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J.H. Willis and Son

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Cesspit emptying and the environment

By | Blog

If your home isn’t connected up to mains sewage, you’re more than likely using a cesspit or septic tank. Equally, if you run a temporary or rural site like a building plot or campsite, a cesspit or septic tank system could be your best sewage and drainage solution. Although both systems are far simpler than a mains sewage system, they do require plenty of maintenance and general looking after. This is not only because they are essential to the running of your home or site, but also because a dysfunctional system can have adverse effects on the environment.

At J H Willis & Son, we are registered waste management specialists and, because we’re registered with the Environment Agency, you can trust that our solutions promote the health of the environment as well as human health too. We regularly clean and empty cesspits and septic tanks, so we’re the best people to discuss all of your liquid waste concerns with. To learn more about keeping a cesspit and making sure it’s complying with environmental standards, read on.

What are cesspits?

Cesspits are the in the same family as septic tanks in that they act as replacements for mains sewage systems. Like septic tanks, they tend to be used in rural areas at homes or businesses which aren’t connected to the mains sewage but are close to a water source or drinking water supply, meaning a septic tank system wouldn’t be suitable. Both cesspits and septic tanks are in place to collect sewage and wastewater produced by kitchen drains and bathrooms in both domestic and commercial properties.

Unlike septic tanks, cesspits don’t have any form of drainage system which separates or distributes waste elsewhere, they simply store waste. These on-site sewage facilities are usually discreetly buried underground, with a manhole cover for access by your local waste collection team. The lack of a filtration system is the key difference between a septic tank and a cesspit and is precisely why cesspits require far more maintenance and cleaning.

The importance of cesspit and septic tank cleaning and maintenance

Cesspit and septic system maintenance can be a confusing process as both have different requirements. When it comes to septic tanks, the rules and regulations are much stricter due to the fact that they are drained out into water or onto the ground. Firstly, the waste that goes into a septic tank must be domestic. This means that the waste must come from a toilet, bathroom, shower or kitchen of a house, flat or business (used by people, for example, a pub, hotel or office). If you own a septic tank and you believe your sewage isn’t domestic, you should contact your local liquid waste management company or the Environment Agency. Secondly, your septic tank must not produce pollution. To know if your waste causes pollution, check for bad smells and poor drainage or, if you release sewage into water, check for smells, overflowing sludge and white scum or foam.

When it comes to cesspits, the regulations aren’t as strict because the waste is contained within a controlled environment, i.e. inside your cesspit. However, this means that cesspits must be periodically cleaned and emptied once a month by a registered waste handler. This does slightly depend on the amount of waste you produce, but regular cesspit emptying should be a priority if you own one. This will prevent excessive build-up, flooding and overflow.

Legal requirements

It is extremely important to prevent your cesspit from overflowing, as in the UK, owning an overflowing or leaking cesspit is an offence under the 1936 Public Health Act. Equally, if the overflow subsequently pollutes a watercourse, the Environment Agency can take legal action under the Water Resources Act 1991. The main symptoms of an overflowing cesspit or septic tank are pungent bad smells, slow drainage, wastewater backup and unusually green grass around the system.

Environmental benefits

Although looking after your cesspit or septic tank can be time-consuming, costly and require the adoption of new habits, overall it can be a more environmentally friendly solution and can keep you ‘off-grid’. So, as well as keeping you in the law’s good books, properly maintaining your cesspit is very important for the environment around where you live. The environmental benefits of regularly emptying your cesspit or septic tank are:

  • Chemicals used in septic tanks can be very dangerous if they leak into the surrounding environment, so cleaning them regularly reduces the risk of this.
  • These chemicals and the contents of your cesspit or tank can contaminate the ground with dangerous pathogens and viruses.
  • If you don’t empty your tank and it overflows, this can leads to algae blooms resulting in growth of toxic cyanobacteria.
  • The presence of cyanobacterial mass populations can lead to water quality problems and even animal and human poisonings.

Advantages for people and animals

The good thing about cesspits and septic tanks is that they rely on natural processes. Commercial waste treatment plants often use artificial and potentially hazardous chemicals. When a drainage system is connected to a septic tank and the waste is released into the tank, the waste is broken down by healthy bacteria, rendering the waste products harmless and avoiding environmental contamination.

Equally, when waste is released into a cesspit, it stays contained within the pool and, if looked after properly, won’t get released into the surrounding area. This means that communicable illness is far less likely to spread, keeping your family and your pets healthy.

Below, we list a few tips for keeping your off-mains sewage tank healthy, in order to keep you and your environment healthy too:

  • Dispose of non-biodegradable materials elsewhere. For example, grease, sanitary items, nappies, toiletries, paint etc.
  • Try not to put strong chemically-based products down your drains, including drain cleaners, bleach and antibacterial cleaners.
  • Try to limit the amount of food waste that goes down your drains, such as coffee grounds and other small bits of food. Invest in a plug catcher and a food waste bin.

J H Willis & Sons: Environmentally-friendly liquid waste removal

Here at J H Willis & Sons, we understand the importance of regularly cleaning, emptying and generally maintaining septic tanks and cesspits, both for the surrounding environment and the human population. This is why we work closely with the Environment Agency and local councils in order to minimise the environmental impact of waste products. This also enables our customers to ensure they’re complying with government guidelines and regulations.

When we visit a customer’s site, we carry out a cesspit or septic tank inspection to ensure it’s being used properly. An inspection should never be carried out by anyone other than registered waste removal specialists like ourselves; opening up a cesspit or septic tank can be extremely dangerous as, without the correct gear, you can be easily overcome by

the fumes and potentially collapse into the tank.

Once we’ve carried out a thorough inspection, we then begin the emptying and cleaning process. The waste material that we collect is brought to our three farms which cover 1,250 acres and stored in our bio treatment storage lagoons. To make the process as environmentally friendly as possible, we then use the treated waste across our crop cultivation areas in relation to the rotation of crops being grown. This returns valuable minerals to the soil which would otherwise not be utilised, for example in a commercial waste system.

Industrial waste management services in Cheshire

So, if you own a cesspit or septic tank in the Cheshire area and you find yourself wondering, “where can I find septic tank cleaning near me?”, look no further than J H Willis & Sons. Since 1965 we’ve been developing our experience and knowledge in order to minimise the effects of domestic, commercial, industrial and agricultural waste disposal on the environment. As a fully licensed waste management company working closely with the Environment Agency, Cheshire County Council and Environmental Health, you can trust that our solutions are not only eco-friendly but also efficient and regulated.

If you’d like any assistance or advice on keeping a cesspit or septic tank, or you’d like to discuss waste management at your agricultural or industrial site, you can get in touch with us online or give us a call on (0151) 356 0351.

Signs it’s time to empty your septic tank

By | Blog

If you own a septic tank, you’ll understand just how important it is to keep it well maintained and emptied regularly. An overflowing tank can cause a number of issues, from causing a variety of health problems to affecting the local environment, so it’s important to ensure that you act quickly if you think your septic tank may be leaking.

Here are just three signs that your septic tank is overflowing and is in need of being pumped:


Unpleasant odours

If you’ve noticed an unpleasant smell in your back garden, it could be a sign that your septic tank is ready to be emptied. Septic tanks are designed to collect waste from your toilets and sinks and are therefore naturally very odorous, however, this should be contained for the sake of you and your neighbours. If you’ve noticed a funny smell in your back garden or have started receiving complaints from people in the local area, it may be time to have your tank emptied.


Puddles of water

An overflowing septic tank is likely to leak, which could, in turn, cause your lawn to flood. As the tank fills, excess water will be forced out into your garden and will collect in puddles – a sure sign that your tank has exceeded full capacity. If you’ve experienced a lot of rain in the last few days, large pools of water could just be a sign that your grass is too waterlogged to absorb any more. However, if there hasn’t been a rain cloud in sight for days, you may need to have your tank pumped.


Poorly functioning drains

Toilets, sinks and bathtubs that aren’t flushing or draining as quickly as usual could indicate that it’s time to have your septic tank pumped. This may not seem like an urgent matter, but it’s important to act quickly to prevent a full sewage back-up from happening in your home. Not only would this be extremely unpleasant, but large amounts of hazardous waste finding their way back into your property could be very unhealthy.


J.H. Willis & Son: Waste management and removal experts based in Cheshire

Could it be time to have your septic tank emptied? If yes, look no further than the waste disposal specialists at J.H. Willis & Son. We’re experts in emptying both domestic and commercial septic tanks for clients in Cheshire and are dedicated to meeting all required safety standards. We also work alongside the Environmental Agency, Cheshire County Council and Environmental Health to ensure that we’re disposing of all waste responsibly and in line with all environmental standards.

For more information about our range of waste management and removal services, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at J.H. Willis & Son today.

Eco Friendly Waste Management Solutions for Industry

By | Blog

Industrial waste needs to be processed – something that has not changed since the Industrial Revolution – yet the way this waste is managed has undergone a transformation in the past few decades. Landfills are no longer an acceptable option for commercial waste disposal and we specialise in the collection of non-hazardous liquid waste for industrial and agricultural clients across the UK. We are licensed and accredited waste management company that possesses an Environment Agency Waste Permit to handle non-hazardous waste.

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Understanding and Maintaining Septic Systems

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If you are thinking of buying a home with a septic system, there are certain factors you should be aware of. The system consists of a septic tank, which is connected to your home via a series of pipes and this watertight tank needs to be emptied periodically. At J H Willis & Son, we have all the necessary equipment to safely empty septic tanks and we have many commercial and domestic customers across the North West region of the UK.

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Cesspit and Septic Tank Services

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Not every house and business is hooked up to the main sewage system, so many thousands of people are still reliant on a cesspit or septic tank for the storage of domestic waste. As long term users know, regular emptying, cleaning and maintenance are the keys to ensuring that they remain fully functional and with the correct capacity. If you have recently purchased a property with a cesspit or septic tank, you may be a little less sure about what to do and how often to do it, and at J.H. Willis and Son, we are the professionals who are on hand, ready to give you all the support and advice you need.

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Keeping up with Septic Tank Legislation

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If your house or business is not connected to the mains sewer system, then your sewage is either going into a septic tank, where solids sink to the bottom of an underground tank, while any liquid will flow out and soak away through the ground, a cesspit, which is a sealed tank for collecting the sewage or you may have a small sewage treatment plant in place. This is a partly mechanical system which will allow liquid that has been sufficiently cleaned, to go into the water system. For each of these rules have been in place for some time, which include that the sewage must be domestic in nature, such as from the bathroom or toilets of the house or business, and with regard to how any of it is subsequently being released either into the ground, or if it is reaching surface water, such as rivers and streams.

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The Importance of Septic Tank Maintenance

By | Blog

When you own your own home, there are so many things to think of when it comes to maintenance, plumbing, paintwork, keeping all your electrical appliances in working order – the list can seem endless. Cleaning your septic tank is probably not high on the list and you may not realise it but it is absolutely vital in order to prevent any issues from developing that could be pretty disgusting for your family and your neighbours! If it’s not something you really want to think about, you can contact the experts, J.H. Willis & Son, and we’ll be more than happy to ensure that your septic tank is in tip top condition all year round.

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How Much Maintenance Does a Septic Tank Need?

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While the UK doesn’t have as many septic tanks as some countries, when you visit more rural areas they can still be quite common, with a high percentage of remote properties using this sort of system. However, if you’ve just moved into a property with a septic tank, it can be difficult to know how to maintain it, ensuring that the tank doesn’t overflow or become damaged, as well as getting the most from your unit. But how can you look after your septic tank, and how much maintenance does it really need?

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Should I Buy a House with A Septic Tank?

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A lot of people dream of countryside living, whether it’s a renovated farmhouse or a cosy cottage, but what many people don’t realise is that a remote location can mean that a septic tank is a necessity. This is because remote properties aren’t connected to the main sewer lines, so a tank basically holds your waste, and will therefore need to be emptied and cleaned regularly, which if you’re not used to it can feel like kind of a hassle. So, should you consider buying a property if it means dealing with a septic tank?

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