Category Archives: Uncategorized

New Treatment Plants Installed

This new sewage treatment plant install in Somerset consisted of a new excavation and associate drainage, as well as installing a new sewage treatment system with a discharge to a high-level soakaway. All of our treatment plant and septic tank installations are carried out with care and diligence towards the environment and the property concerned, along with the health and safety of our clients, employees and the general public.

New sewage treatment system

We supply and fit all tank types, sewage treatment plants, pump stations and associated drainage including:

• Domestic sewage treatment plants
• Septic tanks
• Soakaways and drainage fields
• Pump stations
• All associated drainage solutions


Soakaway Repairs

Soakaway Repairs in Somerset and the South West

A soakaway system carries waste water away from your septic tank and allows water to percolate through the subsoils through a network of slotted pipes. This treatment of the waste water enables the waste water to soak into the ground, retaining the solids in the septic tank.

How do you know if your soakaway is damaged?

Damaged soakaways may not be noticeable at first but there are a few symptoms that could inidicate you have a problem which will need looking into by a drainage engineer. If you find that your septic tank or sewage treatment plant needs to be emptied more frequently, or if you see dirty water pooling above ground, along with sewage smells, we would recommend you get someone in to investigate. If water is backing up from the soakawy into the septic tank, it can cause more pollution than just water leaking from the soakaway, as it means that unsettled sewage is getting out of your tank. Any situation where untreated sewage or waste water is pooling in your garden is obviously a health risk and should be tackled immediately.

What can go wrong with a soakaway system?

The two most common causes of soakaway problems are root damage, where the roots of trees close to the soakaway force their way into pipes and tanks cracking walls and creating leaks, and vehicle damage, where vehicles may drive or park on top of a soakaway, crushing and blocking pipework.

In addition, if you have a problem with your sewage treatment or septic tank system, and solid waste leaves the system, it can become lodged in the soakaway causing blockages and preventing it from working properly.

How to fix a soakaway

As with so many drainage issues the key to an economical and long lasting repair is to fully understand exactly what damage needs to be addressed. At South West Drainage Services we have over 30 years of experience working in the drainage industry and our qualified and experienced engineers can assess the problem you are facing and will recommend a suitable course of action. This may involve a CCTV drain survey to more accurately pin point a specific issue which can help to reduce the amount of excavation work required to locate a fault.

We don’t work on commission so will never recommend work that isn’s necessary and will always give you an honest appraisal of any issues we come across in the course of investigating your drainage system. In addition, you may find that your building insurance will cover or contribute to the costs to repair or replace your soakway.

If you have a concern about your soakaway and would like to discuss it with one of our engineers just give us a call on 07743 144124 or email 

CCTV Drain Surveys in Somerset

Using the latest specialist CCTV technology we can survey problem drains to find the exact cause of your drainage issues. Tree roots, cracked or collapsed drainage pipes, even foreign objects can all be detected using specialist software and full detailed reports can be provided for insurance purposes.

Drain Diagnostics

CCTV drain surveys are a vital tool for identifying faults within drainage systems and can prevent costly and unnecessary excavation work as they help us to get to the nub of the problem straight away, and apply a relevant fix without guess work. Once the CCTV inspection is loaded on to the computer we can analyse each section of the drain and identify the right tools for the job and the best way to restore drainage services. In many cases you may find that the survey proves there are no structural faults, and this can save time and money as we won’t need to excavate or replace piping and can instead focus our efforts locating the problem elsewhere in the drainage system.

South West Drainage Services’s CCTV system is capable of surveying pipes from 50mm to 1200mm in diameter and localised faults can be traced and their position identified above ground, allowing any excavation work to be focused on the specific area, resulting in less mess and less cost.

New home drain surveys

Our CCTV drain reports can give home buyers peace of mind when entering into a house purchase. Unknown issues in your new property’s drainage system could prove costly to rectify so it is important to have the facts to hand up front. South West Drainage Services’ CCTV drain surveys will allow us to quickly and accurately identify any areas of concern, and give you a simple outline of what remedial works may be required and the potential cost of fixing any drainage issues found.

You will be provided with survey paperwork detailing the results of the CCTV investigation, as well as images of any particular problems. Our qualified engineers will take the time to go through the report with you and explain what issues have been identified and what we can do to repair them. Get in touch with us today if you would like a quote for a home buyers drainage survey in the South West.


How to unclog a toilet

Here at South West Drainage Services we like to promote simple ways you can handle sewage and drainage problems at home before you need to call on the services of a plumber. Many call outs to plumbers can be unnecessary if you are prepared to investigate the issue yourself so we thought it would be useful to post this fantastic bit of DIY toilet unclogging advice from Shane at DIY Knuckleheads. Thanks Shane!

If your toilet is still blocked

If you are still struggling with your blockage you can call us on 01935 458 023 and we will be able to assist. Our team of experienced, qualified plumbers and drainage engineers can be on site in as little as 2 hours and will quickly and efficiently find the source of the blockage and resolve it for you. We strive to make as little mess as possible and will always put down protective coverings and clean up after ourselves. Contact us today if you need help with your blocked toilet.

Tackling Sewage Flooding

Increasing public awareness of the problems caused by flushing wet wipes down toilets and pouring fat down sinks has seen a significant drop in the number of sewage flooding incidents caused by blockages in public sewers.

It’s still important that homeowners do their bit though and Wessex Water’s complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority about mis-labelled ‘flushable’ wet wipes has highlighted that consumers are still not always certain about what they can and can’t flush to their sewer.

Sewage Flooding Clean Up

Although sewage flooding is rare, when it happens it has a huge impact on residents of the affected dwelling and it’s important to tackle the issue quickly and with the right level equipment. Harmful bacteria and viruses will be present in the flood debris and can quickly spread on contact with the sewage material, affecting the health of adults, children and even pets. Make sure you close any doors which will keep cross contamination to a minimum and wear protective clothing if you are likely to come into contact with the sewage. Wash hands thoroughly after handling anything that has come into contact with the mess or with any equipment used for cleaning or containing the sewage.

At South West Drainage Services we are available on 24 hour call out to help to get your home back to normal as quickly as possible following a sewage flooding incident. We aim to be on site within 2 hours and will contain the mess and identify the cause of the blockage. Our drain jetting and CCTV drain survey services will allow us to quickly locate the source of the problem and we can recommend the most cost effective remedial action to resolve it. We can then get the site cleared and cleaned and advise on how to handle any contaminated items such as floor surfaces, upholstery and furniture.

The best cure is prevention though so think twice before you flush wet wipes or drain fat away into your sewer as it may come back to haunt you!

Drain Jetting Services in Somerset and the South West

If your home or your business premises is suffering from blocked drains this can cause serious hygiene problems as well as interrupting essential services such as the ability to flush your toilets. It is vital to get drain blockages dealt with as quickly as possible and at South West Drainage Services we offer 24 hour call out to get your drains unblocked fast.

Using our high quality state of the art drain jetting apparatus our mobile drainage engineers can be on site to identify and resolve blocked drains quickly and easily. Drain blockages are often caused by oils and fats being poured down the sink, which can solidify and mix with tissues or wet wipes which have been flushed. Over time, these blockages can grow and result in flooding and waste not draining away correctly.

Blocked Drain Services

Our experienced and well qualified drain jetting team have worked in the plumbing and drainage industry for over 28 years and have the expertise to deal with blockages, overflows and even floods that can occur from damaged or blocked drains, toilets, sinks, baths and gutters. We pride ourselves on our friendly staff and fantastic response times. If your blocked drain or plumbing problem isn’t an emergency just give us a call and we will agree a convenient time with you for us to come to your property and talk over with you what we can do to resolve the problem.

Signs That Show Your Drains Need Jetting

With South West Drainage Service’s maintenance contracts our commerical customers know that we will ensure blockages are as unlikely as possible to occur by maintaining free flowing drains and regularly inspecting pipes and plumbing. For home owners, blocked drains can be distressing and messy, so it is a good idea to keep an eye out for some common symptoms that show your drains aren’t in peak condition:

  • Slow draining – If your sink or shower is taking longer than normal to drain away water it can be a sign that pipes are getting clogged with grease, soap or hair and may need attention.
  • Nasty smells – When food debris or even small animals get trapped in drains they can cause not only a bad odour but also pose a health hazard. Smelly drains need cleaning out before they cause more of a problem.
  • Waste backing up – If you find that when your dishwasher or washing machine drains your kitchen sink backs up with water, or similarly your shower has water bubbling up in when you drain the bath or sink, it is a sign of a blockage in your drainage system.

If you are unsure about any of these symptoms in your own home, give South West Drainage Services a call today for a no obligation quote and advice on how we can help.

Why is my water bill so high?

Summer is on it’s way and naturally households on water meters start to warily eye the garden worrying that lawn sprinklers, paddling pools and veggie plots are going to take their toll on their annual water bill. Some of those expenses are of course unavoidable but there are many more areas around the home that could be wasting more water than you think.

Overflows and constantly filling toilets

Dripping or leaking overflow pipes on the exterior of a house can be an indication that a cistern or cold water tank has a faulty valve and so water is continuously flowing into and out of the tank or cistern. Many modern toilets will actually siphon the water straight into the pan, so you may see a constant trickle into the bowl of the toilet itself if you don’t have an external overflow pipe. As well as wasting water which you are paying for, ina worst case scenario this wasted water could be entering your septic tank or cesspit and adding to the cost of having that emptied. At South West Drainage Services our experienced plumbers can investigate and identify a leaking tank or cistern and will be able to fix it for you to ensure you aren’t paying for water you don’t use.

Cracked pipework

Inlet pipework that wasn’t insulated properly can spring a leak as the winter weather gives way to spring. Often this can be just a small but steady loss of water especially on outside taps or pipes that service an exterior building such as a garage or green house. Keep an eye on any exterior pipework to make sure you aren’t wasting water unecessarily.

How much does my paddling pool cost to fill?

Paddling pools are a popular activity in the summer months for families with children and it regularly filling them up can be a worry on a water meter. A standard 5ft paddling pool filled to around 30cm deep actually only uses 0.5 cubic metres of water, costing around £1, which for a day’s activity for children suddenly doesn’t seem so bad. By comparison, a washing machine uses around a third of that at 0.18 cubic metres per load.

If you are worried about a higher than usual water bill South West Drainage Services can help to locate and resolve any leaks you might have. Get in touch for more information.

Cesspools and Septic Tanks – What Is The Difference?

Understanding the difference between a cesspool and a septic tank can be vital to householders to fully understand and manage their drainage system, or to help you make an informed decision when purchasing a property.

Septic Tanks

Tilley, E., Ulrich, L., Lüthi, C., Reymond, Ph., Zurbrügg, C.

A septic tank is often a popular solution to sewage treatment for home owners not on the mains sewer system. Modern septic tanks tend to be made of reinforced fibreglass although older tanks may be constructed of concrete. The tank is water tight and sewage coming in from the property separates out into three distinct layers. Organic matter which floats to the surface as scum gradually becomes liquified through bacterial action. Waste matter or sludge from that decomposition process settles at the bottom of the tank, and the remaining clear water is able to flow slowly out through the outlet of the tank and back through the soil into the water table.

Cesspools or Cesspits


Olek Remesz

Cesspools are more primitive holding tanks for raw sewage and simply allow tainted water to leach out through the walls of the pit into the surrounding ground. Solids should decay and compost at the base of the pit, but because the tank is sealed it will require much more frequent emptying than a similar sized septic system Cesspools are also much more vulnerable to flooding from heavy rains or snow melt, and can be at risk of allowing untreated water to contaminate the water table. Tree roots are another risk to cesspools which can be penetrated by root growth which can cause blockages and overflows resulting in raw sewage backing up into the property, or breaching the hatch and flooding the garden where the cesspit is usually located in a domestic situation.



Considerations For Off Grid Sewage

When selecting a sewage system for your home or business it is important to fully understand the requirements in terms of access, number of users, and potential ongoing costs and maintenance. Septic tanks are the better solution as they comply with modern environmental regulations and will need much less maintenance and less frequent sludge removal than cesspools. At South West Drainage Services we can provide expertise in repairing or replacing cesspools and septic tanks, and can identify and resolve blockages in your system. We have a tanker available as part of our vehicle fleet for disposal of sludge and sewage materials and all materials are disposed of at licenced sites in accordance with our Environment Agency registration.

Get in touch for help with septic tank sludge removal or any other septic tank or cesspool related queries.