Lincolnshire Drainage Solutions guides

Uncovering Your Independent Drainage Network: A Guide to Identification

1. Understanding Your Property’s Hidden Drainage System

If you live in a house that’s not connected to the main sewer, you are likely to have a private drainage system like septic tanks, cesspits, or sewage treatment plants. These systems remain concealed underground, making it challenging to understand their workings and even distinguish the precise one you have. However, knowing the type of drainage system you own is essential for effective maintenance and ensuring extended trouble-free usage.

2. Determining Your Home’s Drainage System Type

Let’s explore the three primary types of off-mains drainage systems:

a. Septic Tanks:

Among off-mains drainage systems, septic tanks are a common choice. They connect your property to a septic tank through a network of pipes, where waste materials undergo a separation process into distinct layers.

Typically, the effluent from the septic tank flows to a drainage field or enters a soakaway system. In older systems, it may be directed towards a watercourse. It’s important to note that discharging wastewater from a septic tank into a watercourse is now illegal.

Signs that your property has a septic tank include the need for annual tank emptying, the presence of 2, 3, or 4 manholes located closely together above ground, and the possibility of vent pipes above ground that release odours and gases from the tank into the air.

b. Sewage Treatment Plants:

Sewage treatment plants offer advanced waste management compared to septic tanks. They incorporate more mechanical components powered by electricity.

Due to the high-quality effluent produced by sewage treatment plants, it can be discharged directly into a nearby watercourse. Alternatively, the wastewater can be directed to a drainage field.

Similar to septic tanks, sewage treatment plants require periodic emptying, though the frequency can vary. The key difference in maintenance lies in the regular servicing of the mechanical and electrical components of sewage treatment plants, typically done annually.

Signs that you have a sewage treatment plant include the presence of an external electric box near the treatment plant, the sewage treatment plant cover being slightly raised above the ground, a quiet humming noise when near the sewage treatment plant, and a visible or audible alarm on the treatment plant to alert you of any issues or when it requires emptying.

c. Cesspits (or Cesspools):

Cesspits are often the last resort when it’s not feasible to install a septic tank or sewage treatment plant on a property. Essentially, cesspits serve as reservoirs for all the waste generated by your property.

Because they function as storage tanks, cesspits need frequent emptying, which can result in substantial expenses.

Indicators that your property uses a cesspit may include a fast tank filling rate, frequent and regular emptying, or the presence of just one above-ground manhole, sometimes accompanied by a conspicuous large cover slab.

We hope this information has been helpful. If you have any questions or need assistance, feel free to contact our friendly team at 07902 688279. We’re here to help with any issues you might encounter or provide routine maintenance to ensure everything is in perfect working order.