The following Septic Tanks and Soakaway guidance notes may be helpful to you should you have a problem with your soakaway. Sometimes it is possible for a householder to solve the problems themselves although on occasion the problems are deep seated and need the assistance of trained drains engineers.

When called out to a property where they are not connected to mains drainage and the customer has a septic tank the following questions are first asked by the drains contractor and they may help you in sorting out the problem.

If you have a problem with a soakaway or septic tank that needs professional help call EcoDrains

  • Does water collect on the surface of the ground in the area of the septic tank soakaway?

    This is a sign that the soakaway has failed, and is not allowing the untreated effluent to drain away effectively.

  • Do the drains ever become blocked and cause a ‘backup’?

    Again, this can be a sign that the soakaway is not functioning correctly, is blocked by solids, and the untreated effluent is not able to drain away.

  • Are there offensive odours from the area of the septic tank or cesspool?

    A septic tank does not treat sewage, but merely settles solids, and then allows the remaining untreated liquid to drain away. A cesspool simply contains the effluent and requires regular emptying. Both methods often result in nauseous smells.

  • Does the septic tank drain into a watercourse or ditch?

    Some older installations may drain into a nearby watercourse or ditch, allowing untreated effluent to be discharged straight into the environment. This is illegal and the householder could be prosecuted.

  • Do you have to empty your septic tank more than once a year?

    If you do, this is an indication that the tank is undersized for your property and is not functioning effectively. This in turn makes it expensive to operate and can lead to solids blocking the soakaway.

  • Do you rarely, if ever, empty your septic tank or cesspool?

    If this is the case, then your tank may be damaged and/or leaking untreated effluent into the ground and therefore polluting the surrounding property and environment.

  • Have you extended or are planning to extend the property?

    A septic tank or cesspool is designed to suit a specific number of people within a property. If this is increased then it is probable that the tank will require upgrading.