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A free septic tank upgrade in the River Tone catchment

Upgrading a septic tank to offset phosphates in the River Tone hydrological catchment

The first to register their interest in WCI’s free septic tank upgrade were the owners of a stunning four bedroomed property tucked away in a glorious, wooded valley southwest of Taunton.  Concerned about their septic tank, they contacted WCI days before we launched our free upgrade initiative as part of a phosphate offsetting scheme to enable housing developers to achieve nutrient neutrality.

WCI made initial checks to confirm that the property sits within the hydrological catchment of the River Tone, and therefore fulfils the brief as a designated mitigation site.

A WCI engineer surveyed the property in 2023 to assess the existing drainage, accessibility and a suitable location for a new treatment plant. Access was going to be challenging to say the least!

Reached via a bridlepath, the property, nestled in the trees, was served by an old brick built septic tank discharging to a drainage field.  WCI proposed an upgrade to a GRAF one2clean package treatment plant sited close to the original septic tank and discharging back into the existing drainage field.

Installation was booked for late May 2024, following the signing of the legal agreements.

With the weather gods on our side, the installation commenced as planned. Access to the site of the new treatment plant – over a garden wall and close to the house – was just as tight as predicted and meticulous attention was paid to ensure excavation machinery was manoeuvred safely and without damage to the property.  After a partial excavation to confirm the ground conditions were good, the dig continued and the one2clean was lowered into place and installed according to the manufacturer’s instructions and surrounded in concrete. The air blower kiosk was sited out of the way along a fence line.

The new system was commissioned by a WCI British Water Accredited and GRAF Trained Service Engineer and then the reinstatement ground works got underway. We imported topsoil, replanted bushes and raked over the driveway to ensure that the outside plot was left tidy and in a condition the owners could be proud of.

The satisfied owners now have a fully operational sewage treatment plant that complies with General Binding Rules, five years of free servicing by WCI fully qualified engineers and have contributed positively to the local environment.

A note from the owners: 

I wanted to say thank you. Initially I was VERY sceptical about this scheme as I am a hugely risk averse/suspicious person.  I expect you gathered that from our conversations!

However, your patience in explanations, the legal advice and you sharing the positive feedback from mortgage companies gave me confidence in the scheme.

I was really impressed with the work undertaken.  The team worked hard, were very polite and left everything clean and tidy every day. They explained things to us, kept us fully informed of what was happening and when.  

As with all projects, there were a couple of minor issues needing a work around/slight change of plan but it was all resolved quickly and efficiently.

It was a positive experience. 

Thanks to Phil for overseeing the project, making sure the right stuff turned up at the right time and keeping us informed.  

Thank you

Mike, West Buckland