Sewage treatment plants can be a reliable, efficient way of managing your wastewater for many years if you are not connected to the mains drainage system. Like all mechanical products they can go wrong – however there are a number of simple precautions you can take to reduce the likelihood of this happening.

Gilson Environmental Services specialise in sewage treatment plant servicing in Suffolk, Norfolk and across East Anglia. Here are our key do’s and don’ts for everyone who owns this type of unit.


The Do’s

Think First Before You Dispose of It – Always think before putting anything down the sink, toilets or drains. This includes oils, fats, food waste, mouthwash, paint and adhesives. Disposing of too much of any of these products at any one time could reduce your unit’s operational efficiency.

Be Careful with Cleaning Products – Use the manufacturers’ recommended guidelines on cleaning chemicals while bearing in mind the hardness of your water. When using cleaning products, be careful not to use too much as heavy doses of products, such as bleach, can kill the important bacteria inside your sewage treatment plant. If it helps, think of your treatment plant as a stomach, which can be upset if you introduce the wrong chemicals into it.

Space Out Your Washing – Most washing products contain a level of bio-starch which can affect your unit. If you can reduce or minimise your washing frequency by spreading it out through the week, this will help reduce the risk of damage. Using a liquid solution to clean your clothes rather than powders will also help.

Get Your Unit Emptied Regularly – Your unit will treat the effluent inside; however, sludge waste will build up over time. It is advisable to have your sewage treatment plant emptied annually, although the exact intervals will depend on the usage level of the unit. A capable service engineer, who asks the right questions, should be able to establish if the frequency can be varied.

Service Your Unit Regularly – As a treatment plant owner, it is your responsibility to ensure the effluent you are discharging into the local area is clean and does not pose an environmental risk.

As part of the General Binding Rules, you should have your unit service annually to ensure all criteria are met and that the unit is working to its full potential. This can also save a lot of money in the long term, as potential issues can be identified and rectified before they become too costly. A full rundown of the rules can be found here. The rules were updated in October 2023; for more details follow this link. Remember there is no such thing as a maintenance-free sewage treatment plant!

Inspect the Unit Yourself – This does not necessarily mean sticking your head in the ground or down a manhole! But, if you can, walk past your blower box or unit lid and listen to the distinctive sounds. Usually, if there is an issue you will be able to notice a lack of noise.

Keep an Eye on your Beacons! – In sewage treatment plants, yellow means a loss of air, while red is a high-level alarm.  If you see a red light, you have approximately 24 hours to act before sludge starts travelling into the final chambers.


The Don’ts

Don’t Flush Sanitary Products – Sanitary towels, nappies, tampons, cotton wool, incontinence pads, cotton buds, rubber products or any other non-biodegradable products should not be flushed down your lavatory.

There is also no such thing as a flushable wet wipe! Facewipes, make-up wipes and conventional wet wipes will all cause issues with your system. They can block the diffuser head and get caught in bio disc mechanisms.

Don’t Put Animal Waste in Your Toilet – You shouldn’t be tempted to put any dog or cat waste in your toilet, as this will cause a chemical imbalance within your unit. Toilet paper and human waste are the only things which should be flushed away.

Don’t Change Your Brands Too Often – Frequently changing the brand of liquid or powder you use in your washing machine or dishwasher can cause issues with your unit.  This is because the bacteria inside your unit will need time to adjust to the new formula before it can work effectively.


Sewage Treatment Plant Maintenance in Suffolk and Norfolk from Gilson Environmental Services

Gilson Environmental services can meet all your sewage treatment plant maintenance needs, whether you live in Suffolk or Norfolk.  We also offer a range of other services, including dealing with cess pool and septic tank problems, soakaways and draining fields

if you have a question, please feel free to contact us on 01473 741530. If you require a service or inspection this can always be arranged. We do not tie our clients into contracts and work on a simple annual reminder.