In March of this year we launched a septic tank awareness campaign. The objective of the campaign was to draw to the attention of owners of properties served by septic tanks to the need to maintain these facilities regularly to ensure no adverse impacts on the aquatic environment.
Whilst any discharges may be small in scale the cumulative load from a number of poorly maintained facilities can be harmful to the environment. Potential impacts from organic loads, nutrients and bacteria can affect our rivers, harbours and our precious ground water.
Letters were sent to householders within key vulnerable target areas who were not likely to be served by mains drainage (estimated by GIS mapping techniques). The selected areas are;
Within 100 metres of the rivers Arun & Rother
Within 100metres of Chichester Harbour
Within the protection zones of boreholes used for public water supply
The upper Rother captured by Sandra Manning-Jones
Chichester Harbour looking towards Dell Quay from John Spence
All properties received a copy of a leaflet ‘Managing your septic tank and sewage treatment plant’. This leaflet summarises ‘Best Practice Guidelines’, ‘General Binding Rules’ and offers contact points for further information.
Those properties along the rivers Arun and Rother also received a second leaflet ‘A clean home shouldn’t mean a dirty river’. This leaflet explains the issue of eutrophication through excessive phosphate levels. It also offers advice on the use of low phosphate detergents and on checking drains for misconnections.
Feedback from the campaign has included positive comments on the clarity of the leaflets, requests for further information and concerns about potential pollution issues. The latter of which have been passed to the Environment Agency.
We are grateful for the in-kind support of the Environment Agency and the Arun & Rother Rivers Trust and the financial support from Southern Water, Portsmouth Water, the Chichester Harbour Conservancy and the South Downs National Park Authority.