Kinetic House, Theobald Street, Borehamwood, England, WD6 4PJ
24hr Drainage & Environmental Specialists
Kinetic House, Theobald Street, Borehamwood, England, WD6 4PJ
24hr Drainage & Environmental Specialists
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02 May, 2022
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How Can I Tell Which Drainage System I Have In My Property?

If you reside in a house that is not near a major sewer, your property will be linked to one of these private drainage systems. Because drainage systems are hidden below, it might be impossible to tell what’s going on or what sort of drainage system you have.

However, knowing what kind of drainage system is present at your property is vital to understanding how to effectively care for it and receive as many years of trouble-free usage as possible.

How Can I Know Which Drainage System I Have?

There are 3 main types of drainage systems:
• Cesspits (Or Cesspools)
• Septic Tanks
• Sewage Treatment Plants

Need Help Identifying Your Drainage Systems? We’re Here To Help.

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Septic Tanks

One of the most frequent types of off-mains drainage systems are known to be septic tanks. With these septic tanks, a pipe connects the drainage from your property to a septic tank. The waste then gets separated into three different types. The resulting wastewater that comes from a septic tank is then transported to soakaway system, a watercourse, or a drainage field (should this be an older drainage system).

A vital point to note is that if you do have an old and traditional drainage system, you need to check if it discharges the wastewater into a watercourse. New rules mean that you cannot discharge septic tank wastewater into a watercourse.

If you’re unsure if there is a septic tank at your, here are a few signs that you can look out for:

• Look for above-ground vent pipes around your property. These pipes are designed to carry odours and bad smells from the septic tank and diffuse them into the surrounding air.

• Do my tanks need to be emptied every year? These may be your septic tanks. If you’re looking for a reliable company who can take care of your septic tanks, Drain 247 provide tanker services to regularly empty your tanks.

• Do you see a few manholes located closely together on your property? This could be a sign that a septic tank is present.


Cesspools or cesspits are mainly installed at properties when a sewage treatment facility or a septic tank cannot be implemented. How a cesspit differs from a septic tank is that they are a holding tank the waste that discharges your property. As such, cesspits need to be thoroughly emptied on a regular basis.

In order too determine whether you have a cesspit in your property, here are a few signs:

• You only have one manhole at the property. Keep an eye out for any covers slabs present as that’s another sign.

• Your tank requires frequent emptying because it fills up too quickly. If you’ve noticed that this tank is filling up quicker, this may be a signal that there are problems.

Sewage Treatment Plants

The most functional type of drainage system is known to be the sewage treatment plant. These facilities operate using electricity and treats your waste even more carefully septic tanks. Due to the quality and thoroughness of the treatment, the resulting waste can be transported to a drainage field or a water course.

These sewage treatment facilities will also require emptying every year. However, these sewage treatment plants have more mechanical parts and therefore, will require more maintenance and than septic tanks and cesspools. This servicing will also need to be completed regularly.

You’ll be able to quite easily determine whether you there is a sewage treatment plant at your property as the signs are more obvious than other drainage systems.

Here are a few signs to look for:

• Do you hear any low frequency noises or humming as you get closer to the sewage facility? This could be the sound of the mechanical parts inside.

• Do you notice a slightly raised cover for the sewage facility? This could be where the plant is housed.

• Do you see an electrical box on the outside of your property? They are usually wall-mounted near the sewage plant.

• Do you usually hear or see any type of alarm to notify you that the sewage treatment plant requires emptying?

Mains Drainage Systems

The majority of people living in London and Hertfordshire would be connected to a local authority water system these days, such as the Thames Water. There are still some properties in rural areas that are connected to off-mains systems, such as cesspits, cesspools, and sewage treatment plants. New build properties are also usually connected to the mains drainage systems.

If you’re connected to a mains sewer system, here is how you can find out:

•  You can review the title deeds for your property or take a look at the original property planning application. They will often disclose what type of drainage system your property is connected to. If you don’t have this information, you can contact your local authority who may be able to provide you with a copy.

•  Secondly, if you have to pay for regular tank emptying at your property, you’re property is connected to an off-mains system. In which case, you are not connected to a mains sewer.

Need Help Identifying Your Drainage Systems? We’re Here To Help.

Book A Drainage Survey Today

Contact Drain 247 for Septic Tank Emptying

At Drain 247, our drainage team covers all types of cesspools, septic tanks, and sewage treatment plants in Hertfordshire and London. We’re available 24hrs, so get in touch if you require septic tank or wastewater emptying services.

Call us on 0800 612 8038 or fill out our contact form here.

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