Home owners


We cover all areas of Northern Ireland


If you are reading this it is probably because you are having a problem with your septic tank.

If you are having a problem give me a call or email me.


If you want to try and solve the problem yourself, the following info might help.


To understand septic tanks we really should be talking about “septic tank systems”

Septic tank systems consist of a tank followed by a system of drains in the ground.


Septic tanks can be constructed from various different materials and in various configurations.


Material options

Concrete blocks with a sand/cement render on the inside

Precast concrete

Various forms of moulded plastics



Tank layouts

Single chambers

Multiple chambers from 2 to 4

Some of the chambers can have a filter media


Inlets and outlet positions can vary


There can be various types of outlet filters

There are various methods of effluent transfer within the tank

There are various methods of venting tanks


Maintenance varies depending on structure, layout, filters etc.




Just as maintenance can vary so to can problems.


General guidelines for the construction of septic tanks have existed for years but given the fact that most

 tanks have been required in rural areas the local builders/farmers have put their own ideas into the

 designs, resulting in some very good arrangements and some very bad arrangements.


Despite the fact that I have been inspecting septic tanks for many years when problems have arisen, I still

come across completely original designs.




These drains can be referred to using various different terms


Percolation drains


Sub surface irrigation systems

Effluent dispersal areas

Drain fields


There are many more terms in use and these can quite often be associated with particular country areas.






The fact is that these drains are a very critical part of a “septic tank system” and are not only for getting

rid of the liquid leaving the septic tank.

VERY  IMPORTANT  Drains installed after a septic tank must be in the form of closed system.

On no occasion must a discharge from a septic tank be allowed to discharge into a water course.


Sewage causes pollution by introducing dangerous bacteria into streams, rivers, lakes and the sea.

This can cause illness in animals and in humans.

 A correctly designed percolation drain system installed correctly in suitable ground will prevent pollution

 by creating the right environment for the bad bacteria to be broken down within the ground.


The theory behind the correct design takes in various sciences and many years of expertise in the process.





A variety of problems can occur with septic tank systems.

They depend on many different factors.


For example

Age of tank

Age of drain system

Design of tank

Design of drain system

Quality of materials used

Quality of workmanship

Ground type

Changes in ground conditions

Physical damage- large diggers moving over or near the system

It is not unusual for various different factors to be involved by the time a problem becomes obvious.

The problem might present itself as one or a combination of the following


Bad smells

Flooding around the tank

Flooding from manholes before the tank


Flooding from manholes after the tank


Surface water pollution


Stream or river pollution


Toilets not flushing properly


The tank needs emptying more than once a year




Due to the variables mentioned above it can take quite a bit of investigation and experience to get to

the bottom of the problems occurring with any particular tank system.


Even percolation drains installed in perfect ground and constructed to exact good practice standards can eventually block.


In some states in the US septic tanks and percolation drains are only permitted if a reserve drain field can be installed. This

is an acknowledgement that percolation drains eventually fail.



Sometimes drain cleaning companies will attempt to flush out blocked percolation drains. The success of this operation

is very difficult to measure but it is unlikely that it will provide a long term sollution.


We work with contractors in many parts of Northern Ireland so if you require work to be done at your property to upgrade your treatment system to NIEA standards we can obtain competitive quotations for the work.


We can provide specifications for pricing by contarctors of your choice. This can be developed to a project supervision role if required.


We have been able to advise many home owners on the problems they are having and the possible solutions.

On many occasions this has been achieved using photographs taken on site by the client and assessment by us remotely,without incuring the costs of a site visit. Give us a call or contact us by email.


Important note

Every septic tank system in Northern Ireland must have a valid "consent to discharge".

The "consent to discharge" is granted by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency ( NIEA ).Older consents were granted by the Environment and Heritage Service.

If you want to check if your property has a "consent to discharge" you can contact the NIEA on 028 92633499

Every consent has particular conditions applied for that specific property.