Since early 2015 the Ribble Trust have been part of a regional campaign which hopes to address the issues surrounding septic tanks and help people address these issues and improve their systems.
The campaign is led by the Morecambe Bay Partnership who have been awarded £50,000 for the project by the United Utilities Catchment Wise Fund. The Lune, Wyre, Eden, South Cumbria and West Cumbria Rivers Trusts, Healthy Waterways Trust and British Water are also involved in this campaign.
What are septic tanks?
Septic tanks are small scale sewage treatment works that are used to treat waste water from homes that are not connected to the main sewage network. When used and maintained properly these micro treatment works function effectively without problems, however if the system is mismanaged the impact on the environment can be very serious.
What happens when they are not maintained?
A properly maintained septic tanks is an efficient, safe and environmentally friendly way of disposing of waste. If these systems start to fail they can smell and spread disease to both animals and humans. A failing system may also pollute rivers, lakes coastal waters and groundwater.
What is the campaign about?
After a year of public meetings and consultations a tool kit featuring a short film, web based resources and literature has been developed and released to try and raise awareness of the negative effects of a poorly maintained septic tank.
‘Call of Nature’ is targeting people on a small, regional scale to try and educate people on how to maintain their system as well as making them aware of the environmental and monetary costs associated with a failing system.
How can I help?
Sewage systems should be emptied annually by a specialist company whether or not they are full.
You should also make sure that ports and manholes are easily accessible and try to keep a written record to help to remind you of when your septic tank needs emptying.
Lookout for signs of a failing system.
There are plenty of tell-tale signs that your septic tank may not be functioning properly. Common things to look out for are;
- Drains which are slow to clear
- Toilets backing up
- Smelly drainage fields
- Dark, smelly discharge in the inspection chamber
If you notice any of these things you should call a specialist for help.
Think before you flush
Whether or not you have a septic tank you should only every flush the 3Ps- pee, poo and paper. Everything else should go into the bin for disposal as items such as cotton buds and plasters do not disintegrate or biodegrade.
You should also avoid putting kitchen waste down the sink, try using a sink strainer to collect scraps and then throw them in the bin, any fats or oils should be collected in an item such as a yoghurt pot to cool before it is disposed of.
For more information visit the Call of Nature Website.