At The UK Drainage Professionals, resolving septic tank problems across the UK is all in a day's work for our team. From our technical and customer service teams in the office, to our team of field engineers traveling the length and breadth of the country, we're helping customers every day who are having problems with their drainage systems. Naturally, as we are septic tank specialists, we usually find ourselves in the more rural parts of the UK, and on this particular occasion we travelled to visit a customer living in leafy Norfolk.
Our customer service team took a call from this property owner in Norfolk, who had not actually experienced problems as yet with her septic tank and soakaway system. Whilst in most instances, property owners are alerted to a problem with their drainage system though things such as problems flushing toilets, or boggy patches forming above a soakaway, sometimes a property owner can become aware of damage in other ways. In this instance, she had been advised of damage to her septic tank during a routine septic tank emptying. It's really important to have your septic tank emptied generally, to ensure that the drainage system continues to operate as it should - typically this should happen annually but this can vary based on a number of things. A good septic tank emptying company will be able to advise on this, and it's also an ideal opportunity for them to check that everything is working as it should be.
In our Norfolk case study, the tanker operator noticed that there was damage to the septic tank which was starting to cause problems. Specifically, he observed damage to the septic tank's baffle, the purpose of which is to keep solid waste in the septic tank, almost like an upside down sieve, allowing only separated waste water to leave the tank and then enter into the soakaway system. This is really important, because if the baffle becomes damaged, and solid waste is able to enter into the soakaway system, it can quickly become blocked and waste will back up into the tank and eventually into the property. Unfortunately, in most cases, this type of soakaway problem can be permanent and irreversible.
If you'll pardon the pun! Our next step, once we've gathered all the information we can about what's going on at the property, is to arrange for one of our expert field engineers to attend and carry out a septic tank inspection. This involves using a variety of different methods to find out exactly what's going on, and can include:
In this situation, the damage could be observed as soon as the septic tank lid was removed, as it could clearly be seen that the baffle had become detached from the walls of the tank, and had collapsed into the bottom. Because of this damage, solid waste had begun entering the soakaway system connected to the septic tank. A CCTV drainage survey of the pipework running from the septic tank showed that, after the camera had passed through 6 metres of pipework, it went into water. Unfortunately this indicated that the drainage system had already started to fail.
The UKDP team are experts in all things septic tanks, but also all things buildings insurance! Many people don't realise that often the costs of repairing or replacing a damaged septic tank are covered by their existing buildings insurance - which can be great news for property owners, as the cost to replace a drainage system is usually in excess of £10,000! You can find out more about insurance cover for septic tanks in our guide here, our aim at UKDP is to ensure that property owners don't pay for drainage works that they already have insurance in place to cover, and our team can manage everything from start to finish on behalf of our customers.
In this Norfolk case study, we were pleased to be able to work with the property owner's buildings insurers to get the costs covered. We presented a thorough report detailing the damage observed and the works required to rectify them. The proposals take in a number of considerations, including all regulations relating to septic tanks and soakaway systems, any limitations at the property such as the space available to site a new system, and the results of any percolation tests. The best and most appropriate solution here was to install a sewage treatment plant and a new soakaway system, the insurers agreed and we were able to quickly get the works in hand.
Before any works are carried out, our Area Manager attends the property for a full run through with the property owner about exactly what will be involved in the works. This is a great opportunity for the property owner to ask any questions about the works, and the impact on the property. Importantly, how things will be left once the works are completed.
In our Norfolk case study, the works were challenging because there was a high water table - this meant that the excavation for the tank kept filling with water at a fast rate. Our team hired extra large pumps and eventually the flow of water into the trench could be controlled.
The tank was installed and connected successfully, and the flow of water was controlled whilst concrete was installed around the tank. The crew made up lost time by working late into the evenings to keep the works on schedule. The property owner was delighted with the crew and the completed works, and passed their thanks to all involved with the project. Another very satisfied customer!
Or anywhere else for that matter! Get in touch with our friendly team of experts today to find out more about how we can help, you can contact us here.
Sam's career prior to UKDP was spent in the marketing and service industries, so she is focused on making sure we look after our customers – and getting the UKDP message out there! Sam has overall responsibility for business operations and for delivering the best customer service we can.