Sewage Treatment Plant Buyers Guide. Free no obligation quotes available.

With the upcoming 2020 legislation changes and continued environmentally focused regulation, Septic Tanks are a thing of the past. Sewage Treatment Plants are the future. Call us on 0800 3101092 to arrange a FREE quote or contact us here.

Sewage Treatment Plant

A guide to 2020 septic tank regulation and what it means for Sewage Treatment Plants

The Environment Agency has created new general binding rules concerning septic tanks. One that discharges directly to surface water (ditch, river, etc.) must be replaced / upgraded to a full sewage treatment plant. This must be completed by 1st January 2020, or when you sell your property, if it is before this date.

You may be able to:

  • connect to mains sewer – where available
  • install a drainage field (also known as an infiltration system) so the septic tank can discharge to ground instead
  • replace your septic tank with a small sewage treatment plant

What legislation, rules and regulations need to be considered for a sewage treatment system?

Here starts our guide to buying a sewage treatment plant. Currently if you have a septic tank the local authorities will issue discharge permits. However, many authorities are now deeming septic tanks insufficient when it comes to the quality of effluent cleansing. National legislation will be introduced in 2020 rendering all septic tanks unfit for discharging into a watercourse. This will result in many properties requiring support from retrofit systems or complete replacement with a small sewerage treatment plant

Discharges from septic tanks, cess pits and small sewage treatment plants will need to be registered under the new legislation. In order to help our customers to understand this legislation; you will not need to register unless:

  • Discharge is to ground and is of 2 cubic metres per day or less. (the equivalent of a 9-person occupancy.)
  • Sewage is only domestic.
  • Sewage system is maintained in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions and you keep a record of all maintenance. In the case of septic tanks this includes regular emptying records.
  • Discharge does not cause pollution of surface water or groundwater.

Your treatment system must meet the right standards (As stated on GOV.UK website)

Your treatment system must meet the relevant British Standard which was in force at the time of installation. The standards currently in force for new systems are:

BS EN 12566 for small sewage treatment plants

BS 6297:2007 for drainage fields

Your treatment plant met the British Standard in place at the time of installation if:

  • it has a CE mark
  • the manual or other documentation that came with your tank or treatment plant has a certificate of compliance with a British Standard
  • it’s on British Water’s list of approved equipment

How does a sewage treatment plant work and how it is different to a Septic Tank?

  • A sewage treatment plant produces a clean, non-polluting effluent. This effluent can be discharged directly to a stream, ditch or to a soakaway for dispersal into the soil.
  • A septic tank produces a very polluting effluent. This must be discharged only to a soakaway for further treatment of the pollutants by the natural aerobic soil bacteria.
  • Sewage treatment plants have mechanical components, which mean that they need a permanent electrical supply to operate. There are no such components in a septic tank, and so it operates without a power supply.
  • The typical septic tank has two ‘zones’, whereas a sewage treatment plant typically has three.
  • A sewage treatment plant provides treatment of the waste, whereas a septic tank simply separates it. This means that the waste water that leaves a sewage treatment plant is cleaner than what leaves a septic tank. You still might not want to take a shower with it, but it’s certainly a lot more environmentally friendly.

What are the benefits?

A sewerage treatment plant produces cleaner waste water which can be discharged straight to a local watercourse. Many properties in the UK currently still have a septic tank that discharges to a local watercourse. This is opposed to a drainage field or soakaway. As of January 1st 2020, this is no longer legal.

What does this mean to you?

If you own a property with this drainage system, you must upgrade it by that date. If you are selling a property with this system in place before 2020, you must upgrade it before selling. In the event you are buying a property with a septic tank discharging to a watercourse make sure this is discussed! Until an agreement has been made about upgrading the system then don’t commit to purchase. Call our team on 08003101092 about our pre-purchase surveys so that you’ll know exactly what you’re taking on.

The Inner workings of a sewage Treatment Plant

How a sewage Treatment Plant

The Inner Workings of a Septic Tank

Septic Tank How it works

What size sewage treatment plant will I need?

Your treatment system must be installed properly and have enough capacity (As stated on GOV.UK website). 

Your treatment system must be large enough to handle the maximum amount of sewage it will need to treat. If you install a new small sewage treatment plant you must check with the installer that it meets the sizing requirements in British Water’s Flows and Loads 4 guidance.

If the amount of sewage the system needs to treat increases (for example, because you’ve extended your property or connected an additional property) you must make sure the treatment system is still big enough. You must also recalculate the maximum daily volume of your discharge and apply for a permit if it is more than 5 cubic metres (5,000 litres) a day.

Your treatment system must be installed in line with the manufacturer’s specification (the instruction manual or technical set of requirements that comes with the equipment).

Sewerage treatment plants come in all sizes. From small domestic systems for 4 people, right up to commercial sewerage treatment plants for 100s and 1000s of people.

There are a lot of variables to be considered when choosing what size sewerage treatment plant you need. The best way is to use the recently produced code of practice from British Water. This is called “Flows and Loads – 3”. Simply put, it bases the calculation on the number of bedrooms that your property has from a base of 3. I.e. if you have a 3 bedroom house you need a 5 PE system. This is a 5 Person Equivalent system that will treat sewage to give an effluent standard of 20 mg/l BOD, 30 mg/l SS and 20 mg/l Ammonia. For every additional bedroom you add another 1PE, so a 4 bedroom house requires a minimum 6 person plant.

How much electricity does a septic tank or sewage treatment plant and its system use?

Sewerage treatment plants use electricity to operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. You may be interested to know roughly how much owning one will cost you to run. Well this varies from manufacturer to manufacturer however this simple formula gives you a rough idea.

Watts (of pump) × 24 (hours) × 365 (days) ÷ 100000 × price per kilowatt

Here’s an example.If you had a Tricel Novo 6UK Domestic Sewage Treatment Plant, you would be using a 64 watt air blower. If your electricity was 14p per kilowatt the total cost would be £78.48 a year.

We cannot give you an exact figure as to the cost of running each and every system. This will depend on certain factors. You should check the price (per kilowatt) with your own electricity provider. How much your sewage treatment system will cost to run will depend on how much you pay for your electricity.

Which is the best domestic Sewage Treatment Plant?

As you can imagine this is a highly subjective question. We have our own opinion based on the quality of the tank, warranty, effluent quality, environmental credentials and how the tank works.

In short we like the Graf One2clean series for small domestic installations.

The Graf tanks are single chambered injection moulded systems set up to be ultra environmentally conscious from production through to output. They are also designed with no moving parts or mechanical elements making them reliable, less costly and easier to maintain. The tank comes with a 15 year warranty and 3 yr warranty on the technology.

  • Sustainability starts with the manufacturing, this type of tank tech normally requires 2.7 kWh per kg of plastic to produce, Graf have it down to between 0.38 and 0.5 kWh. Further all heat generated by the process is recovered and used to heat the companies logistics buildings. All the materials used are 100% recyclable
  • Electric usage is kept to a minimum, 46kWh per person per year for the One2Clean and 43kWh for the advanced, a 9w energy saving bulb uses 78kWh, normal sludge activated systems use 217kWh.
  • Both of the Graf systems only require one pumping process compared to three in normal systems, extending the life of the core air compressor and delivering the energy savings.
  • The unique way the system treats the waste minimises the level of sludge produced and generates market leading odourless effluent quality. Graf claim this leads to a carbon footprint of 25% compared to conventional wastewater treatment systems.

What is the next best domestic sewage treatment plant?

The disadvantage of the Graf Tank is that a low profile version is not available. This means in areas of high groundwater we prefer to install a different tank.

In these circumstances we use the Marsh Ensign Low Profile tank.

  • Tested to BSEN12566:3 and CE-marked to ensure compliance with latest environmental and Building Regulations requirements.
  • Class-leading effluent quality of 11.5:19.2:8.4 (BOD:SS:NH4) ensures discharges well within national consent standards
  • Three chamber system correctly sized for separation and retention of solids improves final effluent quality
  • Low energy compressors ensure minimal running, maintenance and servicing costs
  • High specification bio-media (310m3 per m2) and membrane diffusers ensure even circulation to eliminate ‘dead spots’
  • Internal recirculation (from final to primary chamber) continues treatment process to provide higher effluent quality whilst balancing flow over 24 hour period or periods of intermittent use.
  • 50 year design life.
  • 25 year structural guarantee.

New Forest Philosophy

Homeseptic is based in the New Forest in between the cities of Southampton, Salisbury and Bournemouth. We are a group of friends who grew up together in the area and grew tired of the way other Drainage firms are run. We want to actually put the customer first and turn up to do a good job we can be proud of. Unfortunately this is not the case in the market, with most companies pressuring their workers to sell unnecessary works on a visit. We are honest hardworking professionals, which we hope you will agree with. With we will not turn up in flash sales vehicles and give you a load of chat and then do a terrible job. We will come with the job in mind and to give you the best value we can in order to facilitate a quality installation.

We cover all of Hampshire, West Sussex, Dorset, Somerset and Wiltshire. Please get in touch and see what you think.

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