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How does my septic tank work?

30th November 2020

How does my septic tank work?

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So you have just moved into a house with a septic tank and have no idea how they work or you have the need to troubleshoot your septic tank, then you have come to the right place.

How does a septic tank work?

With Norfolk’s striking architecture, lush garden estates and vast beachfronts set against a tapestry of fields, hedgerows and quaint villages there isn’t much not to love about rural life. However these picturesque landscapes leave few modern drainage options available to dispose of your household waste.  Rural properties commonly have septic tanks installed, where there is no mains drainage available, to treat their wastewater.

It is usually buried underground near the property and will either be rectangular and made of brick, stone or concrete, more modern tanks will be a bottle-shaped plastic tank.

How does my septic system work?

If you have find yourself asking "how do septic tanks work", then you have come to the right place. A septic system slows the sewerage to allow time for enzymes to break down the contaminants in the sewerage. The septic tank is a collection point for the sewerage which allows sludge to settle leaving the liquid effluent on top. As the liquid waste in a septic system has a low level of contamination it can safely flow out of the tank through a soak away system and discharged into the ground in a drainage field.

Septic Tank Metro Rod WY

What are my responsibilities?

If you own or use a property with a septic tank it is your responsibility to ensure that the discharge from the tank does not affect the environment.

If you own, use, or are thinking of getting a septic tank installed, the quality of the discharge and its impact on the environment is your responsibility. You may be held accountable for any pollution caused by your septic tank. You are also responsible for ensuring that:

  • Your septic tank is properly maintained
  • The septic tank access lids are secure and in good working order
  • There are no blockages in any part of the system including the drains leading to and from the septic tank and the soakaway.
  • That the system meets the General Binding Rules set out by the Environmental agency.

Click here to read our article about the General Binding Rules.

What do I need to do to maintain my tank?

If your septic tank isn’t maintained properly it can fail which could then back up and flood your property with raw sewage. To make matters worse it can end up in the local environment causing a hazard to rivers, streams and waterways.

Depending on what type of tank you have your required maintenance will vary, however in general a household septic tank should be emptied once every 12 months. When on site one of our engineers will be able to check what type of tank you have and what the manufacturers maintenance guidelines are.

Need help troubleshooting your tank? Take the quiz below.


Septic Tank Reminder

Need to be reminded to empty your tank? Fill in the form below and we will send you a reminder when you are due for an empty again.

Talk to you local metrorod specialist

Talk to your local Metro Rod specialist

We are always happy to arrange a free site assessment and no obligation quotations for any work you might need. Alternatively, you can call our emergency hotline number on 0800 66 88 00

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