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Hi everyone, I’ve been reading a few threads on here in search of potential solutions and thought it might be wise to post my issue in the hope that someone may have some advice. We moved house about 8 months ago (Angus, Scotland), to a rural barn conversion with a few other properties around. We have a septic tank and foolishly didn’t have a tank inspection before buying. We just checked it was registered with SEPA and that soakaway which is in a neighboring field is in the deeds. Well it turns out the soakaway is ruined - the field’s owners alerted that something didn’t right about a month ago. We had the tank emptied and have a collapsed baffle. At first we thought we were looking at replacing the tank and soakaway which would be bad enough, but it turns out there are further issues. Our deeds only specify the corner of field where our current soakaway is located, and this is far too saturated to reuse (we’ve been advised that even a mound would be likely to fail), and the field’s owners won’t permit us to use another part of the field. Sadly our own garden is too small to fit a soakaway, especially as it is bounded by a road, so taking of the distance it has to be from the house and boundaries leaves about only a meter wide! So we are looking into a couple of options; 1: to upgrade to a sewage treatment plant and drain to a ditch. The catch being the closest ditch is about 150 meters away and would involve pumping up a slight incline. The other is 250 meters, mostly down a slight slope, but there is a rise of trees in the way too. The neighbours who own the soakaway field also own the woods beyond and are happy for us to drain to a ditch there, but we don’t actually know of any (they’re not on google maps). Hopefully over the holidays we can meet with them to see if they know of any, and assess how feasible it is. They have also mentioned the possibility of creating new drainage ditches. 2: there is another neighbour behind us (who we share a driveway with) who owns another couple of fields. We are thinking we could offer to add them to our treatment plant (it would still be the same size) for free if it means placing the soakaway in their field. The soakaway would need to be larger of course, but it beats having having a house with no sewage which is becoming a serious concern! Luckily, there are no issues in the house yet and water is still draining away (I’ve watched it through the inspection hole after a bath!), but we’ve been told it’s only a matter of time until things back up. So I’m after any advice! I was wondering if anyone has experience of draining to a ditch that is a similar distance away and/or maybe needs pumping uphill. Does it work, what we’re the install costs, what are the running costs, what happens if the pump fails? Has anyone gone through the process of getting approval from SEPA to drain to a any hints? Also, does anyone share a treatment plant/nothing I would be aware of? We are also open to any other creative solutions, as ultimately we need to figure something out! Many thanks in advance to anyone who can help:)
So I've a couple of places where soil and rainwater pipes have to cross each other. Invert depth at the treatment plant means that the soil pipes are basically on the surface at the current working level, and will have just on 300mm cover to FGL. The rainwater pipes can be pretty much any depth below this, we've almost a meter down to our open and piped ground drains. Before I go to the BCO and groundworks guy with a cunning plan for this, any easy answers or gotchas? I'm guessing that setting the pipes on pea gravel (or whatever single-size is offered) , wrapping in polythene and then haunching with dry kerb-mix ought to be the way? Or is it concrete slab time? But what about crossings? I can't see anything in the Approved Doc about them... Is the upper pipe negated when planning for the lower one? so 100mm of gravel between them? or does there need to be a barrier of some sorts? ta.
A (hopefully) useful learning point for those installing Biopure Sewage Treatment Plants We had a huge amount of rain fall yesterday afternoon, so much so that our deep flow gutters were at times unable to cope with the amount of water running off the roof. In the main, our drainage strategy coped very well, with all visible surface water being drained away within 10 minutes of the rain finishing. Given the volume of water that fell, I'm happy enough with this result. One issue that we did have was that surface water ran down a banking behind our treatment plant, and pooled on top of its lid. Up until now, any rainfall has simply run off the lid to the land surrounding, however yesterday, the flow / volume was too much, which resulted in the small air vent on top being submerged. Our air pump is located within an insert below the main lid, directly beneath the air vent. The insert filled with water, submerged the pump and tripped the electricity supply. There was no further damage caused to the treatment plant (i.e. being overwhelmed with surface water) as the pump housing insert was watertight. Taking advantage of a 10 minute break in the weather, I swapped out the pump with a spare and got the system back up and running without incident. On a positive note the IP68 rotary switch which connects the mains supply to the pump was bone dry when I opened it. The submerged pump has been stripped down and is currently drying out. The advice therefore is to ensure that the lid of the Treatment Plant remains proud of the surrounding ground, rather than level with or partly proud (as was the case for me), and ensure any surface water / heavy rain has somewhere to run off. If the worst happens, having a spare pump (as proved in this case) is certainly a worthwhile investment. Having identified this issue the hard way, I now have a small amount of diversion drainage work to undertake.
Reading the recent thread about treatment palnts has made me wonder if we are overcomplicating things. We have all sweated blood to reduce our heating bills by perhaps £1000 per year, and cut the concomitant environental impact. Good. But spending £400 or £600 a year to run a treatment plant seems to me to be a backward step, as it is as much as, or more than, mains connection (South West excepted!). As a household we are now on mains drainage, but at our old house we spent 15 years on a septic tank, which was then replaced for 15 years by an Aquatron (ie a whole house soil closet with an inert centrifugal separator - a plastic spiral with a hole in the middle - for Number 1s and Number 2s) . The Aquatron requirement was an initial install, no power, and a visit once a year with a wheelbarrow and shovel to get the compost. From the business end it felt just like the septic tank or mains connection. Is there another race-to-technological-gimmicks going on here - like the ones we have seen in Grand Designs where Sophie and Sebastian use the enviro-savings to install an enviro-cost which is not actually necessary. Just musing. Ferdinand