Category Archives: Off Mains Drainage

Experienced Installer Required

We are a well-established off mains drainage contractor covering the whole of the South East.

We specialise in the installation of sewage treatment solutions and are looking for an experienced installer to join our team. Our large order book continues to grow and we need reliable people to help manage it.

Must be trustworthy, with a clean driving licence and able to work on own initiative while maintaining regular contact with management.

For further details please contact Andrew Boxall on 07825 885 990 or email cv/details

Find out more about our Services here and about Land Drainage here.

Wastewater legislation – everything you need to know

Links to the relevant UK Government papers and web pages on wastewater legislation

NB All wastewater legislation information correct as of 5 September 2017

It is essential that anybody who lives off-mains has a full working knowledge of the most up to date regulations regarding septic tanks and sewage treatment plants.

Wastewater legislation relevant to the installation and maintenance of off-mains drainage was last updated in 2015. At the bottom of this article are links to the latest published Government information, for your reference.

Environment Agency General Binding Rules

It’s important to note that all sewage effluent discharges are now subject to Environment Agency General Binding Rules. As well as new installations, these rules also apply to already existing sewage treatment plants and septic tanks, so you’ll need to check that your off-mains drainage installation conforms to the Government standards..

It also means that if your property uses off-mains drainage and doesn’t conform to the General Binding Rules, you have to apply for a permit, which you can do by following this link:

Wastewater legislation - septic tank permit application page

Wastewater legislation – septic tank permit application page

As explained on that page, the form you need to fill in depends on:

  • where you discharge the sewage
  • how much you discharge

You should be aware that your existing permissions may well not apply to overflows to ditches. Breaking the 1991 Water Resources Act can incur huge fines of tens of thousands of pounds.

Wastewater legislation – Septic Tank Discharge Rules

Essentially, septic tank discharge cannot go into any watercourse or ditch. This applies to streams, rivers and surface water pipes. If your present set up doesn’t comply with these new rules, it will need to be upgraded before the start of 2020, or if you sell your property – whichever happens sooner.

It is also important to know that septic tank soakaways are not allowed in Groundwater Source Protection Zone 1 areas. You can chek to see if this applies to your property on the following web page:

Wastewater legislation Links

Septic tanks and treatment plants: permits and general binding rules:

Reform of the regulatory system to control small sewage discharges from septic tanks and small sewage treatment plants in England

General binding rules for small sewage discharges (SSDs) with effect from January 2015:

General binding rules: small sewage discharge to a surface water:

General binding rules: small sewage discharge to the ground:

Land Drainage Solutions for Sussex, Surrey and the south-east

We are delighted to announce that Boxall Ward now offers Land Drainage solutions for Sussex, Surrey and beyond, to deliver peace of mind and security in these times of extreme weather condition, particularly flooding.

You can read more about it on our new Land Drainage page. As well as Sussex and Surrey, we are happy to receive enquiries from anywhere in the south-east of England. We deliver these solutions to everybody from private residents to the construction and agricultural industries, taking in flood risk assessments.  So no matter what your requirements, Boxall Ward is ready to come to the rescue!

We make sure to use the latest equipment and techniques, so you are disrupted as little as possible. If you are worried about unusable or flooded lawns, fields or other kinds of land, we’ll be happy to chat with you about the best solution. Just give us a call on 01903 815377.

Land Drainage Sussex

Land Drainage Sussex

You can read more about Land Drains on Wikipedia, whilst the legal situation regarding Land Drainage in the UK is covered at

Garden Drainage Solutions

If you are new to living off-mains, you’ll be aware you’re going to need garden drainage solutions to get rid of your waste. But you may not be familiar with the choices open to you, so here we provide a quick roundup of the solutions available.

garden drainage solutions

Of course, each individual case is different, so you may prefer to talk to an off-mains drainage expert, in which case  we will be delighted to have a friendly, no obligation chat to discuss your needs. Just  give us a call on 01903 815377.

In the UK, living off-mains is a necessity for all homeowners who are not connected to the main grid. Here are 5 of the most important off mains garden drainage solutions for your property.

1. Septic Tank

A septic tank is a large box often situated in your garden. Once the water flows in the tank, the wastewater is treated naturally in order to separate liquids from solids. While the solids are retained in the tank, liquids are discharged using an external pipe. The solids are removed regularly by a professional company. More details about septic tanks here.

2. Cesspit

Also known as cesspools, these devices are similar to septic tanks, but with no outlet to discharge the sewage – so the waste remains untreated as it is stored, until it is taken away. Cesspits need to be emptied more regularly than septic tanks. More details about cesspits here.

off-mains drainage

3. Sewage Treatment Plant

The sewage treatment plant is still one of the top garden drainage solutions available in the UK. One of these devices uses compressed air to blow into the septic tank to speed up the degradation process of the solid matter.

A sewage treatment plant works best with a septic tank, minimising the volume of the solid waste and reducing its toxicity. In order to increase the rapidness of waste degeneration, most sewage treatment plants are equipped with rotating disks.

The good news is that a sewage treatment plant is not so expensive and quite easy to maintain, being a genuine off-mains solution for homeowners which are not connected to the grid.

More details about sewage treatment plants here.

4. Soakaway

A soakaway is a means to let the water slowly dissipate in the soil. You have two methods for this:

  • Fill a pit with rubble or stone
  • Use a system of several interlinked trenches that contain perforated pipes, each of them surrounded by shingles.

While sewage treatment plants and reed beds are used to deal with the solid remaining of sewage, soakaways are meant to help you deal with the liquid in a septic tank.

More details about soakaways here.

5. Living Soakaway

When a soakaway is not possible, you can use a living soakaway, which is a gravel-filled pit full with reeds, irises and willows.

More details about living soakaways here.

Garden Drainage Solutions Conclusion

Living off mains means that you have to use the right garden drainage solution for your property. Since you are not connected to the main grid, you need to work with the best specialists in maintenance and installation of off-mains drainage.

Contact us today and capitalise on the best off mains garden drainage services in the UK.

Understanding The Role Of Drainage Specialists

Over the years, the concept of home development here in the UK has grown in a major way. There has been a growing need for all of us to embrace off-mains drainage systems that go beyond conventional sewer installations.

While modern drainage concepts are reasonably easy to understand, it is important that the installation and maintenance of systems be carried out by the professionals. You may have heard of plumbers and plumbing contractors and confused them with drainage specialists. While these two trades are closely related, there are differences in that ‘plumber’ is a general term while drainage professionals solely focus on implementing and managing drainage systems.

drainage specialists sussex

Drainage Specialists Sussex

So, what is a drainage specialist?

Drain specialists are professionals whose area of speciality pans out across the sewer installation and management spectrum. Below is a rundown of the function of the quintessential drains professional.

Installation of drainage systems

Installing a reliable drainage service is complicated and requires the expertise of professionals. Once they have studied the lay of the land around a residential or commercial piece of property, they embark upon a process of demarcating the areas your drainage system will encompass. Afterwards, they lay all the required materials in areas identified. They will take care of everything, from laying down cables to situating cesspools and septic tanks. As with all professionals, the main job of a drainage specialist is to deliver what you require whilst taking any hassle out of the equation.

drainage specialists sussex

Maintenance of drainage systems

Whilst off-mains drainage procedures are reliable, there is always a need to keep an eye out in case any problems crop up. Since the main component of the system is liquid waste, the environment stands to suffer in the eventuality of said leaks or blockages. A drainage specialist will carry out regular maintenance to make sure that any issues are nipped in the bud before they get the chance to happen.

Assessment of the performance of drains

Over time, the ranges of technologies available for use in the industry have more than quadrupled. At the same time, governments in the UK have laid down strict regulations governing the precise locations of tanks, pipes and exit ways. There are even rules governing the materials used to design tanks, pools and pipes. On the whole, a drainage specialist is expected to carefully assess the environment around which an installation has been made or is to be made.

Drain specialists work alongside other professionals to ensure that off-mains systems are installed according to the right stipulations and using the right materials. At the core of it is a need to ensure that systems are safe, reliable and long-lasting. They have to abide by regulations set by the government and they must use their expertise to judge the correct location of a system. When making off-mains drainage considerations, specialists will pay special attention to the need of the client and the scope of the system to be designed.  In a nutshell, drainage specialists will handle any task within the confines of their certification and expertise.

Contact Drainage Specialists Sussex

Please contact us on 01903 815377 or use our contact form to get in touch with Boxall Ward if you would like more details about our drainage specialists services.

drainage specialists sussex

Please click to learn more about our Services we offer including land drainage and who we are.

All Our Off-Mains Drainage Systems Explained

We thought it would be a good time to revisit a full list of all the off-mains drainage systems we offer here at Boxall Ward. Below is a list of the main services we offer for Sussex and beyond, along with a link from each if you’d like to find out a bit more about that particular service.

Off-Mains Drainage Specialists Sussex

Boxall Ward offer both installation and maintenance of all off-mains drainage solutions throughout the South East area of England.

We offer a bespoke service including scheduled service visits and emergency call out cover in the event of a problem. Additionally we are British Water Accredited  Engineers and offer Extended manufacturers’ warranty on parts with a wide selection of parts in stock.

Read More about off-mains drainage…

off mains drainage specialists sussex

Septic Tanks

Based in Sussex, we specialise in the design, installation and maintenance of septic tanks for Sussex and beyond – through Kent and Surrey and the south-east of England. We can install your septic tank, using our industry-leading expertise to make sure it’s done properly, and maintain it once it’s installed. We can advise you on how often it will need to be emptied, providing affordable value for money septic tank solutions.

Read more about Septic Tanks Sussex

Cesspools and Cesspits

Cesspools or cesspits differ slightly from  septic tanks in that the waste is not treated and doesn’t drain to a soakaway. A cesspit instead stores untreated sewage, until it is collected to be taken away.  Cesspools require frequent emptying, about every 30 to 45 days depending on its capacity and level of use. We are happy to advise you on which system would work best for your particular needs.

cesspools sussex

Read More about Cesspools and Cesspits

Sewage Treatment Plants

We cater for both domestic and commercial sewage treatment for Sussex and beyond.

Wastewater treatment is what happens when wastewater is taken away and  treated so it changes from being unsuitable for human use into something that can be returned to the water cycle with as little as possible impact on the environment; or simply reused.

It is, of course, vital that we treat wastewater not only for sanitation purposes but also to ensure that we remain eco friendly.

sewage treatment plants sussex

Read more about Sewage Treatment Plants Sussex

Rainwater Soakaways

Houses or buildings that are not connected to the public sewers or watercourses can often run the risk of water logging.  This is where rainwater soakaways come into their own, utilising the principle of a reverse well – one that loses water rather than holding it in.  Overall, it is a simple and ecological systems that can improve the quality of life significantly.

Read more about Rainwater Soakaways

Rainwater Harvesting Systems

As water prices in the UK steadily increase, so does ecological awareness. More and more home owners are realising they can  reduce their mains water usage by more than 50% with a rainwater system.

With countries like Germany leading the way, the UK is moving in the same direction, harvesting rainwater wherever possible.

Read more about Rainwater Harvesting Systems

Off-mains Drainage for Sussex and beyond

This is a short list of the off-mains drainage systems we offer – from installation to maintenance. Please contact us on 01903 815377 or use our contact page to get in touch for further details and we’ll be delighted to discuss your requirements and offer the best solution for your individual needs.

off-mains drainage sussex

Off-Mains Drainage Specialists Sussex

Find out more about our Off-Mains Drainage Services here and about Land Drainage here.

Septic Tank Guide

What is a septic tank?

Modern septic tanks are small scale sewage treatment systems, ideal for people living in areas that have no connection to the main sewage pipes. In the UK, these tend to be in rural areas. They tend to be plastic tanks, with a pipe at one end for incoming waste to enter the tank and another at the other end.

Waste enters the tank and is then stored so that the solids, oils and greases can  separate from the liquid. Once treated thus, a second pipe at the other end of the tank releases the liquids.

Though considerably cleaner than when it entered the tank, this waste is nowhere near clean enough to directly enter  the eco-system again, so it is generally dispersed to a soakaway or drainage field. This is essentially feeding it into a designated patch of land, which must first be assessed for its suitability.  This process is strictly controlled by UK Government Legislation.

This leaves an ever-increasing residue of solid matter in the tank, of course, which is where you’ll want a professional to regularly carry out emptying duties.

septic tank


Septic Tank Installation

Septic Tanks may be installed in applications where:

  • Soil is of suitable porosity.
  • Installation complies with Building Regulations (Approved Document H).
  • The installation will not contaminate any ditch, stream or other watercourse.

Septic Tank Care and Maintenance

Regular care and maintenance  of your Sewage Treatment Plant will ensure the prolonged life of the component parts such as pumps, blowers and motors and avoid unwelcome costs associated with replacement. It is therefore, highly recommended.

At each service visit our British Water Accredited Engineer will carry out a detailed service of your Sewage Treatment Plant in accordance with the manufacturers specifications. This will ensure the treated effluent being discharged is up to the standard required and in accordance with the Environment Agency requirements.

There are also guidelines you can follow at home to reduce the wear and tear on your off-mains drainage system:

  • Try to avoid putting too much water through the system – it can upset the delicate biological balance within the tank.
  • Don’t use excessive amounts of any household chemicals
  • Don’t put coffee grounds, cooking fats, disposable nappies, facial tissues, cigarette butts, or other non-decomposable materials into the house sewer.
  • Try to avoid dumping grease down the drain.

Septic Tank Emptying

As previously mentioned, there is only so much scum and sludge that a tank can hold, so it does need regular emptying. Obviously factors such as the size of the tank, number of people living in the house and generally how much you are putting into the tank will all affect how often it needs to be emptied.

Its always worth asking an expert in these situations because its something you can’t afford to get wrong –  a failure to desludge frequently enough can result in blocking up your drainage field and you really don’t want to go there!

Septic Tank Costs

As I’m sure you can imagine from the above, it is absolutely essential that all parts of the septic tank process – from installation to maintenance and emptying – are carried out by experienced professionals with a great reputation and many years of experience.

Costs can of course vary depending on each individual situation, so please call us on 01903 815377 if you’d like to discuss your specific needs.

What to Know about Off-Mains Drainage

off_mains_drainageAs home development begins to take people beyond the capacity and reach of main sewer systems, the amount of people contemplating Off-Mains Drainage are on the rise. According to Building Regulations, it is required that rainwater falls on to a site that remains on the site within Rainwater Harvesting systems. Ecological benefits are incurred when waste water is treated on site although it remains a forced choice. It is imperative that as one considers the use of off-mains drainage, they understand all terms, etc. The following will assist with that.

Cesspit or Cesspool

A cesspool, also referred to as a cesspit, is basically a holding tank. With a cesspool, there is no intent for treatment or discharge of waste; therefore it is simply collected within a tank that is intermittently pumped into a disposal or lorry. The tanks tends to be sized to appropriately accommodate approximately six to eight weeks of waste while being vented to allow for the escape of gas. Although banned in Scotland, the UK looks at cesspools as a needed last resort.

A cesspit will need to be emptied an average of eight times per year, and will cost consumers between £100 and £300 each time.

Septic Tank

Although quite similar to a cesspit, a septic tank is compartmentalised for the separation of liquid and solid waste. While solid waste is retained within the tank. The liquid waste is discharged into a soakaway in order to be purified via soil filtration. Just as one would with a cesspit, waste is removed from a septic tank; but it only needs to be done a maximum of twice per year. 

Since the capital costs of a septic tank are lower, it is the most common of solutions for off-mains properties. 

Sewage Treatment Plant

klargester biotechMany sewage treatment plants are unpretentiously priced and very local in scale. Generally, compressed air is propelled into the lowermost portions of the tank in order to accelerate microorganism actions so that waste is able to be broken down. Sewage treatment plants are inclined to contain rotating discs as a measure to increase the microorganism’s surface area which is able to increase the rapidness of solid waste degeneration.

Liquid waste is relatively clean upon it being discharged and can be emptied out into a soakaway or water course. 


A soakaway allows the efflluent to slowly dissipate through soil. There are two methods in which this can be accomplished. The first being a pit that is filled with rubble or a stone where water is to be discharged. The size of the soakaway is determined by the amount of available space as well as percolation or porosity testing. 

Living Soakaway

This type of soakaway is used when a traditional version is too difficult or simply not plausible to be used. Tis version of a soakaway if gravel filled, shallow and planted with irises, willows and reeds that are able to yield up water as it is degenerated into the atmosphere. 

Reed Bed

Not normally viewed as a full sewage treatment system singularly, they are used in conjunction with a sewage treatment plant or a septic tank. Reed beds are able to permit microorganisms, fungi and bacteria as a digestion tool for sewage and to clean water. Reed beds tend to be of two distinct types, either a horizontal flow or a vertical flow. For the best results, the two methods should be uniquely combined for your particular needs. 

It will come as a pleasant surprise to most people just how small they are.

In Conclusion

Living off of the main drains should not pose an issue should you possess soil conditions that are reasonably good. Simple and effective solutions are soakaways and sewage treatment plants. Should conditions tend to be a bit poor, it is still plausible to live off of the main drains, but you will endure capital costs. 

Is Registration Needed?

Contact us for advice and guidance on Environment Agency and Building Control involvement.

More Information

off-mains drainageHere at Boxall Ward, we offer Off-Mains drainage installation and maintenance of Sewage Treatment Plants, Septic Tanks and Cesspools throughout Sussex and the Southeast – please call us on 01903 815377 and we’ll be delighted to give you more information.

What To Know About Off-Mains Drainage

What To Know About Off-Mains Drainage