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Septic tanks are an essential on-site sewage facility that needs to be maintained regularly to ensure you comply with current regulations and prevent sewage backing up. Signs of wear and tear will often creep in due to excess use, requiring a septic tank repair. But, when will you need a septic tank replacement?

What are Septic Tanks?

Septic tanks are a type of underground sedimentation tank that safely dispose of wastewater and sewage from commercial and domestic properties not connected to the main sewage line. The primary function of a septic tank is to separate any solids within wastewater or sewage from the liquid.

Conventional septic tanks are comprised of two chambers that are separated by a split wall. Any form of wastewater or sewage from toilets, kitchens or sinks will enter the first chamber, where they will be held until the solid waste separates from the liquid. Fats, oils and grease will float to the top of the tank and form a thin crust, also known as scum. Excrement and food waste will fall to the bottom of the tank and form a layer of sludge.

Once the liquid has been separated from the solid waste, it will filter through to the second chamber. The split wall prevents the top layer of crust and the bottom layer of sludge from entering the second chamber. The remaining wastewater is then safely discharged into the ground nearby the septic tank known as a soakaway or drainage field.

Inside A Septic Tank

Typical Signs Your Septic Tank Needs Attention

Septic tanks can be susceptible to damage and wastewater backing up if they aren’t emptied or maintained regularly. There are several signs that indicate your septic tank needs attention:

  • Gurgling sounds in your pipes
  • Water draining slower than normal
  • Foul smells coming from your drainage system
  • Excess water pooling in the ground near your septic tank
  • Issues flushing your toilet

If you experience any of the following problems, it’s highly recommended to contact a septic tank specialist who will identify the source of the issue and resolve it before it becomes a more severe issue later on.

Preventing Problems With Your Septic Tank

Failing to maintain and empty your septic tank regularly may result in a residual build-up of waste or sewage, leading to sewage overflowing or blockages. Not only can this damage your septic tank, resulting in costly and time-consuming repairs, but it runs the risk of contaminating the ground in the surrounding area. To avoid these issues, we’d recommend your septic tank is emptied at least once a year. Any waste or sewage removed from a septic tank must be taken to a licensed waste facility and disposed of correctly to minimise the impact on the environment.

Routine septic tank maintenance is another option to prevent unexpected problems. During a standard maintenance service, the septic tank is not only emptied and cleaned but checked rigorously to ensure it is in good working order and compliant with current regulations.

When Should You Get a Septic Tank Replacement?

A septic tanks life expectancy can vary due to several factors, including the material it’s made of and the environment it’s situated in. Generally speaking, a septic tank can last anywhere between 15 to 40 years as long as they are maintained correctly. If the septic tank has been neglected, damages such as leaks, cracks or blockages, will materialise and in the event of the problem being too severe for repair, a septic tank replacement will be needed.

The other cause of a septic tank replacement is to ensure you comply with regulations. In the UK, these are called the General Binding Rules. The General Binding Rules regulate small sewage discharges and apply to operators of septic tanks or small sewage treatment plants.

Older septic tanks often discharge into watercourses like rivers, streams, brooks either directly or indirectly. The General Binding Rules protect watercourses from pollution such as the untreated wastewater discharged from septic tanks.

As of January 1st 2020, it is now mandatory for all septic tanks to discharge into a compliant drainage field or sewage treatment plant. Sewage treatment plants effectively break down solid waste to remove contaminants, producing a cleaner, more environmentally friendly effluent which can then enter the watercourse. If your septic tank discharges into a watercourse, it must be replaced as soon as possible.

Contact a Septic Tank Replacement Specialist

Regular septic tank emptying and cleaning will ensure your tank remains in tip-top condition and prevent unwanted blockages and sewage build-up. At Metro Rod, we have more than 35 years of experience in septic tank emptying and installations. All our engineers are fully trained to provide you with expert septic tank services that are quick, hassle-free and cause minimal disruption.

For routine septic tank emptying, maintenance and installation services, get in touch with your local depot today or call us on 0800 66 88 00.

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