If your property is in a rural location it’s likely that you will have off mains drainage. This means that you will have a self-contained drainage system which will take the waste from your property. It will usually be connected just to your property, but occasionally the system might be shared with other neighbouring properties.
Rural locations around Alton include Four Marks, Alresford, Medstead, Ropley, Chawton, Beech, Bentley, Liss or Surrey including; Haslemere, Farnham, Crondall, Tilford, Churt, Elstead or Frensham.
Waste from your property’s toilets, sinks, showers and kitchen appliances will run through a network of pipes from your property until they meet with a main sewer, typically under a nearby main road. Rules introduced in 2015 by the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs means any new systems septic tank or cesspit systems must not pollute the land and dictate where a system can be located, and how the waste can be discharged. Your local Water and Sewage company will be responsible for the pipe work that runs from the boundary of your property.
A septic tank is an underwater sedimentation tank used for wastewater treatment as a result of biological decomposition and drainage.
A septic tank can come in all different shapes and sizes. Older tanks may be brick built or concrete, modern ones are made of reinforced plastic. Septic tanks differ to cesspits as they are not sealed. Bacteria inside the tank breaks down the solid waste decomposing it more rapidly allowing the liquids to separate. As a result that they drain away through the gaps in the brickwork into the surrounding soil.
Septic tanks don’t have any mechanical parts or perform any treatment of the waste. The process is:
- Waste enters the tank.
- Next waste separates into three different layers.
- Middle layer of separated waste water leaves the tank via soakaway system.
- Solids are broken down due to the bacteria.
A soakaway system is a network of slotted or perforated pipes, these allow the waste water to percolate through the sub soils. Any remaining contents of the tank are removed at regular intervals by a tank emptying company.
Put simply a cesspit is a holding tank for waste. Waste does not soak away – it stays there until the tank is emptied. There is no treatment of the waste that goes in, it simply separates into three layers within the tank. Because of the gas build up in the pit an exhaust is used to allow the gases to escape. As a result of the toxic, untreated nature of the waste, cesspits pose a greater threat to the environment if they fail. Cesspits require more emptying than septic tanks which can become expensive, so consequently they are not as common.