When it comes to getting a sewage treatment solution installed, you want someone who knows what they’re doing and has the right skills, credentials and experience to get the job done. It’s no easy task and the consequences of it going wrong can cost you a lot to put right whilst also leaving you with a smelly mess!
To help you make the right choice, we’ve produced this helpful guide.
The importance of making the right choice
The installation of a sewage treatment system can run into tens of thousands so it’s crucial you make the right choices for the long term. After all, your sewage treatment system should be in operation for a minimum of 25 years before it needs replacing or requires any kind of major refurbishment.
What initially seems like the cheaper option can end up being the most expensive. Especially if it needs major repair works two years down the line or costs more to run than you’d been led to believe.
Recent changes to the law
There has been some deregulation of small sewage discharges in recent years. This follows a streamlining process called EPP2 (Environmental Permitting Programme), which became law in 2010. This about-turn by the Environment Agency (now part of Defra) has caused some concern throughout the industry. It can potentially open the door to unscrupulous trading in the small domestic sewage sector. That said there are still certain constraints in place that contractors have to adhere to.
What should you be asking a potential installer?
We’ve put together some useful questions to help you “interview” your prospective contractor. These questions cover the minimum requirements that a contractor you’re paying should understand.
Do you have a copy of and are you familiar with Building Regulations part H2 2002 edition with 2010 amendments? Ask what its general contents are about.
The answer should be something along the lines of: It covers the Secretary of State’s (or Government’s) requirements for wastewater treatment and disposal.
Do you have a copy of and are you familiar with BS 6297? Ask what its general contents are about.
The answer should be along the lines of: Codes of practice for the design and installation of wastewater drainage fields/soakaways.
Are you familiar with EPP2?
The answer should be along the lines of: It is part of a wider government programme of modernising and improving the many regulations that protect our environment and human health. EPP2 (Environmental Permitting Programme 2), a joint initiative between the Environment Agency, DEFRA, the Department for Energy and Climate Change and the Welsh Assembly Government. It is designed to not only improve environmental safeguards, but to reduce administrative burdens and costs.
Are you familiar with PPG4?
The answer should be along the lines of: The most recent version of the Environment Agency’s Pollution Prevention Guidelines, specifically regarding sewage.
Do you have a copy of and are you familiar with British Water Codes of Practise, Flows and Loads 4? Ask what its general contents are about.
The answer should be along the lines of: The latest loadings published for sizing domestic and commercial sewage treatment systems.
Do you have Public and Products Liability Insurance Cover?
If the answer is no you should not engage the contractor. If yes, request a copy. Find out if it covers them for deep
excavations and below ground tank installations and if it is in date.
Do you have a reference from a previous customer you have completed work for?
They should be able to easily supply you with this.
Are you accredited by the equipment manufacturer, do you know how to commission and service the unit as well as install it?
They should be able to answer yes to this.
Obtaining peace of mind
You are absolutely within your rights to ask these questions. It may seem like a daunting task but it’s your hard earned money you’re spending. It will also provide you with peace of mind that you’re engaging the right contractor.
You may prefer to ask the questions over the phone before wasting your precious time on site visits. A good contractor will be pleased you’re asking him these questions because he will be protecting his reputation. I hope this guide helps you to make the right choices and avoid unpleasant situations.
Cotterill Civils are leading experts in “Off Mains” drainage systems and installation.
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