In the United Kingdom, septic tanks are commonplace as the method for receiving sewage from homes in rural areas that are not connected to the public sewer network, and producing a liquid effluent equal in volume to the water that flows into the drains and toilets.
However, septic tanks have several limitations and pose a threat to the environment and public health. This has led to the need for most septic tanks to be replaced with package treatment plants, or as they are more often called: Wastewater Treatment Plants.
The first and foremost reason to replace a septic tank with wastewater treatment plants is that septic tanks are not designed to treat wastewater to the same standards as wastewater treatment plants. Septic tanks rely on the principle of settlement and flotations of particles in the wastewater to enable a liquid effluent to flow out of thr tank as new wastewater flows in. Although anaerobic digestion by some bacteria does take place there is almost no treatment happening in terms of reduction of pollutants, is not as effective as the mechanical and biological treatment processes used in wastewater treatment plants. As a result, septic tank effluent contains high levels of pollutants including nitrogen and phosphorus, which can contribute to environmental problems such as eutrophication and groundwater pollution.
Another reason to replace septic tanks with wastewater treatment plants is that septic tanks require regular maintenance, which can be costly and time-consuming. Septic tanks need to be pumped out and cleaned periodically to ensure they are functioning properly. This maintenance is essential, but it can be inconvenient and expensive, particularly for homeowners in rural areas who may need to hire a specialist to perform the work. In contrast, wastewater treatment plants are designed to be low-maintenance, requiring only routine checks to ensure they are functioning properly.
The third reason to replace septic tanks with wastewater treatment plants is that septic tanks can be a source of groundwater pollution. Septic tanks are often located near wells, streams, and other sources of drinking water. If a septic tank leaks or fails, the pollutants in the wastewater can contaminate the groundwater, posing a threat to public health. In contrast, wastewater treatment plants are designed to treat wastewater to high standards, reducing the risk of groundwater pollution.
Finally, the replacement of septic tanks with wastewater treatment plants is consistent with the United Kingdom’s efforts to reduce its carbon footprint and protect the environment. Wastewater treatment plants are designed to be energy-efficient and reduce the amount of energy required for wastewater treatment. This not only helps to reduce the UK’s carbon footprint but also reduces the overall cost of wastewater treatment for homeowners.
In conclusion, septic tanks are a common method for treating wastewater in rural areas in the United Kingdom, but they have several limitations and can pose a threat to the environment and public health. The replacement of septic tanks with wastewater treatment plants is a necessary step towards improving the quality of wastewater treatment, reducing the risk of groundwater pollution, and protecting the environment. Wastewater treatment plants are designed to treat wastewater to high standards, require low maintenance, and are energy-efficient, making them a more sustainable and cost-effective solution for homeowners in rural areas.