INSTALLATION FOR PRIVATE CLIENTS
If you are building or renovating a permanent house or a holiday home in a farmhouse, you need to take care of wastewater treatment in the same way as any other household amenity – plumbing, electricity, heating. It is an important part of the engineering infrastructure of a house. It helps us to live in a clean environment, respect nature and breathe clean, fresh air.
We design and install wastewater projects that cover the wastewater path from the sewer pipe coming out of the house to the discharge of the treated water into the environment. We install all the infrastructure, provide advice and help you choose the treatment plant that best meets your specific needs. We do not represent any treatment plant manufacturer, so no conflicts of interest prevent us from advising you, listening only to the voice of experience, professionalism and a sincere desire to do the job with integrity.
For those who have already experienced the wastewater treatment process, and for those who are new to it, there are many valid questions about how the system works. Here are some general answers to help you navigate your way through the choice of materials, solutions and consultants. We invite you to contact us on a case-by-case basis. We will do our best to avoid avoidable problems during construction, so that you do not spend more than necessary on wastewater disposal.
If you are choosing a plot for a house, make sure you check whether the soil is suitable for the disposal of used water. Clayey soils with high groundwater tables will cause additional problems and of course costs. Sandy, gravelly soils are best, as they allow water to percolate through easily. Please consult specialists before buying a plot. We work mainly in Vilnius and know the soil in the surrounding area. But we can also advise you in other parts of Lithuania.
The cheapest option is in the green area. But a more rational location is under the driveway. Appropriately shaped, cylindrical treatment units are selected for this purpose.
They can be installed at any time, but there is a stage in the construction process when it is easiest. When a new house is being built, it is wise to start installing the treatment plant when the foundations are in place, before the concrete is poured. The necessary pipes can then be conveniently routed under the foundations without the need to dismantle and rebuild. The plumber will run the sewage pipe from the house under the foundation and then connect the sewer pipe to the sewage pipe, which will carry the water to the treatment plant. The plants themselves are then installed to treat the water.
The biological principle of water treatment is perfect because it does not require any additional tools. Nothing needs to be added to such a treatment plant. The human being itself is the best source of all the bacteria needed for water treatment, and our homes are the most suitable medium for their growth. So the bacteria enter the treatment plant in the most natural way and completely free of charge. It takes about a month for a sufficient quantity of bacteria to grow. The more natural waste and the less chemical waste present in the effluent, the better the conditions for bacterial activity.
It is possible to bring in bacteria by filling 10% of the volume of a new treatment plant with the contents of an existing plant, but 99% of users do not do this and the system works perfectly.
Initially, the plant is filled with clean water. Each unit needs to be refilled with special chemicals from time to time. Manufacturers ensure that the device notifies the user when it is time to refill.
In cyclical biochemical treatment plants, the whole process is controlled and the water is treated in cycles, in specific doses. The amount of water to be treated per treatment cycle is predictable. In these plants, the quality of each gram is identical.
Designers usually calculate the amount of wastewater that will be discharged in a particular house. The average rate per person is 160 l/day. One treatment plant is sufficient to treat the wastewater of a family of 5 persons.
Biochemical treatment plants struggle to cope with water treatment during the morning and evening peaks, when large volumes of water from baths and showers enter the plant at the same time. The concentration of contaminants decreases and bacteria are less able to process them.
Bacteria cannot live without food and oxygen. This is done by installing a box that blows air – a blower. A small compressor is mounted in it, which blows air into the treatment plant. The blower is placed either in a dry room or outside. If placed outdoors, it must be airtight to prevent the ingress of water or snow. The indoor installation is always more reliable. When placed outdoors, it shall be buried in the ground and covered with a lid.
For the wastewater system to work and for wastewater to flow freely through the pipes towards the treatment plant, air must enter the pipeline. Otherwise, unpleasant smells will come from sinks, shower traps and gutters and other openings. Ideally, air should come in directly from the outside, through a pipe leading through the roof. However, in modern homes, where high energy efficiency classes are being pursued, designers avoid any additional installations that reduce the airtightness of the building. A pipe leading through the roof would have to be additionally sealed. To save time and construction costs, the end of the pipe through which air enters the sewer pipe remains inside the building. In this case, a rubber membrane – a non-return valve – must be placed on the end of the pipe, so that air can enter the pipe but cannot leave. This means there will be no odours in your house.
There is no strict regulation on when to clean the treatment plant, but it is advisable to clean the biological plant once a year. There is an easy way to know within half an hour whether it is time to clean. Draw water from the plant into a translucent litre container and allow it to settle. If less than half of the sample settles in the container, it’s not time to clean yet. Relax. If more than that, you need to call for a sanitation truck to suck out the accumulated contaminants and get on with your clean life.
Modern biochemical treatment plants have indicators, control screens where the user can see when and what servicing is needed.
The water treated in a domestic wastewater treatment plant doesn’t disappear by itself. There are several ways to deal with it. The simplest is to discharge it into the environment, through pipes to nearby streams or drainage ditches. No facility can treat the water completely, but it comes out clean enough not to harm the environment.
It can be absorbed into the ground through infiltration wells, or it can be pumped out and reused. After passing through a special filter, this water can be used in a toilet tank or for car washing. The water treated in the biological treatment plant retains a high level of nitrogen and phosphorus and is ideal for irrigation and lawn fertilization. It is not recommended to use this water in a pond, as it will grow algae and turn brown.
The effluent from the biochemical treatment plant contains neither nitrogen nor phosphorus in the water. It is suitable for fertilisation, but will no longer fertilise the meadows.
We will advise you on the most suitable method for your situation, so that the water is not a problem and does not cost more than necessary.
A simple and reliable way is to allow the water to accumulate in one place, from which it gradually soaks into the ground.
A well is dug to a depth of about 3 m, into which two concrete rings with a diameter of 1,5-2 m are inserted, with a volume of over 5 cubic metres. If the rings are 2 m in diameter, a surface area of approximately 4 sq m is created for water infiltration. Whether this area is sufficient for comfortable domestic water use depends on the composition of the soil and lifestyle. The infiltration coefficient of the soil, i.e. the permeability to water, is determined by geological investigations. Gravel has the highest permeability. Sand is less permeable, especially if it is very fine. Its permeability then becomes similar to that of clay, where water has difficulty or no ability to penetrate.
Once an infiltration well fills up, because the silt particles remaining in the treated water contaminate the bottom of the well over time, it has to be cleaned. Go down and remove the fouling layer. It does not seem very difficult, but this well is too narrow to do it mechanically, or even comfortably. It is heavy physical work, which makes cleaning the well an expensive service. Another thing is that it is always untimely and very unpleasant when the well becomes clogged.
We always suggest installing an infiltration well with a gravel bed at the bottom, which is several percent more expensive and many times more efficient. This involves digging a pit about 3 m in diameter, much wider and deeper than the well rings. A layer of gravel is poured into the bottom of the pit, which increases the infiltration surface to 10 square metres. The gravel is covered with a special synthetic material which serves as an additional filter to prevent contamination and blockage of the soil. The soil in such a well will never become clogged. If it does have to be cleaned, it will be infinitely less frequent and easier: a wider well is easier to clean; there is no need to dig anything up, just replace the clogged part of the synthetic material. Cleaning this well is probably 6 times cheaper than cleaning a regular well.
A well that costs just a few percent more is much more reliable.
Surprisingly, few wastewater installers offer this option.
Generally, people prefer to get some kind of signal indicating that the well has filled up. But this is not the best way to avoid problems. The alarm will not necessarily go off on Monday morning, when it is convenient to call for help. It can happen at any time, whether it’s at the weekend, at night, or when only the kids and grandparents are home and you’re away on a trip…
We suggest installing a small water pump connected to a float immersed in a well. When the water reaches a dangerous level, the pump pumps out the excess water and discharges it evenly near the well. This temporary solution allows enough time for help to arrive. Meanwhile, the alarm system only indicates that there is a problem, but does not solve it.
A popular and relatively inexpensive way of releasing used and treated water to the land is to install an infiltration field. Special water-permeable pipes are laid in several layers over a certain area of the site and the water slowly percolates into the ground. At first sight, it is attractive and simple. In reality, however, this system is completely inconvenient to use and we do not recommend it.
First of all, because it’s impossible to clean – there’s nowhere to climb and nothing to dig. The sewage treatment plants do not clean the sewage at all, so it is clear that there will be a day when the infiltration field system will be blocked. Over time, the sludge particles that remain in the water will clog both the small openings in the pipe and the soil around it. While increasing the water pressure may still clean the pipe, it may not clean the soil. The infiltration field is therefore truly a disposable device. If it becomes clogged, it must either be relined, which costs the same as installing a new one, or a well must be built at the end of the pipe to collect the water that no longer soaks into the ground. This water can then be disposed of.
There is no point in installing infiltration wells where the soil on the site is clayey or the water table is high. Water will not penetrate the ground through them. The two options are either to remove the accumulated water or to irrigate it.
If irrigation is the option, there is a solution that avoids the need to stand with a rubber hose in your hand and do the watering yourself. This is ground infiltration. Water from an infiltration well is lifted by a pump above the water table or clayey soil to a level where the soil is suitable to absorb it. Several smaller and shallower concrete rings are placed on top of the well and the whole structure is backfilled. The water gradually overflows into the cavity and spreads underground.
- In Lithuania, the use of treated water for irrigation, washing cars or toilet cisterns is not common. Theoretically, this would be very convenient, but in practice it is expensive. It requires additional storage capacity, pumps and costly filters, additional water supply etc. Compared to the cost of extracting fresh, clean water from a borehole, the investment in a recycling system is not worth it. Treatment plants clean 70-90% of the water. It is rare for anyone to use it to water vegetables that they will later eat, but it is perfect for watering meadows. But it is better to use collected rainwater for watering vegetables.
In areas where there are many hard surfaces in the yard, rainwater does not naturally soak into the ground, but accumulates and causes a lot of damage to buildings. The main reason for rainwater harvesting is to protect buildings and basements from moisture. Another reason is aesthetics.
Rainwater runs off the roof along the foundation of the house through gutters. It seeps through the adjacent soil to the basement walls, which become damp.
If there is no basement and the waterproofing between the foundation and the wall is thinner, the moisture can rise up the walls.
The water from the gutter trickles down through the sub-floor along the foundation, slowly eroding it. Over time, the slope caves in and becomes mossy, especially on the north side of the house. The view is not very aesthetic, especially for those who do not like overgrown borders.
In the case of a rainwater harvesting system, the water is collected at each gutter and channelled through underground sewer pipes away from the house foundation to a dedicated well. On modern small plots, where space is limited and the size of the buildings is not large, one common well may be sufficient. For larger plots, we recommend that two wells are installed and that rainwater is collected at each building, not just at the dwelling house.
More attention should be paid to stormwater runoff on plots with clay soils and high groundwater tables. Sometimes it is necessary to install hermetically sealed tanks for rainwater collected in such places and to find a solution for how and where it will be discharged from there.