Sewage treatment system design


Most would agree that good design is one of the three key stages in delivering any successful project but how do you know we can deliver good design for off-mains sewage treatment and crude sewage pumping systems?

We have operated successfully in the off-mains wastewater treatment and pumping business for nearly 45 years. We have a common history with the manufacturers and suppliers of the many different package sewage treatment and package pumping products that have found their way onto the market in that time. Our past and present service and maintenance portfolio includes plant and equipment from most suppliers over those 40-plus years, so we have a unique body of experience on which to draw in order to advise you. That applies as much to a completely new wastewater treatment solution as it does to the identification, ongoing maintenance, possible renovation or eventual replacement of an existing asset. And our maintenance engineers and installation teams build on that experience every day.

Regulatory knowledge

We work to the latest environmental and construction regulations in Scotland, England and Wales. It’s our job and our responsibility to know what has to be done to meet Building Standards and Building Regulations. It’s our job to know whether or not a permit is required from the Environment Agency or Natural Resources Wales or a licence from SEPA, and how to apply for it for you. As members of British Water we not only work to our own industry’s relevant Codes of Practice but also help to develop and encourage best practice through British Water in order to raise standards throughout the industry.

Technical understanding

There is an important distinction to be made between knowing what a package sewage treatment plant does, or what a reed bed does, or what a drainage field does, and understanding the active biological and chemical processes involved in why and how they do it to make them work.

Likewise, there is an important distinction to be made between knowing what a pump does and understanding why and how it does it, and what makes one type suitable for a particular application and another not.

Some of our key differentiating skills are to be found in this area.

Communication, investigation, consultation

You probably know what solutions are available to you to deal with your wastewater on site – septic tank and drainage field, packaged sewage treatment plant, packaged pump station to main sewer, etc. – but you may not know how to choose between them. We will explain your options broadly and then refine them in detail in light of you telling us what’s important to you. Along the way, we’ll explain to you the implications your priorities and choices. These conversations – there will probably be more than one because good design requires thought and effort – will cover matters such as:

  • the current and future intended use of the property
  • the current size of the property and any future development that may be envisaged
  • your preferred location for the installation of any system
  • the best location for the installation of any system bearing in mind how you may wish to use the site in the future, site levels and gravity flows, natural features and man-made structures
  • the sensitivity of the environment into which you will be held responsible for discharging your treated effluent: over a certain size of discharge, a treated effluent quality stand will be specified and imposed through testing

It’s worth investing that time and effort (whoever you decide to work with) because you have to live with the results if you don’t. If you choose to work with us (and of course we hope that you do) we have to live with the results, too, so we’ll insist on going through that process.

Site investigations are sometimes necessary before some options can be ruled in or out. The most obvious and frequent example of site investigation is percolation testing to establish the porosity of the ground in which it is proposed to construct a drainage field. This is not the place to explain the correct method and detail, suffice it to say that if they are done wrongly, whether intentionally to try to save money or through ignorance, the consequences of basing decisions on misleading results can be expensive and unpleasant and often both.

If you’re building from scratch and to a lesser extent if you’re adding to an existing property, to get the very best value from us you should to involve us before you apply for even outline planning permission. It’s not just far easier to devise a workable foul drainage and wastewater treatment scheme that will maximise the potential of your site at this stage, our knowledge also gives you options, and with options comes best value. Once the plans are approved and foul drainage remains a condition to be discharged and designed around what’s now approved, your options will have been limited.

Independence and choice

The result will be a well-reasoned recommendation of a solution that delivers what’s important to you in terms of capital costs, running costs and maintenance costs, against the backdrop of the regulations that apply and, since we’re dealing with sewage, the natural environment in which treatment is to be achieved effectively and safely. Since we are not “commercially allied” to any single manufacturer – our brand is Hutchinson Environmental Solutions – we offer whole-of-market choices. We have our preferred suppliers, of course, but our preferences are based on our experience of a product’s capabilities and performance, and its manufacturer’s levels of service and back-up to us and, in turn, to you.

Competence and care

Our internal administrative systems and on-site procedures are documented, continuously improved and demonstrably repeatable through our ISO9001 accreditation to ensure that we deliver as high a quality of service as we can. Where necessary we will gladly work alongside other professionals to make sure our solutions are effectively incorporated into drawings and, like other professionals, our design services are guaranteed. As you would expect from a business working to protect the environment, we are also certified to ISO14001.

Good design

Good design, then, is, for us, the process to be gone through to ensure that any solution we propose achieves the purpose it is there to fulfil and that it does so within an agreed brief. And it need not be expensive – let’s just say that good design from Hutchinson Environmental Solutions doesn’t cost the earth.

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