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The advantages and disadvantages of wastewater treatment systems.

Like all systems, wastewater treatment plants have advantages and disadvantages that are important to consider.


The advantages

  • Compact (less than 10m2 of floor space for a complete installation)
  • As efficient as a conventional sewer
  • Reliable
  • Can be installed on difficult and compact sites
  • Cost effective (taking into account installation, running costs and maintenance)

The disadvantages

  • Needs energy to operate (air compressor, turbine)
  • Annual maintenance required (which can be binding on some models)
  • Can be recommended for holiday homes (secondary houses). SBR systems and those with a sludge return process can be more suitable for holiday homes, depending on the occupancy.

What is a wastewater treatment system?

A wastewater treatment system is a tank used for the storage and treatment of sewage, primarily in rural applications where no mains sewage system is available for connection. Following treatment, the effluent is made safe and drains from the tank to a designated soakaway or watercourse.

The wastewater treatment system, or plant, operates as an approved method for the non-collective sanitation for houses not connected to mains sewer drainage. It does so by using the same principle as the typical treatment plants found in a local town or cities.

All such wastewater treatment system in use within the UK must be CE certified to CE12566-3.

Who are the UK regulatory and advisory bodies?

  • England & Wales – The Environment Agency
  • Scotland – Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA)
  • Northern Ireland – Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA)

So, how does a wastewater treatment system work?

During this process, wastewater is treated using a naturally occurring bacteria. These same bacteria grow while feeding on the effluents and oxygen.

Wastewater treatment systems can have between one and three chambers, they are normally prefabricated with all the chambers within one single unit. Inside the unit, the system works in three phases: primary treatment, aeration and secondary treatment.

  1. Primary treatment: during this phase separation of the effluent begins as the heavier sludge settles at the bottom of the tank.
  2. Aeration: this is the process that brings oxygen to the microorganisms in the treatment plant as air is introduced using a diffuser.
  3. Secondary treatment: the final phase of the purification process. Residual sludge is still present in the treated liquid, and as they are heavier, they will once again settle to the bottom of the tank. At the bottom of the tank a sludge return system will transfer these impurities into a new treatment within the aeration phase.

The remaining liquid now meets the required standard and is ready for discharge to a suitably designed discharge area, as required by the relevant local authority.

Contact us if you have any further questions or would like to receive a quote for a wastewater treatment system.


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