Farming accidents have been in the news. At the weekend Country File, a BBC TV programme, featured a long section on the accident record of the farming industry. A surprising fact is that although agriculture employs just 2% of the UK workforce it accounts for 20% of serious industrial injuries and deaths. According to the programme, almost one per week. This has hardly improved over the last 20 years. A terrible record compared to other industries such as construction, where serious accidents have halved over the same period.
Slurry Tanks – Emit Poison Gases
The TV programme covered a number of risk areas. Such as falling from roofs or getting trapped in machinery. Cases related to the waste industry have caused by slurry pits. Or more precisely death caused by the poisonous gases given off. One high profile slurry pit death involved a famous Irish rugby player. The Health and Safety Executive of Northern Ireland has reported almost a death per month from similar accidents. And that is within a population of just 1.6 million.
Accidents do happen, in spite of safety precautions. Of course not all accidents are life threatening. Many may mean a loss of work or income. A specialist personal accident insurance has created a policy specifically aimed at the agriculture industry.
The Health and Safety ExecuTive
The HSE is responsible for industrial safety. They have recently started a programme of working with the National Farmers Union to tackle the problem. This is focussing on changing attitudes towards working with farming machinery, working at heights and working outside. A related issue is that farm workers often work alone. This means that when an accident occurs help often takes some time before it arrives.
The UK has been under seige from the torrential rain and harsh winds that have battered the country for weeks now. Many MTM Environmental customers have been effected by the conditions with trees falling, electric supplies disrupted and damage to property, it seems the maintenance bill following the storms will likely be huge for many.
It’s important not to forget your sewage treatment equipment and septic tank at this time of year – in fact as my post in November 2012 (Winter considerations for your septic tank) explains – the colder weather can cause damage to the equipment, making it important to remember your annual maintenance checks before the frost sets in.
Completing interior DIY projects is one of the most popular passtimes in the New year, so many gardens in the UK become neglected and looking at the images on recent news reports it’s no wonder when most seem to be saturated with water!
However, this doesn’t mean a septic tank maintenance should be put to one side – in most cases our engineers will still be able to access report and maintain systems in effected places. It’s always better to ensure that the system is running efficiently and safely that wait for more issues saused by low temperatures and snow.
For more information on septic tank and sewage treatment maintenance for your home or business or just to check whether or not your system can still be accessed following damage to your property, please contact us.
Researchers are always looking for new and innovative ways to make existing technologies more efficient, whether this is by upping their output, introducing money-saving materials and parts or simply by making the systems more environmentally friendly in order to reduce their carbon footprint. There is always an abundance of research taking place for these purposes.
Interestingly, It has been widely reported recently that Taiwanese researchers have found a new and innovative way of utilising old compact discs (CD’s) as part of the sewage treatment process. The researchers are said to have come up with a way of using the discs to grow zinc oxide – an element that is known for its properties that make it capable of breaking down the solids in the treatment process.
In my opinion, anything that assists the industry in creating more efficient ways of treating sewage whilst utilising materials that would otherwise be junk or obsolete has to be a good thing, although reading the various reports available online it seems that the technology itself is a long way from being utilised on a day to day basis, i’m sure researchers will find a way of utilising it eventually. More information can be seen on the report by clicking here.
In the meantime, old research means that MTM engineers are able to offer several different systems that are built to suit the varying needs of our customers. For more information contact MTM Environmental, where we can talk to you about the varying systems and the best options for your home or business.
Residents in a house in Ruskin, Florida were surprised when a ‘sinkhole’ that was 7 feet wide appeared at the rear of their property.
Sink holes are a natural depression in the earth and can appear quite randomly for a variety of reasons (in fact, recent reports show a town in Russia is currently dealing with a plague of them). But the ‘sink hole’ in this case actually turned out to be caused by an out of service septic tank.
Luckily the family were at home and were evacuated so the area could be checked and made safe. Reports suggest they were unaware the tank was even there as there was nothing connected to the property, despite it being located in the back garden.
According to reports following the incident, the sewage treatment system had collapsed on itself, causing the hole in the back yard.
Like many of the other news items I have mentioned on here, this is an unusual case, but prevention is always the best medicine really, so ensuring that any septic tanks and surrponding equipment are properly inspected and maintained on a regular basis is very important.
MTM Environmental will be able to assess any old or existing treatment facilities that need inspection and provide a care and maintenance quotation for future use. For systems that are no longer usable (which the one mentioned above is unlikely to be), we can also look at costings and suitability for an alternative system that can be properly maintained and suits the needs of the property in question.
Systems like ours are most often found in remote areas of towns and villages where mains connections are not available. But I read an interesting report recently about an existing Septic Tank system in a very remote area that is being upgraded.
According to an online news publication the scottish island of Handa is having a new toilet system installed at a cost of £50,000 despite having no inhabitants since the 19th century!
The installation is specifically for the use of bird watchers that visit every summer to see the 100,000 birds that live there during the warmer season. There are said to be 6,000 people that visit annually to see the wildlife with up to 150 people arriving per day at peak times and the current septic tank system is no longer suitable.
Strong winds and other environmental considerations have made the project difficult for designers, but a system that blends with this area of natural beauty is said to be the chosen style.
The installation of a standalone system like this (but on a smaller scale) is often the only choice available for home owners as well, so making sure the tank is maintained and inspected on a regular basis is an important task. The designers working on this project have said that this specialised system will only require cleaning every 2 years, a welcome relief for many of the visitors and volunteers that work there!
Click here for more information and the full article on the Twitchers Island Toilet from Deadline.
In a controversial move, the Irish Department of the Environment have today released the legislative documentation relating to the inspection and registration of all septic tanks in the country.
Septic Tank survey equipment
The Irish Times reported earlier today that some experts have been shocked by the increase in expected charges for the inspection services. Although the first inspection is said to be free, each subsequent inspection is expected to cost €200 despite the Environment Minister assuring the Irish public that there would not be charges for mandatory inspections. This is on top of the €50 registration fee required for every tank.
Here in England there are many rules surrounding the maintenance and upkeep of a septic tank system and you will need to consider building regulations and environmental matters before constructing a new one.
If you are selling your home then a Septic Tank survey might be required as part of your Home Information pack (HIP), but keeping a regular check of the order of your tank and its pipes is also crucial.
Septic tank surveys are not a simple undertaking and as they are commonly located underground so it is likely to be difficult to pinpoint a fault without specialist equipment.
Trained professionals will often use tools such as remote controlled cameras and portable screens to inspect the tank for faults. The inspections themselves are normally completed after an initial survey has been carried out to determine the best and safest way of accessing the tank and completing the inspection. The availability of newer technologies today means this is likely to be done remotely.
Of course, keeping the inspection and maintenance record of your tank up to date can be a valuable investment in the longevity of your tank whether you are moving home or not and ensuring you have a full and thorough inspection report afterwards is also an important consideration.