individual household soil-sewage system

The house has always shared the attached neighbour's septic tank. For various reasons I am looking at terminating that arrangement and installing a new system for waste water and sewage. There are no public sewers. I am in need of some initial guidance, not really knowing where to start.
I have heard I think that septic tanks are old hat and that there are better ways to deal with sewage but I don't know what they are. Is this so?
The land attached to the house is all uphill slightly and access for large vehicles (bigger than a big van) could be a problem. does that rule the idea out?
Connecting to the house will involve going through or under concrete foundations (existing connection to next door is under the rear extension). Does that rule the idea out?
Power has never been reliable during winter storms. could be a problem.
Who would design and specify a system? a builder?, an architect?, don't want a salesman, an engineer? Somebody else?
Tim W
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
TimW wrote:

If you're looking for it to drain-out, rather than get emptied-out, there are newish rules
<https://www.gov.uk/guidance/general-binding-rules-small-sewage-discharge-to-a-surface-water>
But if surrounding land is higher, probably draining out isn't ana option?

Presumably someone like Klargester (or their agents) would give pre-sales advice?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I don't think so. There are newer shapes, compared to the older brick-lined two-stage box that we have, but the process is still the same. Sewage and foul water goes in; bugs chomp it; slightly cloudy but definitely not potable water flows out into some sort of drainage system. But the bugs don't chomp everything. We have the accumulated sludge pumped out from the bottom of the tank about every five years (there's only two of us; more users might require more frequent pumping out. Every two years is often recommended).

Most septic tanks are buried, although some require deeper holes than others. But these days micro-diggers can get through some pretty narrow gaps, especially those diggers with retractable tracks (narrow - wide), probably require less than 1 metre width access, e.g. http://www.nixonhire.co.uk/1-tonne-micro-excavator-d51590.html .

You've got to have a connection into your system somewhere!

Older style septic tanks, like ours, have no mechanical moving parts. Not sure about modern types such as Klargester though; these may have an agitator of some sort. I just don't know.

I suspect your biggest problem will be that your site slopes slightly uphill, meaning that if flow is gravity controlled, the excavations will have to go deep to provide a downhill gradient. Not impossible of course, but more expensive etc. But you may be able to get a pumped system, with a small sump by the house and a pump with a float switch, pumping to a higher level. http://tinyurl.com/yb9x4zj2
A related problem will be the drainage field. As I said earlier, the outflow from a septic tank has to drain somewhere. The usual solution is a herringbone pattern of field drain type pipes, laid out across an area of open ground and buried maybe 18 - 24 inches in trenches filled with gravel. I suspect these days there are extensive regulations covering the design and construction of drainage fields. Ours just drains into an old well, and was probably put in long before any regulations existed, or were simply ignored by the farmer!
Lots of info and shapes and sizes of septic tanks here http://www.ukseptictanks.co.uk/septic-tank and here https://www.kingspanenviro.com/wastewater-management/septic-tanks
--

Chris

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Chris Hogg wrote:

Some have rotating discs, others have a compressor to aerate and "stir up" the sludge.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

We have one of these. Happy to answer any questions, if I can.
--
Today is Setting Orange, the 69th day of Confusion in the YOLD 3183
I don't have an attitude problem.
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Huge wrote:

How do the running costs (electricity, regular maintenance, de-sludging) compare to paying for mains sewerage?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Thu, 3 Aug 2017 13:11:52 +0100, Andy Burns wrote:

g)

Just had our septic tank desludged, SWMBO'd paid but IIRC it was about £150. Needs to be done about every five years (1200 gallon tank and now just the two of us).
Lecky for a digester? Guesstimate, 50W 24/7 @ 15p/kWHr:
0.05 * 24 * 365 * 0.15 = £65.70/year.
Maintenance, haven't a clue but you don't hear people moaning that their digestere has broken down again... Could mean two things, digesters aren't very common yet (most places on septic tanks) or they are pretty reliable.
--
Cheers
Dave.
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Thu, 03 Aug 2017 13:39:00 +0100 (BST), "Dave Liquorice"

Ditto here. £160 as of early July, irrespective of size. Ours ~500 gallons.
--

Chris

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
[12 lines snipped]

One of the bearings failed on our Klargester biodisk treatment plant (ants tend to nest under the lip of the lid and the displaced soil falls into the system - if it gets on the bearing it acts like grinding paste). IIRC, that cost about £200 to get repaired. No way I'd have DIY'd it, although it's a straight forward job (*). The risk (and consequences) of falling into the settlement tank were beyond my tolerance. I now check it once a week and clear any ants out.
(* He jacked up the axle, took out the (plain) bearing and put in another one. While he was there, he swapped the bearing at the other end round so as to even out the wear. He then had to shim the motor to get the belt to run straight.)
--
Today is Setting Orange, the 69th day of Confusion in the YOLD 3183
I don't have an attitude problem.
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I haven't even worked it out, since we have absolutely no chance of mains drains, so it's it's a case of liking it or lumping it. But that sounds reasonable.
Ditto the desludging costs.
--
Today is Setting Orange, the 69th day of Confusion in the YOLD 3183
I don't have an attitude problem.
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I have no figures, but I'd say less ...
--
Today is Setting Orange, the 69th day of Confusion in the YOLD 3183
I don't have an attitude problem.
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

Nope, just have a ballista etc hurl it up the hill.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Thu, 3 Aug 2017 12:12:06 +0100 (GMT+01:00), jim <k> wrote:

I don't think so. Septic tanks aren't permitted to discharge into water courses. See https://www.wte-ltd.co.uk/discharging_sewage_effluent.html
--

Chris

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Thu, 03 Aug 2017 12:43:16 +0100, Chris Hogg wrote:

Correct but digesters are.
Lets start at the begining, four types of domestic foul water "disposal":
1) Manins drains - flush and forget, you pay a utility company to deal with it.
2) Cess pit, big tank, no outlet. Needs to be emptied very often (weekly ish) to stop it overflowing. Very rare these days.
3) Septic tank, big tank, outlet to buried draiaage field. Passive system and anerobic, can be smelly. Out flow is not by any stretch of the imagination "clean" hence the buried drainage field.
4) Digester, bin tank, outlet can go into a water course, requires power for air compressor and agitator. Aerobic digestion, out flow in a properly functioning digester is clean enough to go into a water course, doesn't have to though drainage field will do.
I'm pretty sure any new installtion these days will have to be a a No.4 a digester.
--
Cheers
Dave.
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

W-e-e-e-e-e-e-lll. Depends what you mean by "water course". The system at our last house discharged into a field boundary ditch.

[10 lines snipped]

Correct. There was a hoo-ha about 3 or 4 years ago when it looked like the EA were going to retrospectively enforce this rule, but when they found out how many passive systems there were, they dropped it. They have tightened up the discharge rules and you now have to self-certify that you meet them. If you have a PTP (package treatment plant) or a reasonably recent passive system (say, less than 30 years old), you should be fine.
We had a passive system in our last house. I planted reeds in the ditch where it discharged, which sorted out the occasional smells. Our current system also discharges into a ditch, but it hasn't smelled so far. Indeed, we have moor-hens living in the ditch ...
--
Today is Setting Orange, the 69th day of Confusion in the YOLD 3183
I don't have an attitude problem.
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

One obvious example is composting dunnys.

Dunno if its even legal there in towns etc.

Depends on what you want to do. There are small diggers that are specifically designed to be used where access is a problem.

Nope, just makes it more work and more expensive.

Perfectly possible to DIY, quite a few greenys do that.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.