Having moved into his new home only a few weeks before and with Christmas fast approaching, David should have been looking forward to a relaxed festive break, settling in at his rural abode. Imagine, then, his concern when the property’s septic tank failed in early December, causing the drains at the bungalow to back up and a potential health hazard from sewage seeping out.
The 60-year-old IT specialist both lives and works at the detached property near Newtown in Mid-Wales that he shares with his wife, so urgent action was needed to ensure that they could continue living there and use the facilities safely. “We bought the property in November,” David says. “We were here for about four weeks and then the septic tank essentially died. It was really bad. Untreated effluent was coming out of the manholes. My concern was that it would come into the house. I have known people this has happened to, and if you just ignore these things, the problem just gets worse.”
David called upon the services of a local builder to repair the tank but this proved unsuccessful. He was aware that Mayglothling Waste emptied the septic tank once a year for the previous occupants, and so gave us a call. He was impressed with the fast response of the team, who visited him soon after. We initially jetted all the drains leading towards the septic tank and attempted to restore flow to the soakaway. “It became evident that the tank was just filling up,” David recalls. “There was nothing going out, there was a big problem.”
- You may like: Case study: a soak away in Bromyard
Septic tanks are the key component of septic systems, common in rural areas which may lack connection to main sewage pipes. They have an associated soakaway which is essentially a covered, porous-walled chamber that allows water to slowly soak into the ground. Llewellyn Layton, Mayglothling’s Estimator visited the site to assess the situation. “The septic tank was at a high level, which was causing the foul drains to back up towards the property and would show that the soakaway itself was failing,” Llewellyn explains. “Unfortunately we didn’t really know where the soakaway was because the whole area was concrete driveway. It was a two chamber system and the manhole itself was only over the first chamber, so we couldn’t actually empty the second. We thought originally that the second chamber must have been full and that’s why it was all backing up.
David’s covered just the first chamber, so the second couldn’t be emptied.
“When I returned to the site, a small hole had been dug over the second chamber. Having inspected this area it showed that it wasn’t a second chamber it was actually a vertical pit soakaway. There was no way that we could restore flow to that one because it was potentially too deep and it was in the subsoil. This soakaway failure was causing the septic tank to become a holding tank and the foul drain backing up towards the property. Running parallel with the property was a stream, so we then discussed replacing the existing system with an effluent treatment plant, obtaining consent from the Environment Agency to discharge within that watercourse.”
To the rescue
We emptied David’s septic tank every few days while we sought the go-ahead to install a BioFicient plant that would effectively treat the final effluent to enable discharge into the nearby watercourse, some twenty feet below the boundary wall of the property. Llewellyn Layton took care of the application and associated paperwork on behalf of the customer. “He sorted out all the paperwork, bless him, he did the whole lot,” David remembers, clearly appreciative. “He knew the procedure and the Environment Agency knew that he knew. They had obviously dealt with the company before so they had confidence in each other.”
The Environment Agency initially favoured full consent rather than granting exemption to discharge into the watercourse. Llewellyn spoke directly to the agency’s local officer and between them they determined that exemption was appropriate and the permission was fast-tracked. Within just a few weeks Mayglothling’s four-man installation team was able to move onto the site. The four day operation ran smoothly with minimum disruption. “They are the nicest workforce to have in your property,” David enthuses. They certainly knew their stuff – two of them had been working together for thirteen years, they were just really good people.”
The system worked immediately after installation – Mayglothling had resolved the problem. “I was delighted and relieved,” David reflects now. “Truly, these people are tops – pleasant, efficient, very switched on, totally professional and did a good, tidy job. What’s not to like. I really was pleased with the company. I recommend them totally.”
The advice from Llewellyn Layton to potential customers who find themselves in a situation like David’s is to deal with the problem straight away and contact Mayglothling at the earliest opportunity. “We are understanding of what their needs are and try to resolve them as fast as possible,” Llewellyn explains. “We’re there to assist them through a difficult time.”
If you want to avoid any unwelcome presents this Christmas, get in touch with us here at Mayglothling. We’re on hand with help, advice or in case of emergency any time of the year.