It’s likely, if you are at the stage of looking for advice on installing a sewage treatment plant, that you will know what this is and how it works. But if you are just beginning your journey into efficient waste water treatment from your property, then it is worth going over a few of the basics.

Firstly, how does a sewage treatment plant differ from a septic tank? The primary distinction is that the former will use mechanical means to break down solid waste, while the latter relies solely on anaerobic bacteria to reduce solids and organic matter. The disadvantage of septic tank installation is that the rate of natural decomposition is typically slower than the accumulation of the waste material, and so the septic tank requires emptying at frequent, regular intervals. Another negative associated with the septic tank is that with this means of waste water disposal, groundwater pollution can result, which can be problematical. Sewage treatment plants, on the other hand, work in a faster, more effective way. But how? In simple terms, sewage and other waste water is fed into what is known as a primary settlement tank. Here, the solids and the liquids are separated and the latter is diverted into a biozone chamber. By means of a pump, the waste is aerated, which encourages the growth of good bacteria. These organisms break down and digest the organic matter, purifying the effluent and readying it to be discharged into drainage systems or local water courses. The typical treatment plant will render the outflow around 95% clean.

So that being said, when is a sewage treatment plant installation appropriate for domestic or business use? As such facilities can typically deal with a larger amount of waste than a septic tank, it is the better option for larger building developments. Alternative scenarios include where more than one household or business needs its waste treated, and/ or treated to a higher standard. Although the advantages of the treatment plant generally outweigh the disadvantages, it is worth bearing in mind that of course a reliable electrical supply will be necessary. There is also still a need for routine and regular maintenance, in order to ensure its operation remains efficient. If it is intended that the effluent is to be discharged straight into a water course, the operator will also need a ‘consent to discharge’ licence from the Environment Agency. There may also be other necessary approvals you will have to secure. Planning permission is almost certainly likely to be needed if this is an entirely new facility on a site where none has been located before. If, however, this plant replaces an existing one, you may not require consent from your local planning authority. It is always better to approach them in any case to check the position.

Of course, approval under the Building Regulations for a new sewage treatment plant is also required. If you seek advice from an experienced and professional company offering such waste management solutions, though, then they will be able to handle the official paperwork on your behalf.