Different types of drainage and sewage systems have very different requirements. Drain Doctor West Midlands & Staffordshire can advise and provide treatment for all systems including cesspits, septic tanks and treatment plants.

Septic tanks are used mainly in the countryside but also in urban areas where a main sewage connection is not available.

Although septic tanks are very effective, owners do not always realise how to look after them. Put simply, the foul drain empties into the septic tank (e.g. the old 3 concrete containers or more modern ones) the solids remain and the liquor flows out to the soak away.

The solids are broken down by enzymes in the tank so it is of the utmost importance to maintain the virulence of these magic workers.

If the enzymes die and fail to treat the sewage, the chamber may start to smell. It is recommended that septic tanks are emptied of solids each year to ensure they are active and free flowing into the soakaway.

Unfortunately, it is often found that "smelly" septic tanks have no active enzymes, thus the solids cannot be broken down and turned into liquor.

The reason for this is normally quite simple, the house owner may have been cleaning with bleach or similar products. Even some toothpastes can kill the enzymes. Fortunately, products are available to revitalise the septic tank and start the cycle once more.


Soakaways may be active for over 50 years or they may fail after a few years dependant upon the ground situation.

If the septic tank has been looked after and has been maintained annually the chances are that the soakaway will also be active. However, if it has not been maintained - due to cost for example, then the life can sometimes be reduced.

If a new soakaway needs to be formed due to failure, the environment agency is now more lenient and growing towards the installation of a treatment plant.