The glamour of the septic tank at My Sleepy Hollow

Updated: May 9, 2019

When we arrived at Sleepy Hollow here in Cornwall with dreams and aspirations of creating a romantic site for couples, we knew we had a big hill to climb in front us.

There were ideas to be thought through, plans to be drawn up, neighbours to meet and discuss our plans with, and permission to be sought to proceed.

Once everyone was happy and planning permission was granted it was time to plough on with the support of a great team of trades to make our dreams a reality.

I think it’s fair to say that everyone was surprised (and perhaps even a little overwhelmed) by the magnitude of the project as it began to unfold and the site quickly took the form of a battle scene… holes, trenches and mounds of earth abundant.

It’s a really exciting time here now as we can see massive developments from the tremendous efforts of our local builders Kevin and JJ, alongside a great team of other trades. Yes, there’s still a mountain to climb, but we’re getting more used to the roller coaster of a journey involved in a project like this. And, I guess we’ve become accustomed to seeing through the piles of earth and debris and imagining our

beautifully landscaped gardens in front of


More than three months have now passed since we started. The original building is gutted and steels are in place to support a new concrete block and beam structure; a huge step forward in progress.

Along the way, as should be expected no doubt, we have already encountered a number of ‘surprises’ including issues with water and electricity supplies, and not least a

less than pleasant sewage system.


We discovered that the building was served by an old septic tank that ran…. Somewhere!

The pump on the septic tank failed one day and left us with, lets just say… a mess to contend with, and little in the way of usable facilities. Like other experiences we’ve encountered so far, at the time it seemed catastrophic, but with hindsight it was all just part of the journey.

The pump was fixed and we began to question the feasibility of the septic tank being man enough for the job of serving the site… Perhaps, whilst we have holes and trenches dug everywhere, we should add one more and install a new tank?

Under the latest legislation, septic tanks must either be replaced by sewage treatment plant or discharged to a drainfield designed and constructed to BS6297 2007… (yes that’s what we thought when we ready it too!?)

As we began to research where the current septic tank discharged to we found a plethora of pipes around the property that seemed to head off into the distance over farmland; ending up and discharging lord only knows where…. So, yes, the decision had been made for us and a sewage treatment plant was needed.

We were quickly learning that when you’re planning a couples retreat in the country that is as eco-friendly as possible, there’s nothing quite like a sewage issue to kill the romance of the plans. It was clear that the glamour of choosing solar panels and wood burners was fast being superseded by something far more grounding. A clean and eco-friendly, sewage treatment plant was going to be our only option to discharge wastewater into a stream or ditch.

And so another hole was dug, and a mighty large one at that!... Doug (our on site JCB mini digger) and his owner/driver (and No1 fan) had to be informed that the big guns were going to be called in. It’s quite entertaining watching a grown man suffer from digger envy ha ha ha.

And so the trench was excavated, the footings created, the plumbing and electrics connected and hey presto we are now the proud owners of a fully functioning Tricel UK30 sewage treatment plant installed by local specialists Drain and Tank Engineering.

We’ve made the process sound far less technical than it was… simply because we really don’t quite understand it. However, for the more technically minded of you that are interested in the workings of such a plant here’s a little more information for you on the workings of a Tricel plant…

Wastewater enters into the plant via the primary settlement chamber; here solids separate from liquids and settle to the bottom of the tank (hence the name I guess… not glamorous, but it ‘does what is says on the can’).

Thereafter follows a journey through other tanks and chambers where a number of natural processes occure that ensure that the remaining liquid created is of a safe and required standard to be discharged from the treatment plant.

We’ve made the process brief and lacking in detail as we figured anyone wanting the gory facts could simply Google the information, while the rest of us simply glance over the detail and concentrate on the journey we are embracing.

So, that’s the issue of waste sorted; let’s see what tomorrow brings…

#mysleepyhollowcornwall #septictankproblems #sewagetreatmentplants

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