Hutchinson Environmental Solutions' Regional Manager for the north west of England, Paul Usher, has, over the past 6 months, been involved in providing best-practice technical advice and regulatory guidance to the Morecambe Bay Partnership's recently launched "Call of Nature" campaign. Intended both to raise people's awareness of where their sewage goes if they're not connected to the mains and also what to do to make sure whatever sewage treatment system they have (be it the most basic cesspit for storage, a simple septic tank and drainage field or a more sophisticated package sewage treatment plant) is working properly, the overall objective of the campaign is to prevent sewage pollution in the becks and rivers of Cumbria and Lancashire that eventually flow into Morecambe Bay.
Seven Rivers Trusts in Cumbria, Lancashire and Cheshire ran local focus groups to find out what property owners wanted to know about septic tanks and package sewage treatment plants. Their answers then informed the content of the www.Callofnature.info website, which includes an amusing but very relevant video about the ways in which so many different people enjoy the beauty of our natural environment and who could, therefore, be affected by sewage pollution.
Emma McColm, Morecambe Bay Partnership's LOVEmyBEACH co-ordinator and the driving force behind the campaign:
"Paul's detailed knowledge of the various off-mains wastewater treatment systems and his familiarity with the regulations has been invaluable. We know that were giving people the right information about how often to empty their septic tank, how to recognise a failed soakaway, who's competent to maintain not just the mechanics and electrics of a sewage treatment plant but to also to ensure that it's treating the sewage effectively, rather than polluting the environment. It's not a simple subject but we've been told by a lot of people weve made it approachable- you might say lifted the lid on it?"
"The damage caused by sewage pollution is not often seen where a tank is sited but instead at some distant point across a field, or way downstream and even then the impact might not be related back to its source so its often overlooked by property owners, not purposefully but because they genuinely don't realise what they're doing. It does all end up in Morecambe Bay, however, which many of those same property owners, and their guests on their camping and caravanning sites and in their holiday cottages, hotels and guesthouses, enjoy for its beauty and varied wildlife. It's our common environment: we all enjoy it and we should all take responsibility for looking after it."
The local Rivers Trusts in each river catchment area that drains to Morecambe Bay and the Environment Agency, through their collaborative Catchment Management work, will continue to monitor surface water quality throughout the region in order to track the success of the campaign.
All of Hutchinson Environmental Solutions' sewage treatment plant and package pump station engineers have successfully completed the only training and accreditation scheme to prove competence in the maintenance of off-mains wastewater treatment assets, which is overseen by British Water: engineers' credentials can be checked here.
For site-specific advice and guidance about domestic and commercial package sewage treatment plants or to find out if it's possible to join a main sewer by installing a private package pump station, and the pros, cons and costs of either, contact Hutchinson Environmental Solutions.
Find out about how to love your own beach at LOVEmyBEACH!
Learn more about the valuable work of the Rivers Trusts where you live:
The Rivers Trust is the umbrella body of the Rivers Trust movement.