In January 2015, new rules were introduced that simplify the way septic tanks and small sewage treatment plants are regulated in England, protecting the environment and improving water quality.
If you have a septic tank that discharges directly to a surface water you will need to replace or upgrade your treatment system by 1 January 2020. Where properties with septic tanks that discharge directly to water courses are sold before 1 January 2020, responsibility for the replacement or upgrade of the existing treatment system should be addressed between the buyer and seller as a condition of sale.
If the Environment Agency finds evidence that your septic tank discharging to a surface water is causing pollution, you will need to replace or upgrade your system earlier than 1 January 2020. You will usually have to do this within 1 year, although this will be agreed on a case-by-case basis.
As the ‘operator’ of a septic tank or small sewage treatment plant you must check you meet the general binding rules. You must apply for a permit if you do not. You’re an operator if any of the following is true:
• you own the property that uses the system
• you own a property that shares the system with other properties - each property owner is an operator, and you’re jointly responsible for complying with the general binding rules
• you have a written agreement with the property owner that says you’re responsible for the system’s maintenance, for example you’re renting and it’s in your tenancy agreement
You must use a small sewage treatment plant to treat the sewage if you’re discharging to a surface water such as a river or stream. A small sewage treatment plant (also known as a package treatment plant) uses mechanical parts to treat the liquid so it’s clean enough to go into a river or stream. Discharges from septic tanks directly to a surface water are not allowed under the general binding rules.
SPE can specify and supply Sewage Treatment Plants to cater for 6 population equivalent to 150+ population equivalent and offer a Project Management Service to design and oversee the installation if required. Our Sewage Treatment Plants are specified for minimum low-cost maintenance and, as independent specialists, we will specify the system that best meets the requirements of each individual application. We offer a full commissioning and after sales service, including individually tailored Maintenance Contracts involving planned maintenance visits.
Click here to download Environment Agency guidance on regulation of septic tanks and small sewage treatment plants: important information for households and businesses with septic tanks and small sewage treatment plants.
SPE has recently invested in two new vans, ensuring that the fleet is in tip top condition for our Engineers and 100% reliable.
Supplied by Bristol Street, Worcester, these vans feature air con, heated seats and auto-defrost windscreens to help cope with the great British weather and to keep our engineers safe and cosy!
The vans have been signwritten, racked out and stocked up and will be featuring on a street near you!
We also had our Promotional Vehicle signwritten too, ready for the next AutoSolo in Abingdon on Saturday 8th June. Watch this space for their results! They are getting quicker.....
This year has been a very exciting one for SPE Ltd with lots of new projects and developments.
Following all the hard work that has gone into moving forward, Richard and Matt thought it would be nice to unwind a little. Being the petrol heads they are, they looked into finding a new motor-related hobby… and so, with a little sponsorship from the company, they purchased an MX5 and entered the world of AutoSolo.
After a little ‘preparation’ the car was ready for their first event at Kemble Airfield, hosted by Bath Motor Club.
Sunday morning was an early start with scrutineering at 7am. The drivers’ briefing was at 8:30 and the first car went out on track at 9:00.
Richard and Matt, in turn, spent the day racing around 4 different courses, three attempts at each course with the best 2 times from each course going towards he final results.
Anyone who knows Richard and Matt will know their time keeping is spot on, however,it’s fair to say that the first runs were a little ‘off pace’ but, as the day went on, the times improved. Still not the Lewis Hamiltons they like to think they are, but not a bad effort for a first attempt.
Both Richard and Matt had great day, the car held up perfectly, and they now have in mind a few upgrades and tweaks to consider for the forthcoming events - as well as a few SPE stickers here and there. We will keep you posted!
A client recently requested that we become a one-stop shop for all of their drainage requirements, so we felt that a bit of investment was needed…
The vans have been equipped with a whole bunch of new goodies to ensure that we can carry out the additional work this will bring in, including a Drain Inspection Camera.
“The lads have all been trained in the use of the new equipment and are enjoying their rats-eye view of what is going on underground” remarked Richard Smith, MD. “It has already assisted with diagnosing faulty and problems that the client was previously unaware of.”
We are proud to announce that the contract we were awarded nearly 12 months ago, for the maintenance and repairs to various sewage treatment plants and pumping stations at 26 Care Homes in the Midlands and South East, has been renewed for another 3 years.
“We are thrilled to have been awarded the extended contract” said Matt Hawkes, SPE’s Operations Manager. “It has been an exciting opportunity and has certainly kept us on our toes over the last 12 months. We have assessed the specific needs of each of the client’s sites during the first 12 months and advised accordingly. It is very satisfying have such good two-way communications with a client; our proposals have been welcomed and are proving to have reduced costs, improved reliability and minimised down-time.”
We are looking forward to continuing building our close working relationship with the client.
A rural cafe and farm shop with a booming business approached us for help, as their plant was struggling to comply with strict EA guidelines. The business was thriving and the huge increase in footfall - they were doing 600 covers a day at peak times - had massively increased the loadings on their sewage treatment plant.
We analysed the site data and designed an upgrade to the existing treatment plant, which included a larger grease trap, plus replacement and additional equipment to improve the oxygenation in the existing biological process. We also installed a 15m x 6m reed bed which will help with the final purification of the effluent and a sample chamber was installed for ease of future sampling.
We are pleased to announce that recent samples taken have been analysed and they are well within consent limits. Best of all, we have one happy client!
We have been awarded a three year contract for the repairs and maintenance to grey water harvesting / recycling systems for 19 social housing sites in the North West.
Peter Bridgewater, Business Development Manager for SPE stated “We tendered for this contract in late 2018 and were delighted to be awarded it in February this year, commencing in April." Peter continued "We have installed and maintained many grey water recycling systems across the country, from garden irrigation systems, to commercial installations in major UK cities. It is interesting work and we greatly enjoy being involved with these types of projects”.
SPE would like to wish all our customers and suppliers a very happy and peaceful New Year.
We are looking forward to another year of continued growth. At the beginning of 2019 we have made an addition to our fleet of vans, and would like to congratulate Engineer Craig Sword on his promotion. We are recruiting again to fill Craig's shoes.....
Our Christmas Party gets bigger every year!
So it's the end of the season now and Aarron's finished on a high. Two weeks ago he raced at the Butts Quarry in Derbyshire, gaining a 2nd in the first race, 1st in the second race and 2nd in the last race for 1st place overall.
Then last week he raced at Hobs Hole Lane in Walsall which was the last round of the Championship. Aarron said "Going into the last round I was lying in 3rd. In the first race I was leading for most of it but a few silly mistakes made me finish with a 3rd. Then in the second race I led all the way and finished 1st. In the final race of the day I was only 8 points behind 2nd in the Championship so needed to gain by at least two positions. Unfortunately I had to do it the hard way as I crashed in the first corner and when I got back up I was in last place. However I still managed to pull through to 2nd and that's where I finished in the race and the guy I needed to beat finished 5th."
This meant Aarron finished 2nd on the day and 2nd overall in the Championship by only a few points. We are very proud to be one of Aarron's sponsors and we look forward to hearing his news and seeing some more of his fantastic action photos next season.
Aarron Kitching, who is sponsored by SPE Ltd, has been out there enjoying himself and doing very well, racing on 9th September at Alport Heights in Derby and on 16th September at Clee Hill in Cleeton St Mary.
He had a 1st, a 2nd and a 5th for 3rd overall out of 20 competitors at Alport, and an 8th, a 5th and a 4th for 7th overall out of 28 at Clee Hill. Aarron will be racing again this coming weekend, 23rd September at the Butts Quarry, in Derby.
Aarron said: “There is one round left in my championship and I’m currently in 3rd position, only a few points behind 2nd. The last round is on 30th September so I’ll make sure I let you know how I get on.”
SPE has recently landed a new contract for the servicing and maintenance of the pumping stations belonging to a chain of Care Homes, the majority of which are based around the London region.
MD Richard Smith commented "Most of the pumping stations proved to be in a very poor state of repair so, together with our client, we will be implementing a strategy to bring them all back up to optimum operational condition as a matter of urgency".
SPE's new Business Development Manager, Peter Bridgewater, has hit the ground running too, landing contracts with a major hotel chain with branches throughout the country, and also one of the UK's leading environmental solutions companies.
We would like to congratulate Matt Hawkes on his promotion to Operations Manager. Matt is taking on more and more of the planning and organisation of the business, especially when it comes to the larger, more complex projects that we are involved in.
Matt has been with SPE since 2005, joining us as an electrical apprentice and gaining his City and Guilds in Electrotechnical Technology Installation. He worked his way up to Senior Engineer before this most recent promotion, and is also a shareholder in the business.
We would also like to congratulate Lewis Taylor on his recent promotion to Engineer, and welcome Craig Sword as our new Engineer's Assistant.
SPE has recently completed the refurbishment of another trickling filter serving a manor house outside Milton Keynes.
The system had seen better days when we were initially called to site. SPE carried out a full refurbishment including having new parts machined to our design.
The system is now working very well and we have another happy customer.
If you would like to know more about how these systems work and what we can offer please contact us here at SPE.
Around 39 million tonnes of raw sewage overflows into the River Thames in London each year, so a new 20 mile long super sewer is being built to clean up the Thames and help accommodate the capital's growing population.
BBC Two has commissioned a three-part documentary series following the £5bn project following workers across London as they race to build London’s 20 mile-long ‘super sewer’, cutting through the heart of the capital deep below the Thames.
The Five Billion Pound Super Sewer is part mega-engineering, part specialist factual exploration of London’s rich and dirty history. Filmed over three years, the series charts the progress and setbacks faced by a team of 4000 construction workers tasked with creating London’s deepest ever tunnel - directly beneath the river Thames. It also delves into the subterranean world to explore the state of the city’s ageing sewer network.
Building the super sewer is the biggest infrastructure project ever attempted by the UK water industry, designed to intercept sewage that currently floods out of the overstretched Victorian system and into the Thames - each year, almost 40 million tons of sewage has to be discharged directly into the river.
An amazing feat of engineering, catch up with it now on BBC2 IPlayer. Click here for more information. Picture courtesy of the BBC website.
SPE are very proud to announce that they have achieved ISO 9001 accreditation within a matter of weeks! The initial assessment was on 22nd May 2018, with the certificate being awarded on 18th July 2018.
In order to continue with the ongoing growth and development of the business, the company decided that a lot of the internal business processes needed to be formalised, providing improved internal communications and help focusing on the important areas of the business. The aim was for management processes to be established throughout the business, providing a sound foundation and leading to increased productivity and profit through improved efficiency and communications.
Worcester-based ISO Quality Services Ltd (ISOQSL) was selected as the company to help SPE through the process. During the initial assessment it was shown that SPE already had most of the required processes in place; recommendations were made by ISOQSL of additional processes which needed to be implemented in order to achieve accreditation.
“Working with Richard, Ruth, and their team through the process of gaining the ISO 9001:2015 was a pleasure. They were easy to work with and showed full commitment to the process” said Colin Watkins, Senior Lead Assessor for ISOQSL. He continued: “they embraced all the recommendations given to them and we can already see a difference in the business in this short period of time. They were responsive and communicative throughout, and we look forward to our future visits with them.”
All of SPE’s staff are aware of the systems now in place and have fully embraced the move, knowing that it is of benefit to everyone within the company. Surprisingly, it doesn’t mean that much more paperwork is involved, just that the information is handled more efficiently.
Richard Smith, Managing Director of SPE Ltd stated “I can highly recommend ISO Quality Services Ltd and, in particular, Colin Watkins and Chrissy Bligh. They made what initially appeared to be an arduous, complicated process easy to understand and very beneficial to our company. We are already reaping the rewards and we have only just been certified!"
Pictured left to right: Steve Lees (SPE, ISO Admin), Colin Watkins (ISOQSL, Senior Lead Assessor), Chrissy Bligh (ISOQSL, Client Services Account Manager) and Richard Smith (SPE, Managing Director).
SPE would like to welcome two new additions to our team, Peter Bridgewater, Business Development Manager, who joins us from Biomarsh Environmental, and Dale Crossfield, Office Administrator.
We are looking to expand our customer base and turnover and are enthusiastic about the creation of this new position within the company.
“I will be SPE’s first salesman”, said Peter “and I am looking forward to being able to utilise my knowledge and experience to help SPE be successful in reaching our first goal. It is a very exciting opportunity which I am looking forward to. The possibilities are wide ranging and endless, from golf clubs and industrial estates to FM companies”. Peter, who started with the company in the middle of June has two labradors, enjoys gardening - especially growing vegetables, reading and the theatre.
Dale has been with SPE now for a few weeks and is gradually getting to grips with the completely different type of work that he now has to cover. “Coming from a predominantly lighting and wholesale background, the sewage treatment industry is well out of my comfort zone” said Dale, continuing “however I am looking forward to the challenges and prospects that SPE has to offer and am already enjoying the interesting and varied nature of my new role”. Dale’s interests include gaming - and his knowledge of computers and systems has already come in very handy; he is known in the offices as The Legend!
Picture from left to right: Richard Smith - MD, Peter Bridgewater - Business Development Manager, Dale Crossfield - Office Administrator, Matt Hawkes - Senior Engineer
Aarron, who is sponsored by SPE Limited, has been doing well recently with the Amateur Motorcycle Association (AMCA).
He raced at Telford, gaining a third and two seconds, to give him second place overall, and also at Polesworth which is local for Aarron, where he was placed 4th, 2nd and 1st, giving him 2nd place overall.
Keep up the good work Aarron!
We are pleased to confirm that SPE Limited is undergoing the implementation and accreditation for the ISO 9001 : 2015 Management Standard, and we anticipate certification within the next two months.
ISO 9001 : What is it?
A Quality Management System is a systematic and process driven approach to managing the business. It is designed to support the company in ensuring that they meet and exceed the needs of their customers, whilst delivering a consistent level of quality and satisfaction.
Watch this space....!
SPE are proud to have become sponsors of Aarron Kitching.
Aarron has been riding motorbikes since he was 4 years old. He now he competes in the Amateur Motorcycle Association (AMCA) and is in the expert class which is the highest form of amateur racing; the next step is going professional. Aarron’s bike is a KTM 350cc sx-f.
Aarron recently raced at Brookthorpe in Gloucester. He had a good day, ending up 4th overall - just missing out on the podium by a few points! We will bring you more news and pics as the year progresses.
SPE has recently completed the refurbishment on the Treatment Plant belonging to a Stately home on the outskirts of Bristol.
The first phase of the work consisted of resealing settlement tanks and chambers with butyl liners and some electrical control work. The remaining phase was to refurbish the rotating biological filter mechanism and bring the plant back up to full working order. This work was completed at the beginning of January, is working well - and looks very pretty if we do say so ourselves!
Friday 22nd December 2017 marked the retirement of Steve Lees from SPE Limited. Steve had been with the company for around 5 years and was the point of contact in the offices for both customers and suppliers alike.
Steve was known and much appreciated for his calm and helpful attitude when the proverbial was quite often literally hitting the fan - such is the nature of our business!
All the company came together, plus Steve’s wife Sarah and some local suppliers and clients, for a buffet and some drinks, plus a small presentation which included a rather good bottle of scotch, Steves tipple of choice. We would like to wish Steve the very best in his retirement and hope the list of jobs that Sarah has made for him doesn’t get too much longer…
Everyone at SPE Ltd would like to thank our customers and suppliers for your custom and support throughout 2017 and wish you all a very merry Christmas and a peaceful and prosperous New Year.
We had our Christmas Party outing on Saturday 16th and thought you may like to see how well we all scrub up!
See you in 2018......
SPE has completed the refurbishment a Rotating Biological Filter dating back to World War II.
The filter shown is one of two, both of which are part of a sewage treatment works in Blockley, Moreton-In-Marsh. The system was originally built to serve a hospital during the war and after 1948-1965 became the largest Polish Refugee camp in the country. The site is now used as a business park.
This project was started back in June 2016, with SPE stripping, re-engineering and re-assembling the rotating assembly for one of the filter beds, which had seized; several of the arms had corroded and collapsed.
This year, we completed the project by refurbishing the rotating assembly on the second bed and commissioning the system back into full operation. SPE called upon their years of expertise and understanding to design and manufacture the parts required for the rebuild. In conjunction with a local precision machiners, we were able to produce the replacement components required for the rebuild.
The system has been running problem free since the refurbishment of the first filter bed in 2016, with it being maintained by SPE on a monthly basis ever since. Now the second system has been fully restored we look forward to seeing the complete system continue to run for many years to come.
We were called to see a prospective customer who wanted to take out a Service and Maintenance contract with us. Upon arriving and inspecting his installation, we were horrified to see that the control panel had been sited INSIDE the tank……
Not only didn’t the installation comply with DSEAR’s, (The Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002) but a whole host of other regulations too!
Imagine the gases that build up inside these tanks from what is put into them…..and then imagine a spark inside the control panel when one of the pumps kicks in. Like the title says - Ka-BOOM! The mess doesn’t bear thinking about ;-)
Two large and expensive burned out pumps illustrated to one of our clients recently the importance of not flushing “Flushable” wipes down the toilet. These wipes DO NOT disintegrate in the same way that toilet roll is designed to do, and so will build up and cause blockages.
It was cheaper and quicker to simply replace the pumps rather than remove them for repairs, which took a week as the pumps had to be shipped in from overseas. Meanwhile a tanker had to be called in on a daily basis as the installation could not be shut down.
An expensive lesson to learn, so take note all you wipes users…..!
Pumps, pipe, and guide rails delivered to site for SPE to build a new
pumping station serving 4 executive new build homes.
The 4x4 capability of SPE's new VW Fourmotion van came into it's own on this soggy building site, especially when manouevring the large trailer required for the delivery.
Bucket and sponge will need to be at the ready when this job's finished!
One of our suppliers was so impressed with a recent installation we undertook using their products, that they have featured it on their website as a "textbook installation".
They say: "We don’t often get to see where and how our Secoh pumps are installed, but a recent project displaying an in depth understanding of the product caught our attention......"
A stately home on the outskirts of Bristol had been converted into apartments and the original sewage treatment plant, which was sited in the middle of a neighbouring landowner’s field, was failing.
SPE was called in to consult and make proposals for remedial works required to bring the plant back into working order and, upon our recommendations, we were awarded the order. The work carried out included resealing the primary settlement tank and syphon chamber with butyl liners.
Also, the syphon in the syphon chamber had rusted to pieces and, as there was no access to an electrical supply on the site, we installed a solar panel and battery back-up system which would run a pump, dosing the filter bed with effluent.
The plant’s outfall is now being monitored on a regular basis, with samples being sent to the Environment Agency for analysis.
A client whom we had been advising for over 12 months to upgrade a defective control panel, called us 2 days before a Bank Holiday weekend to say that his system had failed.
When we attended site we found that both pumps had been running continuously due to the faulty panel and, as a consequence, both pumps had burnt out.
Instead of just replacing the panel, we had to also replace two large and expensive pumps, plus the client had to cover tankering costs until the new pumps were delivered and could be installed.
An out-of-town shopping centre in Stratford-upon-Avon was having problems with its storm water pumping system. Upon inspection, we found that one of the pumps had failed, and the other was on the way out.
We also found safety issues with the control panel which needed to be addressed as a matter of urgency.
We considered and quoted for several options, including repairing the pumps and panel, but the client favoured a complete replacement and upgrade to two new pumps, a new control panel and new switchgear. The job needed quite a bit of planning as it involved shutting off an area of public car parking, plus the requirement of a telehandler to lift, remove and replace the pumps, each of which weighted 350kg.
End result: one working, safe pumping station, one happy client!
SPE's latest addition to its fleet is a FourMotion VW van - and its off-road capability has already been tested!
Some of the sites that our engineers have to visit are difficult to access, and can be across fields or down rough tracks. Wet grass especially has always been a nightmare to drive across, especially when on a slope - even the slightest of slopes.
On a recent service visit to a site that historically he has either had to use a Land Rover to access, or had to walk to and carry heavy tools and supplies, Senior Engineer Matt was delighted to report that his new vehicle drove faultlessly. Needless to say he is still smiling!
SPE has updated it's fleet, taking delivery of a new VW Fourmotion van this week - and Senior Engineer Matt can't stop smiling!
Signwriting and racking are booked in for next week; we are looking forward to see the finished result. Many thanks and high recommendations to Listers Droitwich VW Commercials whose comms were excellent throughout and they made the process a great experience.
SPE was called in to advise on what could be done about an old RBC (Rotating Biological Contactor, aka Sewage Treatment Plant Disc Unit), which was not working. The treatment plant serviced a Midlands-based charity-financed care home which did not have a budget large enough to cover a replacement plant, which they had been advised they needed.
Upon inspection, SPE found that the plant was not big enough to cater for the premises, whose requirements had grown over the years. SPE were able to offer a remedial solution that they felt would work, which included replacing the rotating shaft in the plant, and installing media and air blowers to help with efficiency.
The plant is now under a regular maintenance contract, visited on a quarterly basis and is meeting the required standards.
"This was an interesting project" said Richard Smith, MD of SPE Ltd. "We were very aware of the budget restraints and so researched a variety of avenues in order to find the best and most cost-effective long-term solution for the client. New is not always better!"
The work on the Hinkley Point C Nuclear Power Station sewage treatment plant and pumping station has now been completed, commissioned and handed over. This treatment plant has been installed as a temporary measure, to service the newly-built offices for the construction staff.
The work included the design and fit of a large electrical control kiosk, the supply, fit and wiring up of pumps, blowers and UV filters plus all the control systems, the design and installation of a sampling point and finally the writing and supply of the O&M Manual.
"This job was undertaken over a very short period of time, especially considering the size of the project. Working on Nuclear Power Stations requires a high level of workplace professionalism and in-depth knowledge of EDF procedures, and I am proud to say that our team of Engineers have delivered a first rate piece of work" said Richard Smith, SPE's MD.
SPE Limited has been awarded a contract at the Hinkley C Power Station build site.
As an independent specialist company offering nationwide coverage for sewage pumps, sewage treatment plants and dirty water pumping stations, SPE Limited has been contracted to complete the installation and commissioning of a 150 person sewage treatment plant and pumping station, which will service the offices and various contracting agencies during the build of the new Nuclear Power Plant.
The work will take a month to complete and includes the design and fit of a large electrical control kiosk, the supply and wiring up of pumps and UV filters plus the necessary control systems.
Richard Smith, SPE’s Managing Director said: “We were delighted to be awarded the contract, which is due for completion by the end of October. We have been working with various power stations for the last 10-15 years, including Hinkley B and so have a great understanding on the quality and the levels of workmanship expected for this type of project”.
SPE was called out by a new client to investigate an installation in Kent, where an oil interceptor alarm was not working.
Part of the installation included a battery driven alarm which was wired up to be recharged by a solar panel. Upon testing, we found that the battery was flat….possibly due to the solar panel being sited in the shade, underneath a bridge!
The client requested that we fit an entire new system, including re-siting the solar panel where it would charge correctly in future.
The system has been working well for some time now, as has a 2nd system that the same client asked us to check over and which turned out to have exactly the same fault. We have gained another happy client.
SPE has refurbished a Rotating Biological Filter dating back to World War II.
Wastewater from the primary settlement tank is continuously sprayed over the filter and organics within the water are aerobically degraded by the biofilm on the filter media.
The filter shown is one of two, both of which are part of a sewage treatment works in Blockley, Moreton-In-Marsh. The system was originally built to serve a hospital during the war and after 1948-1965 became the largest Polish Refugee camp in the country. The site is now used as a business park.
The rotating assembly had seized and several arms has corroded and collapsed. Knowing that parts for this system had gone out of production years ago, SPE confidently grasped the opportunity to demonstrate their abilities when it comes to refurbishing. Where others would simply walk away or quote on a replacement system, SPE called upon their years of expertise and understanding to design and manufacture the parts required for the rebuild. In conjunction with a local precision machiners, we were able to produce the replacement components required for the rebuild.
With minimum downtime, SPE successfully stripped, re-engineered, re-assembled and commissioned the system back into full operation. The system has since been running problem free and, with it now being maintained by SPE on a monthly basis, we look forward to seeing the system continue to run for many years to come.