Waste Management Contractor Hereford CASE STUDY

A soakaway in Bromyard

Mrs Cockayne’s soakaway took years to go wrong, and all of four days for Mayglothling to replace...

Mrs Cockayne inherited Downfield Cottage from her father, and had not long moved in when she suspected her high level septic tank was at fault. “There was nothing to be seen on the surface”, she explained, “but the drains were backing up, and one morning I was in the shower when my husband said ‘get out!’ I looked out of the window and there was sewage in the garden; it was a nightmare”

Ever since she’d moved in, the drains had been working on and off, with a lot more off than on. When taking a shower can spell disaster, something clearly needs to be done. Mayglothling were recommended by a friend of the family, and our Estimator, Llewellyn Layton, was on the scene with all due haste.

One thing after another...

Llewellyn identified an issue not with the tank but with the soakaway – a series of trenches in the garden, stone above and below a perforated pipe, with a breathable membrane above to keep the soil from falling in. In this case the soakaway had totally failed, so Mayglothling sent Chris and Will to advise Mrs Cockayne on her options. She liked that they left her time to think, rather than pressing her for a decision there and then, and after due consideration and another chat she invited them back to test the soil porosity.

Porosity is the amount of space between the particles of soil, which dictates how much water or air the soil can absorb. The tests themselves are simple: dig test holes everywhere the soakaway could go, pour in a set amount of water and see how much is absorbed within an hour. Do that three times, work out an average rate of absorption, and compare that to the number of people in the house.

Soil types can vary widely across even a small area of land, however. Clay, being very thin, absorbs water like nobody’s business – good for sculptors, good for soakaways.Coarse, sandy soils have low porosity and aren’t absorbent enough for a soakaway – the particles are too big – and sadly, this proved to be the case at Downfield Cottage.
The new soakaway had to be at least 10m from the old one or it wouldn’t work, which already meant a finite number of options for locations. The porosity tests narrowed things down further: the only area available was in the front garden by the garage, at the top of a slope.
Third time lucky!

Llewellyn and the team paid another visit, this time quoting a price for the work to be done. “It was more than I’d expected,” she said, but Mayglothling “were obviously a brilliant firm” and had earned her trust.

To be on the safe side, we installed a sewage treatment plant – the Klargester Biodisc – and laid the new soakaway at the same time. The system had to pump waste from the treatment plant up to the top of the garden, then down the slope alongside the garage itself.

We were there within three weeks once the go-ahead was given, and the work itself was turned around in four days flat. The bulk of the time wasn’t spent on installation, but on working out where it was safe to install and making decisions: in the event of a crisis, we suggest that you make contact quickly. The sooner we know what’s up, the sooner we can advise you as to options.