment Agency.

How do you clean a septic tank?

A septic tank must be emptied regularly, dependent on your model and its capacity, by a professional service provider. This provider must be fully licensed and insured by the Environment Agency to ensure they make a good job of it. Since there are certain areas where a septic tank is not allowed and some restrictions on how close it can be to buildings, watercourses and other areas, all spillages must be reported to Environment Agency. 

For domestic septic tanks that are a few things that you can use to clean the septic tank between it being emptied. This will endeavour to reduce any smell. 

Products in Septic Tanks:

Showing 1-32 of 32 products

Showing 1-32 of 32