Septic Tank and Sewage System Surveys

Recent legislation changes mean that all existing septic tanks and sewage treatment plants must comply with the Environment Agency 'General Binding Rules'

These apply to any wastewater system that is not connected to mains sewerage and which discharges either to ground or to a watercourse or ditch. The legislation aims to prevent pollution from sewage entering either groundwater or surface water.

If the sewage system does not comply, it is usually very expensive to remedy the problem and in some cases, it cannot be acheived.

septic tank pollution found during a sewage survey
Septic tank pollution found during a sewage survey. It is the blue/grey colour in the water.

Details you should ask for before a septic tank or sewage treatment plant survey

Firstly, the Vendor should know and give the following information under the General Binding Rules:

  • a description of the treatment system and drainage system
  • the location of the main parts of the treatment system, drainage field system or discharge point, if it goes to a ditch
  • details of any changes made to the treatment system and drainage system
  • details of how the treatment system and drainage system should be maintained and the maintenance manual, if they have one
  • maintenance records,

It is very rare that the vendor knows all or any of the above and it is left to us to find it out during the survey.

What Happens in a Septic Tank or Sewage Treatment Plant Survey

The septic tank survey should find anything that is wrong with the tank itself, the inflow and outflow pipes and the drains running away from it. It is also vital that the septic tank discharge point is determined, whether to a soakaway drainfield or a watercourse or ditch, as the rules are different.

In general, the survey will include the following:

Survey of the Tank

  • The condition of the tank
  • The condition of the inlet and outlet 'T' pipes
  • Visual signs that the system 'Backs-Up' in wet weather
  • Size of the tank - is it big enough to comply with current regulations?
  • Condition of the lids
Cracked septic tank found during the survey
Cracked septic tank at the inlet

Survey of the Inspection Chambers

  • Are the required inspection chambers actually present
  • Is there standing water in them - if so, the drains have a problem
  • Are they watertight
  • Condition of the lids
Standing water found during the survey
Standing water found in an inspection chamber during a septic tank survey

The Sewage Pipework

  • Are the drains running freely or is water slow to pass through?
  • Is it a combined system - does roofwater enter the sewage drains? If so, it will have to be seperated
  • What is the condition of the pipes at the inspection chambers
  • If there are any doubts about the drains, then a full camera survey may be needed.
Tree roots found during a survey
Tree roots blocking the drains

The Survey Report

  • A full written report will be sent within 48 hours on completion of the survey
  • It will detail what the existing system comprises of and if it complies with the General Binding Rules
  • It will detail what is wrong with the system, if anything, options for the solution and what the cost will be to remedy it
writing the septic tank survey report

Why choose White Rose Installations?

We are a specialist sewage company. We are not involved in any other type of groundwork and only survey wastewater systems.

There are no qualifications needed in the UK for someone to undertake sewage surveys: anyone can set themselves up as a Wastewater Surveyor. Indeed there are no qualifications available anyway.

However, in the Republic of Ireland, things are different and no-one is allowed to survey sewage systems or do the tests for soakaway drainfield design unless they are fully qualified.

Our surveyor is a fully qualified FETAC Wastewater Site Assessor, gaining his qualifications in Waterford, Ireland, so you can be sure that you are using a professional.

We are based near York and cover Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, Durham and Nothumberland at a flat rate of £250, including the report.  Surveys can be carried out in other areas, but will be subject to extra charge.

Tel. Gavin Webb on 01757 289555