Wastewater Knowledge Base2019-05-31T11:05:34+00:00

Wastewater Knowledge Base

RA Dalton Ltd are the Klargester number one accredited installer covering the whole of the UK.

Contact Us Today

RA Dalton are a company you can trust with over 25 years experience

We are the Klargester number one accredited installer covering the whole of the UK, and with over 25 years in the business we have a wealth of information in the wastewater industry.

Browse the knowledge base below, and if you can’t find what you’re looking for give us a call on 01388 537030

Why use an accredited installer?2019-05-30T13:53:03+00:00

There are several benefits to using an accredited installer for your septic tank/sewage treatment system:

  • Selection of the correct system/product for your requirements
  • Technical expertise and advice from our team of engineers
  • Professional installation and commissioning
  • Full after-sales support and warranty
  • Ongoing servicing and maintenance options for peace of mind
  • Environment Agency/Building Control liaison
  • Experienced, fully-trained and friendly staff

We are of the UK’s leading installers of Klargester sewage treatment systems and pride ourselves on being Klargester accredited. Our highly-qualified team have over 30 years’ experience in the field, giving you confidence that we will deliver an excellent service. To find out more, give us a call on 01388 537030.

Why maintain your system?2019-05-30T13:15:19+00:00

It is important that your sewage treatment system is serviced to ensure everything is working properly. All our engineers can provide hassle-free and comprehensive servicing for your system, advice on when emptying will be required and can replace any faulty/worn parts. At RA Dalton, we hold an extensive range of spare parts in stock, and are happy to help – give us a call on 01388 537030.

We recommend that all tanks will need to be emptied (desludged) at least once a year, although this can alter depending on the size of the tank, and the application that it’s used for. We can provide fast and reliable emptying and servicing for your tank/sewage treatment system, giving you peace of mind that everything is fully operational. Our highly experienced engineers will take care of the entire emptying process, and if you book servicing for your system, they will recommend when emptying will be required. If the unit is not emptied in accordance with the guidelines supplied with your system you may experience an unpleasant odour from the plant, and it can also place excess wear and tear on parts.

If you would like to discuss regular ongoing servicing and emptying, give us a call on 01388 537030 and we’ll be happy to advise our best prices.

Why has my drive belt snapped?2019-05-30T13:18:16+00:00

The belt on a BioDisc can become damaged, or even snap, if there are other parts on the system working incorrectly:

  • Top pulley drive teeth wearing thin causes the belt to jump around the pulley, which in turn can snap the belt through time.
  • Wear on the drive end bearing causes the belt to not hold the required tension, which causes the belt to jump around the pulleys causing excessive wear then failure.
  • If the top and bottom pulley are not lined up, the belt will ride over the top pulley shoulders, causing excessive wear then failure.
  • If the rotor has not been serviced regularly and the biomass grows very heavy, this puts strain on the drive belt which in turn will stretch the belt causing it to jump and then fail.

If you are concerned that your BioDisc is not operating correctly, give our team a call on 01388 537030 and we’ll be happy to advise.

Which sewage treatment system should I buy?2019-05-30T13:41:31+00:00

With so many different systems available to purchase, it can be difficult to decide which is best for your needs

Klargester BioDisc

  • Operates without noise or smell
  • Low energy usage
  • Low sludge accumulation and sizeable storage capacity

Klargester BioTec

  • No mechanical/electrical components – low running and maintenance costs
  • Variable invert heights
  • Manufactured from robust GRP

Klargester Economy

  • No mechanical/electrical components – low running and maintenance costs
  • Variable invert heights
  • Lower price

Klargester BioFicient

  • Low running costs
  • Minimal visual impact
  • Specially designed for shallow-dig applications

Klargester BioSafe

  • Variable invert heights
  • Low-profile results in shallow depth excavation
  • Excellent durability

What are your priorities?

If you prioritise low noise, you should consider a Klargester BioDisc, BioTec or Economy system

If you prefer to choose a system based on aesthetics and how it looks following installation, you should consider a Klargester BioFicient with its smaller manhole covers.

If the price of the system is a motivating factor, we suggest you select the Klargester Economy as this is the lowest priced system we supply.

Finally, if ongoing running costs are a primary concern, we would recommend a Klargester BioTec or Economy with their energy-efficient blowers.

Find out more about each sewage treatment system on our online shop, where you can download the information guides to help determine which is best for you. Alternatively, for assistance or a quote for larger systems, give us a call on 01388 537030.

Which air blowers do RA Dalton supply?2019-05-30T13:44:35+00:00

Many sewage treatment systems rely on externally-housed air blowers/air pumps/compressors to aerate the effluent which treats it through media.

At RA Dalton, we supply a range of efficient and cost-effective blowers, and corresponding spare parts to enable you to keep your blower working efficiently. The Secoh, Hiblow and Medo range of air blowers come highly recommended with long-life expectancy, low energy usage and low noise levels.

For commercial-sized sewage treatment systems, we stock the popular FPZ side-channel blowers which have energy-efficient motors, a smooth airflow delivery and an easy-to-install design.

We stock a range of spare filters, service and diaphragm kits, and can also arrange servicing of your system if you are concerned that your blower isn’t operating correctly. If there’s a product on our website that you can’t find, just get in touch and we’ll try our best to source it for you. Give us a call on 01388 537030 or email info@radalton.co.uk and we’ll be happy to help!

What’s included in an emptying visit?2019-05-30T13:14:31+00:00

When one of our approved partners attends your site to empty (de-sludge) your system, you can be confident that they will deliver an efficient, safe and professional service with no hassle or mess. We offer a fixed price for emptying based on our tankers removing up to 1000 gallons, depending upon where in the UK the site is – our tanker will visit between Monday and Friday at a time convenient to you.

What is included in your visit

Each emptying visit lasts approximately 30 minutes, and will include efficient and safe removal of effluent.

Following your system being emptied, you will be given a Waste Transfer Note which you must retain for your records. This note will detail the amount of effluent removed, the date of the visit and site details, and is proof to the Environment Agency that effluent was removed by a Licensed Waste Carrier and was correctly disposed of.

What is not included in your visit

If your system has been neglected in the past, usually due to infrequent emptying, your visit may need to take longer than 30 minutes. If this is the case, we charge £100 per hour and will require payment upfront for this. The driver on the day will be able to advise on this, and once payment has been received by us, will be able to complete the work.

What’s included in a service visit?2019-05-30T13:17:31+00:00

When an engineer attends your site, you can be confident that they will perform a thorough and professional inspection of your entire system and any alarms attached. You can enjoy peace of mind that we will ensure your system is always maintained to the highest standard and its maximum efficiency. We offer a fixed price for servicing depending upon where in the UK the site is – an engineer will visit between Monday and Friday at a time convenient to you.

What is included in your visit

Each service visit lasts up to 1 hour on site, and you will receive a report afterwards detailing what has been checked and repaired/replaced.

The engineer will conduct checks of all mechanical parts, including:

  • Pipework for any cracks or corrosion
  • Pumps for blockages/leaks
  • Floats for correct depth
  • Drive belts/chains for excessive wear/damage
  • Pulleys for excessive wear/damage
  • Clean/replace filters
  • Check air lifts
  • Check bacterial processes
  • Cover lid and frame, and surrounding area
  • Full visual inspection of the working system
  • The engineer will also conduct a full electrical check where appropriate, including:
  • Pumps/motors/blowers
  • Control panels
  • Alarms and beacons
  • Alarm tests for pump trip, high level, loss of pressure, loss of rotation and loss of power

What is not included in your visit

Should your visit need to last longer than 1 hour, due to the engineer conducting repairs/installing replacement parts, we charge an additional £45+VAT per hour. We will require payment upfront for this before our engineer can continue further work.

The price for your service visit includes an engineer attending your site, providing the inspections listed above, recommending any repairs/replacement parts, completing a report and advising on when emptying will be required.

The service visit charge is exclusive of all consumable parts, breakdowns and call-out costs. If any parts require replacement during the visit, our engineer will discuss this with you beforehand so you’re aware of any additional costs.

What is the cheapest septic tank we supply?2019-05-30T14:01:01+00:00

At RA Dalton, we work hard to keep our prices competitive, offering excellent professional service and value for money to our customers. Septic tanks are a cost-effective option for domestic sewage disposal where connection to a mains sewer or discharge into a watercourse is not possible. Septic tanks must be connected to a land drainage system (commonly called a soakaway or drainage field), which means you must conduct a percolation test to ensure the ground conditions are appropriate.

Our cheapest septic tank is the Klargester Alpha range, which comes in 2800l, 3800l and 4600l size options – with free UK delivery. Klargester Alpha septic tanks are designed to meet both the installation requirements and the standards of discharge specified by BS 6297: 1983. Septic tanks are used for domestic sewage disposal where connection to a mains sewer is not practical. The septic tanks in the range all achieve a high degree of settlement, producing a quality of effluent for discharge to a land drainage system.

What is a drainage field/soakaway, and how do they work?2019-05-30T13:56:11+00:00

drainage field/soakaway is designed to spread partially-treated effluent over a larger area. A septic tank must connect to a drainage field, as you cannot discharge directly into a watercourse from a septic tank. A sewage treatment system can be connected to a drainage field if a watercourse cannot be located for discharge. The drainage field will provide further treatment to the settled effluent and disperse it safely into the natural ground. A suitable porosity test will ensure that the receiving ground is suitable for the installation of a drainage field.

Drainage fields typically consist of a system of sub-surface irrigation pipes which allow the effluent to percolate into the surrounding soil. Biological treatment takes place naturally in the aerated layers of soil.

If you are installing a sewage treatment system and can connect directly to a watercourse, we would always recommend this. There are several factors that can affect the suitability of a drainage field and its ongoing effectiveness, and the direct connection to a watercourses also removes any future problems associated with a blocked or failed drainage field. Installation of a drainage field also requires suitable ground conditions, and adequate space to meet Building Regulations.

The appropriate design of a drainage field is covered in BS6279, and is also well documented in Building Regulations Document H and the Environment Agency PPG4 Document (both available online).

The most common problem with a drainage field is that the drainage is backing up. This can be identified by checking the levels in the septic tank/sewage treatment system and/or upstream drainage. The cause is likely to be a failed drainage field, which could be fully saturated due to poor soil conditions or a high winter water table, or a blocked drainage field due to solids carried over from the septic tank/sewage treatment system. If you do not maintain (arrange emptying of) your system, solids can pass through the tank and therefore block the downstream drainage field.

Generally, to rectify the situation, an engineer would need to replace the drainage field – jet washing may occasionally be an effective solution, but this is on a case-by-case basis and advice should always be sought by a qualified engineer.

What does a site visit involve?2019-05-30T13:52:28+00:00

A site visit if often necessary to fully understand the local conditions/topography that will affect the choice of suitable system for the site. Conditions that can affect suitability include:

  • Ground conditions – soil porosity/water table etc.
  • Access to a watercourse/discharge point
  • Access roads for delivery of the system and future emptying
  • Existing drainage layout and depth
  • Preferred/suitable location of system
  • Other ancillary works required e.g. additional drainage/manholes, other building works

If you require assistance selecting an appropriate system, give us a call on 01388 537030 and we will be happy to help.

What does ‘final effluent quality’ mean?2019-05-30T13:35:01+00:00

The treated effluent from a sewage treatment system will generally be measured using three parameters:

  • Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD)
  • Suspended Solids (SS)
  • Ammoniacal Nitrogen (NH4-N)

Each of the above are measured in mg/l (milligrams per litre), and modern sewage treatment systems are designed to achieve performance levels of 20:30:20 (BOD:SS:NH4-N) as a minimum.

These performance levels would meet the requirements set out in the adopted European standard BSEN12566/3.

To meet this standard, each plant is independently tested over a 38-week period, and the average results are shown on the performance certificate. Each plant is issued with a certificate from the independent test house, which gives percentage reductions of each indicator. The higher the percentage reduction, the better the performance of the sewage treatment system.

In order to test the effluent, a sample should be taken and tested at a certified laboratory. It is very difficult to fully assess the effluent quality without a laboratory test, however, a good indicator is a clear liquid free of solids and without any pungent odour.

What different separators do you supply and install?2019-05-30T13:10:17+00:00

Full Retention Separators are used where there is a risk of regular contamination with oil, and foreseeable risk of significant spillages (such as in vehicle maintenance areas and retail fuel forecourts). You need to consider the flow rates of potential spillages delivered to the separator from the drainage system, and the oil storage volume of the separator needs to be sufficient to retain the entire spillage. Full retention separators treat the full flow that can be delivered by the drainage system. The ‘full flow’ is normally equivalent to the flow generated by a rainfall intensity of 65mm/hour.

Bypass Separators fully treat all flows, for the area served, generated by rainfall rates of up to 6.5mm/hour (this covers most rainfall events). Flows above this rate are allowed to bypass the separator. These separators are used when it is considered an acceptable risk not to provide full treatment for high flows, such as for sites where only small spillages can occur and the risk of spillage is small (short stay car parks etc.). In cases where a large spillage might occur, it is not acceptable to use a bypass separator.

Forecourt Separators are for all forms of liquid-fuel dispensing outlets, both retail and non-retail, including those where only diesel is dispensed. A forecourt separator must be a ‘full retention’ separator, large enough to serve the catchment area of the site and have a sufficient oil storage volume to retain any foreseeable spillages. It is important to install a forecourt separator of an appropriate size. On a forecourt where tanker deliveries are received, a separator must be sufficient in size to cater for a full fuel tank storage capacity, which is 7,600L.

Silt and Washdown Separators are for sites were detergents are present. The prime function of these separators is to retain and separator the silt with a small amount of oil separation; this is due to the presence of detergents which emulsifies the oil. Where a site is at greater risk due to the presence of an excessive amount of silt, then a Car Wash Silt Trap may be installed before the separator. The size of Washdown Separator depends on the type of vehicle and frequency of washing down taking place.

What are my off-mains drainage options?2019-05-30T13:55:30+00:00

1. Packaged sewage treatment plant

A packaged sewage treatment system is recommended where possible, as these provide secondary biological treatment to produce a high quality effluent suitable for discharge directly to a watercourse, or drainage field if a suitable watercourse is not available.

All Klargester and Conder systems are BSEN12566/3 certified, are suitable for most applications and are readily accepted by Building Control and the Environment Agency.

Information on siting your sewage treatment system is available in Building Regulation Approved Document H, and we have also provided articles onsizing the appropriate system for your needs, and thedifferent sewage treatment systems we supply.

2. Septic tank

A septic tank provides minimal treatment of effluent – the septic tank settles out the solids, and the settled effluent relies upon further treatment in a well-constructeddrainage field. Septic tanks should not discharge directly or indirectly to watercourses – the effluent needs to be further treated through aerated layers of soil and percolated into surrounding soil.

Septic tanks can only be installed if ground conditions are suitable, which means conducting asoil porosity (percolation) test.

When siting a septic tank, there are clear regulations to follow regarding proximity to buildings which are outlined inBuilding Regulations Approved Document H

3. Cesspool

A cesspool is simply a storage tank with an inlet and no outlet – when the tank is full, the raw sewage must be tankered off site to a sewage treatment works. In Scotland, Building Regulations do not permit the use of cesspools. In the UK, depending on the size of the cesspool, Building Regulations request a minimum of 18000l for two people + 6800l for each additional person. Due to there being no treatment of effluent and consequently no outlet drainage, the cesspool may require frequent emptying which can be prohibitively expensive.

Useful Documents

Building Regulations Approved Document H

Environment Agency Pollution Prevention Guidelines 4 – treatment and disposal of sewage where no foul sewer is available

Tips for installing your septic tank/cesspool2019-05-30T14:03:41+00:00

Before installing your tank:

  • Ensure you have Building Regulation approval
  • Ensure you have conducted a percolation test and that ground porosity is suitable
  • Inspect the tank for any damage prior to installation. Our tanks have been fully tested before dispatch from the factory, and once installed, Klargester cannot accept claims for damage
  • Check that you have the correct invert drain depth (neck height) of the tank – a label indicates the maximum permissible depth
  • Ensure a de-sludging tanker will be able to access the tank
  • Check the orientation and heights of the inlets and outlets
  • Check that the tank is suitable for its application – septic tanks and cesspools should not be used for silage effluent, chemical toilet waste or any other chemicals

Do:

  • Use the correct backfill material
  • Site the tank at the furthest practical location from habitable dwellings. Most building regulations recommend a minimum of 15m, whereas some require 25m.
  • Fit the correct cover and frame for the tank, and ensure it is adequate for the site (standard cover for pedestrian duty, or heavy duty if large vehicles will be travelling over the site)
  • Consider any ventilation arrangements
  • Consider drainage falls, generally 1 in 60/70 between the house and tank, and maximum 1 in 200 for the irrigation system
  • Lift the tank using ropes or slings through both of the shackles fitted either side of the neck

Do Not:

  • Subject the tank to impact or contact with sharp edges
  • Add neck extensions to the tank, or build a brick manhole above the tank neck (as this increases the burial depth of the tank). We do not recommend extending the neck of the tank under any circumstances
  • Install the tank deeper than the depth that the fitted neck will allow
  • Install in trafficked areas without a suitable backfill design
  • Site the tank so that it is subjected to excess ground pressure or applied loads such as may be generated by the proximity of vehicular traffic
  • Lift using only one of the shackles
  • Fill an unsupported tank
The installation process2019-05-30T13:51:52+00:00

It is important that your system is correctly installed, commissioned and maintained to ensure that everything is safe, secure and working correctly.

Whoever you choose to use for installation, the process will involve:

  • Excavation of soil (the inlet drainage dictates the burial depth of the tank)
  • Selection of discharge point (direct to watercourse/drainage field) and pipework connected following the tank being installed in the ground
  • Full surround backfilling in concrete
  • Power supply required for sewage treatment systems (to power motors/blowers)

Using an accredited installer gives peace of mind to the customer that the process will be efficient, safe and professional. After your tank is installed, you need to consider other options available:

*Commissioning – the purpose of commissioning any vessel is to competently check the mechanical and electrical installation of the system. This essential procedure is a pre-requisite to ensure the system will operate correctly, effectively and safely. It can also help with any future warranty claims, as an incorrect installation, which can be identified at a commissioning visit, could invalidate any manufacturer’s warranty and in turn may leave you with the expense of repairing the fault.

*Servicing – regular servicing of your system is important to ensure everything is running to its maximum efficiency. Our trained engineers deliver an efficient and professional service, are accredited by Klargester and are British Water registered. An RA Dalton Ltd. service contract allows you to have peace of mind knowing that you have cover 365 days a year. We have an engineer on call every day for all emergency calls, and an emergency helpline with someone available to speak to you 24/7.

*Emptying – we offer nationwide waste collection services through our network of tankering providers. We can ensure your vessel is emptied (de-sludged) on a scheduled and regular basis, which will ensure the system is running to maximum efficiency and also that it remains compliant with environmental regulation. The usage of your septic tank/sewage treatment system dictates the frequency that emptying will be required, and your engineer will also be able to advise when emptying will be required following a service.

We can offer commissioning, servicing and emptying to cover all your maintenance needs, giving you confidence that your system will provide the longevity and efficiency our customers expect. To discuss any of the above options, give us a call on 01388 537030 or email info@radalton.co.uk.

Sizing your sewage treatment system2019-05-30T13:42:24+00:00

There are many different sewage treatment systems available, depending on the site, population of users and your budget.

Sewage treatment systems effectively treat waste and empty the treated effluent into a ditch/stream – these systems need maintaining and emptying to keep them in full working order. They are designed to accelerate the natural treatment processes to produce a much higher standard of effluent. In order to work out which system is most appropriate for your needs, you should determine:

Population – the number of bedrooms +2 for each property served (a four-bedroom house would need a 6-population system, whereas two 5-bedroom houses would need a 14-population system). For populations greater than 18, contact us on 01388 537030 to discuss commercial-sized plant.

Gravity or IPS? – does the ground slope down to the discharge point into the stream/ditch from where the system will be sited? If so, a gravity system should be sufficient. However, if the ground rises from where the system will be sited to the discharge point, you will require an Integrated Pump System (IPS) which will pump the effluent out so there is no backflow into the system.

Measuring your invert height – different systems have different invert heights available, which matches the suitable height of your inlet drainage pipe. To identify the correct invert height, measure from the bottom of the inlet pipe to ground level. The different invert heights match the site topography and can minimise the excavation depth. If your property has not yet been built, your architect or building engineer should have a drainage layout which indicates the invert levels. If in doubt, give us a call on 01388 537030 and we can help.

Signs that your air filter needs changing2019-05-30T13:13:57+00:00

Some sewage treatment systems work by treating effluent through aeration via a remotely-sited blower. These blowers contain air filters that require annual changing to ensure the blower remains efficient and operational.

Filters should be regularly checked by removing the blower housing – they can be brushed to clean but should also be changed every year. If the blower is running hot or at a high pressure, this could indicate filter blockage.

Should I install an alarm with my separator?2019-05-30T13:06:31+00:00

As required by The Environment Agency’s PPG 3 Guidelines, all separators must be fitted with an alarm system to provide visual and audible warning when the level of oil reaches 90% of its storage volume. The alarm system is triggered when the separator is in need of immediate emptying to ensure continuous and effective operations.

There are a variety of alarms available, including alarms for internal mounting, external mounting, solar-powered systems and GSM (telemetry) units which send a text message when the alarm is activated. All require different types of installation and vary in cost, but we can advise you on the most appropriate one for your requirements – give us a call on 01388 537030.

Servicing your separator2019-05-30T13:09:34+00:00

Servicing your separator/oil interceptor on a regular basis is important to safeguard businesses that handle and store oil/other potentially hazardous materials – such as petrol station forecourts, haulage yards and car parks – from flooding and environmental pollution.

Separators are designed to trap harmful substances before they can contaminate the surrounding environment, but if the systems are not serviced and become blocked, apart from the risk of pollution, flooding can also be a major problem as water is unable to run off-site.

Separator maintenance, including separator cleaning, is also essential for legislative reasons. The Environment Agency Standard, PPG3, and the European Standard, EN858-2, both emphasise that separators should be serviced at least twice a year and in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.

We have a highly-experienced team of engineers who can supply, install and provide ongoing servicing of separators, including bypass, full retention and forecourt separators, to the highest standards. We have over 20 years’ experience in providing ongoing servicing and maintenance, and our engineers are Kingspan/Klargester accredited and British Water registered.

To make servicing easy, all parts of the separator that have to be regularly maintained must be accessible at all times. Our Servicing Engineers will:

  • Physically inspect the integrity of the separator and all mechanical parts
  • Assess the depth of accumulated oil and silt
  • Service all electrical equipment, including alarms and separator management system.
  • Check the condition of any coalescing device and replace it if necessary

Some heavily used or high-risk sites might require more frequent inspections. You must keep a detailed log of when the separator is inspected, maintained, emptied and serviced. Also record specific events relating to the separator system such as cleaning, repairs, accidents and incidents, which is helpful if there are any investigations from the Environment Agency or SEPA in the future.

For more information, contact us on 01388 537030 or email info@radalton.co.uk and we’ll be happy to help.

Replacing your septic tank lid2019-05-30T14:02:11+00:00

Our range of septic tanks come with a standard lockable access cover and frame that can be opened with a key to enable access for emptying/servicing. Suitable covers should always be placed completely over a septic tank, capable of withstanding weight and locked to avoid children or animals being able to access the tank, and should not be corroded or damaged.

The ‘onion’ shaped Klargester tanks have one cover, whereas the Klargester Sigma Shallow-Dig tanks have two covers.

We can also supply the Klargester manhole cover and frame, a galvanised manhole lid and black plastic deep frame – suitable for pedestrian loading and for use with 460mm neck tanks. The frame has a unique integral safety grid to prevent children entering the tank, and lifting keys are supplied.

We also supply a standard Manhole Cover and Frame, which measures 600mm x 600mm and is a galvanised pedestrian-duty cover set in a shallow black plastic frame.

For heavy-duty covers suitable for vehicle loading, give us a call on 01388 537030 with your specifications and we will do our best to source these for you. We receive regular enquiries about the ‘old-style’ Klargester oval/rugby ball shaped galvanised cover, which has unfortunately now been discontinued and replaced with the standard cover and frame above.

Maintaining your chain drive system2019-05-30T13:43:58+00:00

Larger BioDisc sewage treatment systems operate with a chain to slowly rotate the rotor. If the chain drive is not properly lubricated, it can lead to the chain snapping, meaning a costly replacement and potential damage to other parts. By keeping the chain lubricated, it will run smoothly and efficiently, extending the life of the system.

A service visit from one of our friendly, professional engineers can save problems and expense down the line – give us a call on 01388 537030 to book a visit!

Keeping your sewage treatment system running effectively2019-05-30T13:39:43+00:00

Sewage treatment plants use colonies of live natural micro-organisms to break down pollutants in domestic sewage. Many chemicals found in the household can inhibit or kill these micro-organisms, particularly if used in excessive amounts.

Bear in mind that treatment plants serving a few houses do not have the benefit of dilution that occurs at a large sewage works. A bottle of bleach tipped down the toilet in Birmingham would be virtually lost amongst the millions of gallons of sewage arriving at city’s treatment works; a bottle of bleach in a plant serving half a dozen houses could be a lethal dose.

If the micro-organisms are damaged, the will usually recover in time. But in the meanwhile one of the more obvious symptoms is an unpleasant smell, so it is in residents’ interests to avoid this.

Generally speaking, all common household cleaning fluids are acceptable to use, providing they are used in accordance with the maker’s instructions and stipulated concentrations.

The following are some of the most common chemicals found in household situations. It is not an exhaustive list and the golden rule should always be ‘if in doubt, leave it out’.

Bear in mind also that it isn’t only the toilet that is connected to the treatment plant; anything that goes down the sink, bath etc. also ends up there.

Washing machine and dishwasher detergents, washing-up liquids

Perfectly all right in normal concentrations and usage. Problems can occur if, for instance, you are washing the jerseys of the local rugby club’s five teams! Excessive amounts of biological detergent can affect the biomass development.

The BioDisc incorporates a unique flow management system which enhances its ability to handle shock loads of detergent waste, but there are limits even to this, so if you have to do unusual amounts of clothes washing it would be a good idea to spread it over a few days.

Floor cleaners, disinfectants and bleaches

These are safe to use in accordance with the maker’s recommendations and in the minimum necessary concentration. Do not pour neat disinfectant or bleach down the sink or outside gullies. If these are smelly it usually indicates a build-up of decaying material or a plumbing problem and should be dealt with accordingly.

Nappy disinfectants and bottle sterilising fluids e.g. Milton

When disposing of the used fluid, ensure that it is well diluted with water. The easiest way of doing this is usually to flush it away down the toilet.

Waste disposal units

These do not inhabit the micro-organisms, but depending on use, they can present the treatment plant with considerable extra load. It is much better to compost your vegetable peelings etc. as it’s much cheaper and more environmentally-friendly.

Home beer and wine making

This presents a similar problem to waste disposal units. The treatment plant has to work as hard to treat one pint of beer tipped down the drain as it does to treat all the normal waste produced by one person in 24 hours. See also the notes above regarding bottle sterilising fluids

THE FOLLOWING MUST NOT BE DISCHARGED INTO THE DRAINS

  • Motor oil, grease, anti-freeze, brake fluid etc.
  • Cooking oil and fat
  • Weed-killer, insecticides, fungicides and other gardening chemicals
  • Paint, thinners, white spirit, turpentine, creosote etc.
  • Medicines – take unused medicines to a pharmacist for safe disposal
  • Photographic developing fluids
  • Nappies, sanitary towels, rags, soft toys, tennis balls etc. – it’s amazing what gets flushed down the loo from time to time! Although such items are not directly damaging to the micro-organisms they can cause problems, not the least of which is simple blockage of the drains. Even so-called ‘disposable’ nappies and sanitary towels often do not degrade fully in the treatment plant and can lead to malfunction, so it is best to dispose of them by other means.

Routine de-sludging and servicing

These are vital to the plant’s ongoing operation and should be carried out in accordance with the guidelines in the owner’s handbook.

Our team of engineers are fully qualified and experienced in servicing and maintenance of your sewage treatment system. Call us for a quote on 01388 537030.

How to do a percolation test2019-05-30T13:58:53+00:00

To establish the overall length of a drain run needed when installing a septic tank, a soil porosity (percolation) test is required. The following procedure should be adopted:

  • Excavate a hole 300mm square by 300mm deep below the proposed invert level of the land drain.
  • Fill hole with water to a depth of 300mm and allow to drain away overnight.
  • Refill to a depth of 300mm and observe the time taken to drain from 75% full to 25% full level (i.e a depth of 150mm). Divide this time by 150mm. The answer gives the average time in seconds (Vp) required for the water to drop 1mm.
  • Repeat this exercise two more times with at least two trial holes. Calculate the average time.

This time will be used by whoever installs your septic tank and soakaway system, to determine the size of drainage field needed.

How much is a Klargester BioDisc?2019-05-30T13:43:18+00:00

The price of a Klargester BioDisc is dependent on the size of the system you purchase, the invert height, and whether it is a gravity or integrated pump system. At RA Dalton, we work hard to keep our prices competitive for our customers, so if you find our prices cheaper elsewhere we will do our best to match or beat them!

The cheapest Klargester BioDisc is the gravity BA BioDisc with 450mm invert, which is suitable for up to 6 population (maximum 4-bedroom house). You must ensure, however, that you select the correct system for the size of your property, which may not be the cheapest in the range.

Before purchasing your system, please read our articles on sizing your sewage treatment system and which sewage treatment system should you buy.
Alternatively, give us a call on 01388 537030 or email info@radalton.co.uk and we will be happy to help.

How much does a septic tank cost?2019-05-30T14:00:13+00:00

The costs involved in purchasing a septic tank depends on:

  • The size of the septic tank you need
  • The brand of septic tank you purchase
  • The depth you require the septic tank to sit in the ground

Septic tanks cost less than sewage treatment systems because they offer little biological sewage treatment. They settle and partially digest settled sewage which requires regular de-sludging, and the wastewater is discharged into a soakaway system which allows the ground to provide further treatment via soil bacteria.

At RA Dalton, we supply Klargester septic tanks in varying sizes including the Alpha onion-shaped tank and the Sigma shallow-dig tank.

Each style of tank has its own benefits, and depends on your site, usage and budget. For advice on which tank is most appropriate for your needs, contact us on 01388 537030 or email us at info@radalton.co.uk.

Please note: septic tanks will not give the required water quality to allow discharge to a stream/river/surface water drain. Following purchase of your septic tank, you will need to organise a soakaway to be installed on site to enable effective drainage of waste water, and you will also need to arrange annual emptying to prevent build-up of sludge. You may wish to consider a sewage treatment system which provides effective treatment of effluent, and enables waste water to be discharge to a stream/ditch/watercourse.

How does a separator work?2019-05-30T13:05:43+00:00

Oil separators can be fitted to surface water drainage systems to protect the environment from pollution by oils. They work by separating the oil from the water, and then retain the oil safely until it is removed by a licensed Waste Carrier company.

They are installed to contain oil leaks from vehicles and plant and accidental spillages. To be effective, oil separators need to be correctly designed, installed and maintained. This is where RA Dalton come in, as we can visit the site to size the appropriate separator, recommend the best location for install and cover the entire installation and ongoing maintenance for peace of mind.

How do I size a separator for my site?2019-05-30T13:08:42+00:00

Nominal size Separators are tested in accordance with the standard test procedure in the European Standard. Each separator is allocated a nominal size (NS) on the basis of the test results. Therefore, Full Retention and Bypass Separators are referred to as NS and NSB respectively.

The nominal size of a Full Retention Separator that is required for a catchment area (A) is obtained using the following formula:

NS = 0.018 x A (in m2)

For a Bypass Separator, the formula is:

NSB = 0.0018 x A (in m2)

In addition, capacity for silt storage (C) must be provided for all separators – either as an integral part of the separator or as a separate upstream unit – according to the following:

C (in litres) = NS x 100 or C (in litres) = NSB x 100

Silt capacity for a Bypass Separator must be provided either upstream of the separator or in the bypass weir chamber, and not in the main oil separating chamber. Separators must be designed such that when the silt chamber or silt area of the separator is full of silt, this will not affect the operation of the separator, the skim pipe or the bypass device.

Oil storage capacity

The oil storage capacity is defined as the volume of separated oil that can be stored in the separator without any of the stored oil entering the inlet or outlet of the separator. The oil storage volume (V) is given by the following:

V (in litres) = NS x 10 or V (in litres) = NSB x 15

On sites where significant oil spillages are foreseeable, make sure the oil storage capacity is sufficient to retain any such spillage and a separator larger than that identified in Section 4a may be required.

Minimum size

The minimum working capacity (which excludes any provision for silt deposition) of a separator should be 1,000 litres; though for forecourts, it is likely that risk assessment will indicate the need for a larger separator. For Bypass Separators, the minimum capacity is defined as the working capacity of the oil separating chamber only.

Do your separators come with lids?2019-05-30T13:04:58+00:00

We do not provide covers or lids with our separators, as the type of lid required is very site-specific. Any good local builder’s merchant should be able to supply a lid suitable for the application you need, depending on the frequency and weight over vehicles travelling over them.

Do I need Environment Agency consent to install a septic tank/sewage treatment system?2019-05-30T13:54:05+00:00

For a septic tank with a population of 15 people or less, installed in suitable ground conditions and within the suitable siting parameters (refer to Building Regulations Document H), Environment Agency consent would not be required.

For a sewage treatment system, there are currently 3 levels of permit:

Exemption permit

For discharge conditions of less than 5 cubic metres per day direct to a watercourse, or less than 2 cubic meters to ground, you can apply for an exemption permit online at no cost (this is currently under review by the Environment Agency and Defra)

Standard Rules Permit

For discharges of 20 cubic metres or less outside the above, the property owner should apply for a standard rules permit to discharge the treated effluent. Application forms are available online from the Environment Agency website, and you will need to ensure the work meets the site and system meets the criteria set out for the permit to be granted.

Bespoke Permit

For all other discharges not covered by the above, a bespoke permit is required and again can be found on the Environment Agency website, and you will need to ensure the work meets the site and system meets the criteria set out for the permit to be granted.

Registering for exemptions/permits

We can provide advice and assistance with the application process. Contact us on 01388 537030 for more information – please also visit the Environment Agency website to read more about the criteria for each permit and apply.

Do I need building control approval to install a septic tank/sewage treatment system?2019-05-30T13:50:29+00:00

Generally, septic tank installs do not require Building Control approval if you are replacing like-for-like or installing a tank in the same place as the original. If you are moving the location of the septic tank, you may need approval.

Sewage treatment plant installs generally do require approval from Building Control, but always check with your local council, as different council areas vary.

Do I need a separator on my site?2019-05-30T13:07:56+00:00

A separator is required on sites where surface water may be contaminated by oil. These sites need to have measures in place to prevent this oil from polluting the environment. Sites that commonly required a separator to be installed include:

  • Car parks typically larger than 800m2 in area, or with 50+ car parking spaces
  • Smaller car parks discharging to a sensitive environment
  • Areas where goods vehicles are parked or manoeuvred
  • Vehicle maintenance areas
  • Roads
  • Industrial sites where oil is stored or used
  • Refuelling facilities
  • Any other site with a risk of oil contamination

It’s always best to check whether a separator is required, as you can face hefty fines for discharging polluted water. Give RA Dalton a call on 01388 537030 and we’ll be happy to advise.

Do I already have a separator installed?2019-05-30T13:04:09+00:00

Separators are specified on new build sites in order to comply with Environment Agency Guidelines; for existing sites without any obvious issues, a drain inspection would be necessary in order to ascertain if there is a separator already installed. If a separate is identified but there was an unclear service history, we would recommend a full service which can be carried out by our experienced engineers.

Common problems with sewage treatment systems2019-05-30T13:35:59+00:00

Odours

A well-maintained, fully working sewage treatment system should not produce any odour. If you are noticing odour from the system, this could be due to:

Poor ventilation: check that the system is ventilated correctly through the stench pipe on the property/remote vent.

Lack of aeration: check that the aeration system is running correctly

Tank requires emptying: if the primary tank is not emptied as recommended, this can cause odours

Poor performance/effluent quality

Lack of aeration: check that the aeration system is running correctly

Faults with specific parts: if one or more of your parts are not working correctly, this can easily have a knock-on effect and stop the system running as it should. For example, if your motor is faulty it can trip the electric and lead to the system flooding.

System is either overloaded or, on occasion, under loaded: if too many people are using the system for the size of the tank then it can become overloaded. Under loading problems are rare as most systems are robust and operate on small flows.

Tank requires emptying: if the primary tank is not emptied as recommended, this can reduce performance and effluent quality

Chemicals and other biological inhibitors: high concentrations of detergents and cleaners will cause poor performance. The O&M manual for each system gives an overview of limitations, appropriate concentrations etc.

If you have concerns about your sewage treatment system, give us a call on 01388 537030 and we can arrange an engineer call-out, if appropriate, to diagnose the fault and organise repair/replacement of parts if necessary.

Common problems with septic tanks2019-05-30T14:01:35+00:00

Odours

Poor ventilation: check that the system is ventilated correctly through the stench pipe on the property/remote vent.

Tank requires emptying: if the primary tank is not emptied as recommended, this can cause odours.

Drainage field failed

The most common problem with a drainage field is that the drainage is backing up. This can be identified by checking the levels in the septic tank. The cause is likely to be a failed drainage field, which could be fully saturated due to poor soil conditions or a high winter water table, or a blocked drainage field due to solids carried over from the septic tank/sewage treatment system. If you do not maintain (arrange emptying of) your system, solids can pass through the tank and therefore block the downstream drainage field.

Generally, to rectify the situation, an engineer would need to replace the drainage field – jet washing may occasionally be an effective solution, but this is on a case-by-case basis and advice should always be sought by a qualified engineer.

Poor performance

System is overloaded: if too many people are using the septic tank for the size, it can become overloaded.

Tank requires emptying: if the tank is not emptied as recommended, this can reduce performance.

Chemicals and other biological inhibitors: high concentrations of detergents and cleaners will cause poor performance. The O&M manual for each system gives an overview of limitations, appropriate concentrations etc.

If you have concerns about your septic tank, give us a call on 01388 537030.

Common problems with cesspools2019-05-30T13:13:06+00:00

cesspool is simply a storage tank with an inlet and no outlet – when the tank is full, the raw sewage must be tankered off-site to a sewage treatment works. As the cesspool provides no treatment of effluent or discharge, it may be necessary to empty regularly and can be consequently expensive.

Many of the older brick and concrete-built cesspools are prone to leaking. Leaking contents into the ground can cause ground pollution – a cesspool leaking and installed in a high water table will take water in from the surrounding ground, and require further emptying during wet periods.

Modern cesspools are constructed from GRP/plastic and are watertight, although we would always recommend either a septic tank or sewage treatment system unless there is no other option for the site. If you require assistance, give us a call on 01388 537030.

5 reasons to service your system2019-05-30T13:15:50+00:00

Identifying Faults – small problems, if left unchecked, can lead to bigger issues which can result in major repairs or even a completely new system. Regular servicing means that any excessive wear or issues with parts in your system can be checked, repaired and replaced where necessary, keeping your costs down and your system running sweetly!

Maximum Efficiency – our engineers will make sure your system is clean and free from any problems which may be causing excessive wear. They will thoroughly check all parts, and will also advise when the system will require emptying, which we can arrange. All of this means your system will be running to its maximum efficiency, resulting in lower overall running costs and peace of mind.

Environment Agency Regulations – you are required by law to keep your system appropriately maintained and emptied on a regular basis, and keep a record of all works carried out. You will be liable for a fine from the Environment Agency if you do not address problems that occur as a result of poor maintenance or lack of emptying, such as discharging untreated effluent into a controlled watercourse.

Moving Home? – if you choose to sell your property it is a major benefit to potential buyers if you can prove you have ensured appropriate upkeep of your system, and in some cases can attract a higher value for your property. This is another reason to keep full records of any repairs, and it is highly likely your solicitor will ask for copies of all paperwork.

Peace of Mind – we take the stress out of servicing, so you don’t need to worry! Our regular servicing customers receive priority assistance if you experience a breakdown, and we have engineers on hand 24/7 to provide advice and support when you need it most.

Chat to our friendly team about what we can offer on 01388 537030.

5 reasons to empty your system2019-05-30T13:12:26+00:00

No Unpleasant Odours – keeping on top of de-sludging your system means no unpleasant odours escaping! If you can smell unpleasant odours, there is likely to be a problem with your system, so make sure you get it regularly serviced and emptied.

Maximum Efficiency – our tankering partner company will remove up to 1000 gallons of effluent from your system to make sure it is not overloaded, or reducing the performance of your system. This will ensure your system is running to maximum efficiency and not placing excessive wear on parts.

Environment Agency Regulations – you are required by law to keep your system appropriately maintained and emptied on a regular basis, and keep a record of all works carried out. You will be liable for a fine from the Environment Agency if you do not address problems that occur as a result of poor maintenance or lack of emptying, such as discharging untreated effluent into a controlled watercourse.

Moving Home? – if you choose to sell your property it is a major benefit to potential buyers if you can prove you have ensured appropriate upkeep of your system, and in some cases can attract a higher value for your property. This is another reason to keep full records of any repairs, and it is highly likely your solicitor will ask for copies of all paperwork.

Peace of Mind – we take the stress out of emptying, so you don’t need to worry! Our regular servicing customers receive priority assistance, and we have engineers on hand 24/7 to provide advice and support when you need it most.

Chat to our friendly team about what we can offer on 01388 537030.

5 essential septic tank tips2019-05-30T13:57:40+00:00

A septic tank provides a traditional solution to sewage disposal needs for domestic dwellings without access to mains drainage. Septic tanks may be installed, subject to consent, in applications where soil is of suitable porosity, installations complies with Building Regulations and the installation will not contaminate any ditch, stream or other watercourse.

A septic tank requires emptying (de-sludging), and a well-constructed, properly maintained tank could last indefinitely. Following a few simple rules – like not using too much water and not depositing materials in the septic tank that bacteria can’t decompose – should help to ensure a septic tank is trouble-free for many years.

Keep Trees Away from the Septic System

Discourage root damage by keeping trees at least 100 feet away from the septic tank system. Trees with very aggressive roots, such as willows, should be even farther away from the system.

The Toilet Isn’t a Waste Disposal

Never flush cat litter, disposable nappies, sanitary towels, tampons, paper towels, facial tissues, coffee grounds, or cigarette butts and filters. They’ll clog your septic tank in less time than you might imagine!

Minimize Heavy Duty Cleaners

Overuse of heavy cleaners kills beneficial bacteria in the septic tank, so solids won’t break down as effectively.

Avoid Hazardous Chemicals

Varnish, paint thinners, motor oils, gasoline and other similar chemicals can ruin your system and are a hazard to groundwater. Dispose of them properly.

Take Care of Your Tank and Drainage Field

Getting your tank de-sludged and serviced regularly is far more cost-effective than having to replace your entire system, which could run into tens of thousands of pounds. For information on servicing and emptying, please call us on 01388 537030.

We’d love to hear from you.

Call RA Dalton today on 01388 537030 for expert help & advice.

Get In Touch

Durham Office

01388 537030

Burtreeford
Bishop Auckland
County Durham
DL13 1DB

Glasgow Office

01698 827628

21 Carron Place
Kelvin Industrial Estate
East Kilbride
G75 0YL

Chesterfield Office

01246 865412

Unit 22, Midway Business Centre
Bridge Street Industrial Estate
Clay Cross , Chesterfield
S45 9NU