Sewage Solutions

Septic Tanks

Septic Tanks are one of the most common sewerage waste treatment processes used here in South Africa coupled with an absorption chamber (french drain).There are 2 types that we can accommodate this process for effluent. Brick built septic tanks and french drains are by far the most common on most agricultural holdings, depending on the soil porosity and the local municipality by laws. Systems, like septic tanks and french drains have many variations – all based of course on the basic principle of waste treatment.

Brick built septic tanks or french drains

This type of septic tank or french drain only works properly for waste treatment when all factors are considered. Factors like soil porosity, location and what regulations were in place, if any when the tank was installed.A built system normally comprises of three chambers which allows the solids in the waste water to separate. The solids either float to the surface or goes to the bottom where the decomposition/treatment of micro-organisms takes place.The remaining waste water would then be either run directly to a soak away/french drain. Many septic tanks have a filtration tank where the waste water filter before leaving the system into the french drain.

Plastic tanks

Polyrib septic tanks or Polyethylene are the norm of the modern day waste water treatment process. Very convenient and build for this purpose. These septic tanks can be easily installed with minimal problems and can easily be connected to a french drain. There are no plastic alternatives for a french drain.Drain Ratz Plumbing Division are installers/repairers of septic tanks and french drains.Septic tanks and french drains are the only other alternative to sewerage concerns especially in the rural areas or farmlands or even in modern day plots.Often times these systems have to sucked out or the french drains can fail.

Why do french drains fail?

Get to know your home prior to purchasing. Often times we check for the plumbing COC, Electrical COC, but we forget to check the sewerage system and whether the sewerage system will cost you money in the long run or if there is a municipal connection. In other words, check all details prior to purchasing a home. Should there be a borehole on the premises, that’s excellent. You score! In most cases where there is a borehole, and no municipal connection, you cannot install a french drain. You have to decide what’s the most lucrative choice for you in the long run. Where do you save money? Honey suckers? Or water?

The most important factor is soil porosity in french drains failing. Often times customers wants us to install french drains in addition to a septic tank disposal unit for product without having first checked the type of soil their plot, farm stead or home is build on. This information you will find at your local municipality or you can test the soil yourself at certain laboratories.

The next best bet regarding failed french drains or to see if you investment will be a lucrative investment in 2 or 3 years would be to first check the soil porosity of your plot or farm land. These systems are not cheap and therefore careful analysis and investigating should be put into whether one can would like to install a french drain coupled to a septic tank or not and whether you are allowed to have one.

By this we mean consider firstly all the possibilities before heading towards a french drain failure.

If a french drain has not failed in the more than 10 years, you can well assured that that soil is able and porous enough to. Most french drains needs attention between 15-20 years in order to see if it is working correctly. Here at Drain Ratz we know all about french drains and septic tanks. Call us if you are not sure and we can assist you with all the necessary information from your local municipality or even take your soil in for a sample test.

Factors to consider before installing a french drain?

1. How many people in the same area have had french drains installed?

2. How many people in the area has had french drains fail?

3. What type of soil is my farm land on? Is the soil constituency, clay, ouklip or is it sandy soil?

4. Is there a borehole on the premises? Most often times one has to choose between water and sewerage disposal?

5. How close to the border will the french drain be installed and how far apart is the neighbours borehole to your new french drain? – There are municipal guidelines in place regulating the excavation of french drains and septic tanks and boreholes.

6. Is there a current french drain installed on the premises and why is it discontinued.

Basically – what we are saying is that you must first make 100% sure that your investment is a sound investment before considering the excavating of french drains only to realise that it is was a futile and money wasting effort.

Septic tanks /conservancy tanks/holding tanks/digesters

These are the common sewerage disposal unit for farmlands and plots and areas where one cannot install municipal toilets.

1. Depending on the size of the family, septic tank installations are inexpensive. It is the maintenance that is very expensive should the septic tank not be coupled to french drain.

2. Septic tanks desludging/cleaning can range anything from R1800 to R2000 for a 1200l septic tank and this must be done on a regular basis as and when the tank gets fully saturated with product. This can become a necessary expensive essential service. Drain Ratz Plumbers are professional installers of french drains and septic tanks as well as  providers of septic cleaners/desludging.

Here at Drain Ratz we usually give the client options. Options to first test the soil and do the research before commencing any project especially relating to sewerage. Options to decide whether they would like a septic tank only or if they would prefer a french drain coupled to the septic tank.

What is a Reed Bed?

A reed bed is a channel lined with impermeable membrane that is filled with gabion stone, gravel and is planted with (macrophytes) like reeds, rushes and treats the grey /black water (waste water). Waste water is passed through the root zone of the reeds where it undergoes treatment. The inlet and outlet of the pipes are positioned below gravel surface so that the water always remains below the gravel surface, thus excluding human exposure to the waste water, mosquito breeding and unpleasant odors. Reed beds are perfect for this.

How do Reed beds work?

Treated effluent from the house is initially filtered prior to entering the reed bed through a filter. This effluent filter is fitted too the grey water collection tank or septic outlet pipe. After filtration of the large solids/floatables, the waste water undergoes many processes as it passes through the reed bed. The reed bed detains the waste water for at least 5-7 days. This detention period of the reed bed directly aids with the treatment by allowing time for the setting and filtering of floatables. Nitrification of suspended solids takes place, fixation onto the substrate, breakdown of organic matter and nutrient removal via micro-organisms and plant uptake. (5-7 days for which the reed bed is designed for). The quality of the treated effluent improves with increased residence time.

Why install a red bed?

We have found that in most cases where the local municipality does not allow for septic tank or french drain but only a digester which gets desludged at exorbitant prices, it is best to install a reed bed. Most recommend option. The use of a red bed produces a secondary treated effluent that allows owners to better utilize their waste water than had it remained primary treated. Reed bed effluent can easily percolate into the soil because it has reduced BOD and suspended solids and poses less risk to human health. The local municipality may have previously given approval to install a septic tank with an absorption french drain within 100 meter radius but as knowledge increases about the on-site domestic or commercial sewerage, if it found that these systems treat the waste water to an acceptable standard only. If the absorption trench fails, it will be better to install a reed bed which will improve the quality of the septic tank effluent prior to land disposal. Installation of reed beds will also significantly reduce fecal coli forms /pathogen indicator.

Types of soil where reed beds can be installed?

Reed beds can usually installed on sites on soil that does not allow for easy permeation – sand, clay, steep slopes, allowing the water to be treated to an acceptable standard prior to land application. Drain Ratz Plumbing Division is installers of Reed Beds.

Green sewerage disposal systems (reed beds)

We have had a look at many of the sewerage disposal systems that are being offered and there is really only one system that really is green: The reed bed system. Nature’s own way of taking care of sludge/product. Reed beds are mostly excavated in areas where we have failing french drain systems or sand porosity is not good. A Reed Bed can be very pricey in the beginning like any other treatment plant out there, however it tends to pay itself off. The price can range from R45000 to R180 000 depending obviously on certain factors. Drain Ratz Plumber/sewerage consultant can come out and give you a quick analysis to see if you qualify or not. Going green is the only cost effective way today. Choose a Reed Bed Installation as a sewerage disposal system.

The questions you should ask are:

What are green sewerage disposal systems?

1. Is it sustainable and environmentally friendly?

2. Does this system make use of natural substances like: reeds or stone etc?

It is our belief that the word “green” should be a reflection of the natural substances used that Mother Nature has to offer a solution to sewerage and product for the betterment of the universe and the environment. Anything more or less is just an alternative to ‘green sewerage disposal”

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