Case study - resolving a damaged septic tank problem!

Sam Warren's Photo
Written by Sam Warren

How the UK Drainage Professionals team helped these property owners with a damaged septic tank problem

Our team at The UK Drainage Professionals take lots of different calls each day - from people wanting to book a homebuyer survey to property owners experiencing septic tank problems. In each case, our team use their septic tank knowledge and understanding to get to gain an understanding of what's going on and what's needed to help our customer.

In some cases, as in this situation, the customer is experience problems with their septic tank. There can be a wide range of problems that can affect a septic tank (you can read about the ten most common septic tank problems here!), and this particular customer called in because they had become aware that they had a damaged septic tank. Of course, with septic tanks being out of sight underground, it's often very difficult to know when the tank has become damaged - unfortunately in a lot of instances, the first that a property owner will know about it will be when problems surface above ground, such as the ground becoming boggy above the system. Fortunately, this property owner had been advised of the damage to the tank during a routine septic tank emptying. This is a great opportunity for problems to be spotted, because the tank is briefly emptied and typically the tanker operator will know what they are looking at - septic tank damage might not be quite so obvious to the untrained eye!

The tanker operator noticed the damage, and advised the property owners - in this particular situation, the septic tank was shared by two properties. A website search brought the property owners to the UK Drainage Professionals website, and a call to our dedicated team was the first step to getting the damaged septic tank problem resolved!

First things first....a septic tank inspection!

The key to really understanding what's caused septic tank problems, and crucially what's required to put things back to full working order, is a thorough septic tank inspection. In this case, this involved the septic tank being emptied, and cameras lowered into the tank to find out exactly what was causing the problems.

This particular septic tank inspection quickly identified the cause of the drainage problems at the property - a damaged baffle! A baffle within a septic tank acts almost like a sieve - it keeps the solid waste in the septic tank, and ensures that only separated wastewater can leave the tank and enter into the soakaway system. This is crucial, because a soakaway system is typically a network of perforated or slotted pipes, which allow the separated wastewater from the septic tank to safely percolate into the surrounding subsoils without causing pollution. If the baffle becomes damaged, and in this case it had been fractured, solid waste can pass into the soakaway system and through into the surrounding subsoils. This has the effect of blocking the pipework and resulting in the surrounding ground no longer being able to safely take the wastewater from the tank. The septic tank inspection at this property confirmed the damage to the septic tank but also that the soakaway system had in turn failed, by water being observed flowing back into the septic tank once it was emptied.

Next steps - getting insurers involved

The good news for this property owner is that damage to a septic tank's baffle is typically covered by buildings insurance policies. The UKDP team are experts in handling insurance claims for damaged septic tanks, so our report team set to work producing a thorough report for insurers - this includes evidence of the damage which has been caused, and an explanation as to the works required to get the drainage system functioning as it should be once again.

The insurers of the first property appointed a specialist to review the details of the claim, and their representative met with our field engineer at the property to discuss in detail the works required, and to answer any technical questions they might have. The insurers of the second property took a slightly different approach, and decided that the information contained in our thorough report was sufficient for them to approve the claim without attending site. In both instances, insurers agreed that the damage was covered by the policy, and agreed to the scope of works and costs proposed.

Getting the works underway

The UK Drainage Professionals team know that every property is different - and often this means that challenges need to be overcome both in the planning and execution of any works!

One major challenge in this case was that there was no access to the rear garden in which the drainage system was situated. This meant that no machinery could be used in the garden and that the excavations would have to be carried out by hand!

In addition to this, the property owners had a real passion for gardening, and the garden was immaculately landscaped with walkways, slate and pebbled areas, and a large array of plants. This meant that extensive ground protection would be required and works would need to be carried out carefully. Just to make matters more complicated, the owners also had several dogs which spent time in the garden in the evening, meaning that extra protection would be required around any open excavations.

Our team found a further solution which meant significantly reducing the amount of excavation required, by identifying an existing pipe running under an annex at the property. It was identified that this pipe could be utilised as a duct for a rising main with drainage from the annex altered to run into a newly installed pump station, which the property owner was delighted with. This meant the works could be carried out more quickly, and with less inconvenience to the property owners - a win for all parties involved!

Completed works and happy property owners!

In spite of the challenges and complications, the works were completed quickly and efficiently. The property owner said:

'The work was undertaken exactly as planned with a great deal of information being given for us to plan accordingly. The workers were prompt each day and extremely professional and polite throughout the entirety of the works. The work undertaken was completed well ahead of the planned completion date due to the hard work and long hours on the days they were here. The site was left secure for us and our dogs each evening and on completion of the work, it was hard to see they had even been here. The site was left spotless, even to the point of sweeping the patio and lawn!

I am extremely pleased with the conduct of everyone throughout and wouldn't hesitate to recommend UKDP for future work.'

The UKDP team combines extensive technical knowledge of septic tank installation works with in-depth experience of managing insurance claims to ensure that costs are covered where possible. This means that we can handle everything for property owners, from start to finish - from initial advice, through to inspection, report production, insurer liaison and co-ordination and full works management.

Contact the UKDP team with any damaged septic tank problems today!

If you're struggling with any septic tank problems, or starting to notice any signs that things are not right with your drainage system, contact our friendly team today or complete our eligibility checker to find out whether the costs to repair or replace your damaged drainage system might be covered by your existing buildings insurance.

Smeeth reinstatement 2
Our team work hard to ensure that any reinstatement works are completed to a high standard, and to the satisfaction of our customer!

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Sam Warren's Photo
Written by Sam Warren

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.

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