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Winter Pool Maintenance

Winter Pool Maintenance: 7 Off Season Pool Care Pro Tips

Depending on the region you live in, ongoing pool care can be a year round requirement. Yes, the water temperatures are cold, UV ray angles are low and your pool might not have any bather load; however your pump, filter, heater and other pool equipment are functional and need to be watched.

When it’s finally the warm pool opening season, you don’t want to find out that your pool surfaces and equipment are damaged and unusable. By doing small, weekly pool care tasks, like balancing your water chemistry, you can save yourself from large, time-consuming repairs and replacements. To avoid unexpected problems when it’s time to open your pool for the summer, follow these seven off season pool care tips this winter:

1. Keep an eye on your pool

If your pool is covered, remember to periodically remove any debris above the cover and check underneath it to ensure you have no unwanted surprises down there.

In addition, the winter-induced wind or snow can put stress on your cover, so make sure that your cover, attachments, water bags and lawn anchors are securely attached so they don’t come loose.

Winter Pool Maintenance

2. Balance your water chemistry

Water chemistry balancing is not as demanding as it may seem, but it is a crucial part of protecting your pool or spa investment. If pH, alkalinity, cyanuric acid and calcium hardness are out of standard ranges for an extended period of time, it can wreak havoc on your pool equipment and surfacing.

In the winter, you should balance your pH, pool water weekly at a minimum; spa users are recommended to check their water chemistry every two to three days. In addition, use an algaecide to kill any existing algae and prevent new blooms during the winter. Your sanitizer levels can be reduced during the winter months, while still maintaining the proper water chemistry balance.

3. Check on your equipment

Even when your pool is covered and not in use, dirt, pollen and other contaminants can still enter the water. So, remember to keep an eye on the filter gauge, perform backwashing and clean your filter per the manufacturer’s recommendations. Additionally, don’t forget to check your pool pump, heater and exposed plumbing to make sure everything is functioning properly and there are no leaks.

4. Beware of freezing weather

If water is left in your equipment during the winter, the cold weather can freeze and expand the water and ruin your equipment and plumbing. So remember keep an eye on your freeze guard to ensure that your pool equipment has circulation when temperatures plummet. This can help you avoid expensive repairs from frozen equipment or plumbing.

5. Clean your pool surfaces

Maintaining clean walls, floors and other pool surfaces will prevent algae growth. Skimming, vacuuming and brushing organic debris on a weekly basis is a great off season pool care habit that will save you time dealing with a green, dirty water in the spring.

Tip: Don’t forget to brush the hard to get areas, including behind ladders, steps and corners.

6. Clear out unwanted debris

As debris builds up, remember to empty your skimmer baskets, pump baskets, floor cleaner containers and cleaner bags. This will keep your water and equipment cleaner, while also making your life easier in the spring.

7. Monitor your water level

Always make sure your pool’s water level is correctly topped off to protect your pump and keep the pool primed. The right pool water level can depend on the climate you live in. If you live in a warmer environment, that doesn’t experience freezing temperatures, your pool water should almost be filled to the top during the winter. However, if you are located in a cold environment, your pool water should be four to six inches below the skimmer in the winter months. Spending a little time each week on your off season pool care will make a big positive impact on opening your pool this spring and summer.

Via Clear Comfort

Images: Shutterstock

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Enjoy Life Without Pollen

In spring and summer our gardens bloom with life. While this may seem nice, it can also cause people suffering from seasonal pollen-related asthma and allergies, such as allergic rhinitis. But what is pollen and how can you protect your family from its possible effects?

What is pollen?

Pollen, which usually appears as a fine powder, is microspores that are transferred from one plant to another, resulting in the fertilization and production of new plants. As temperatures rise, pollen production increases causing a variety of symptoms in people with pollen sensitivity including sneezing, nasal congestion, redness, itchy eyes and tearing and / or itchy nose or runny nose.

Pollen season

There are three main types of pollen that together extend the pollen season from early spring to late autumn.

  • Pollen from grass: It is the main culprit for asthma and pollen allergies associated with pollen and can affect people from March to October. Grass pollen can cause extremely strong reactions.
  • Tree Pollen: While different types of tree pollen occur at different times of the year, tree pollen is usually only a problem from February to June.
  • Weed Pollen: Weed pollen most often causes allergic rhinitis. It usually prevails in summer and early autumn.

Protect your family with Daikin air purifiers

Daikin air purifiers are the perfect way to ensure that indoor air is cleaner, healthier and cleaner, minimizing the negative effects of pollen on your health.

Daikin air purifiers:

Minimize the symptoms of asthma and allergies by removing dust and pollen particles from the air.

They protect your health by filtering out airborne bacteria and viruses, and also eliminate 99.98% of the human coronavirus HCoV-229E.

They inject moisture into the air when it is very dry, helping to keep your skin healthy.

· They control odors so that your home always smells fresh and clean.

Pollen Calendar

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We are a proficient company offering a wide selection of services for all size projects in the areas of Solar Energy, Photovoltaic Systems, Geothermal Energy, Net Metering, Swimming Pools, Air Conditioning, Central Heating, all kind of Mechanical Installations. Please contact us if you have any questions!


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Heat Pump

Heat Pump For Domestic Hot Water

What is a Heat Pump?

A heat pump system circulates heat from an external energy source to a compressor inside a heat pump unit. It can collect low-grade heat from renewable sources such as water, ground or air to compress and deliver heating and hot water to a property.

Advantages

 The actual set of the heat pump is controlled by a climate curve for preventing that the hot air taken from outside (over 25°C with water at 65°C, over 35°C with water at 55°C) may cause high pressure alarms.

The electrical heater integrates automatically the temperature of the tank to the desired setting when the actual setting is controlled by the weather curve.

Predisposition for integration with photovoltaic system. After enabling the photovoltaic inverter, the set temperature will increase to the maximum value (according to the climate control).

Flexibility and Benefits

Problem with Space? This is the answer. Compact efficient. Solar and 3rd party heating option connections available.

Waste heat recovery: the unit can be installed near the kitchen, in the boiler-room or the garage, basically in every room which has a largenumber of waste-heat so that it has the higher energy efficiency even with very low outside temperatures during the winter.

Hot water, cooling and dehumidification: the unit can be placed in the laundry room, in clothing room, gym or garage. When it produces howater it lowers the temperature and dehumidifies the room as well.

Compatible with solar energy: the unit can work with a second heat source as solar panels, boilers or other different energy sources (remark: the extra heat source is not provided with). The function for which the unit has been designed is only that of heat pump for DHW production. Any other side effect (ambient cooling, dehumidification, waste heat recovery) should be considered as a perk.

The performance data are therefore provided only with respect to the function of water heating.

Technical Features

  • Steel tank with double layer vitrification.
  • Anti-corrosion magnesium stick for assuring the durability of the tank.
  • Condenser wrapped externally to the boiler, free from fouling and gaswater contamination.
  • High thickness polyurethane foam (PU) thermal insulation.
  • Outer shell made of grey colour plastic material.
  • Acoustically isolated top part plastic cover.
  • Highly efficient compressor with the R134a refrigerant.
  • High and low gas pressure protections.
  • Electrical heater available in the unit as a back-up (with integrated thermo cut out with protection set at 90°C), assuring constant hot water even in extreme cold winters.
  • ON-OFF contact for starting the unit from an external switch.
  • Weekly disinfection cycle.
  • Possibility of manage hot sanitary water re-circulation or solar water integration (presence of a dedicated temperature probe, flow switch input and command for an external pump).
  • Electronic expansion valve for precise control
  • The pipeline intake/discharge of the air can be reduced from 177 to 160 mm by a reduction / diaphragm (not provided) inserted into the end of the pipeline.

Contact Us If You Have Any Questions

Please use this form to contact us  to discuss your ground source heat pump requirements or to enquire further about our market-leading heat pump services.


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Solar Thermal

How It Works

Have you ever felt warm water trickle out of a garden hose that’s been sitting in the sun? If so, then you have witnessed solar water heating in action.

Now imagine that same water moving slowly though a system specifically designed to heat and store water – that is the essence of solar thermal water heating. People have for centuries used water heated by the sun and stored it for bathing, hand washing, cleaning clothes, heating homes and much more. The solar thermal systems used today combine the most efficient techniques for capturing the sun’s heat with modern plumbing systems to produce cost-effective hot water and reduce the need for gas or electricity to heat water.

A Solar Thermal system works by harnessing the sun’s energy and converting it into heat, that is then transferred to your home or business. The solar collector utilises the sun’s rays to heat a transfer fluid which is a mixture of water and glycol, to prevent the water from freezing in the winter. There are a number of different solar thermal designs, but all are based on the same simple principle as the garden hose. Each has its pros and cons, and each is suitable for a specific application. 

Types of Systems

An important distinction among solar thermal systems is whether they are of direct or indirect design.

Indirect system

In an indirect system, also known as “closed loop,” a simple pump moves the antifreeze solution through a loop into the solar collector, through the collector’s pipes, and out of the solar collector. Then, the sun-warmed antifreeze solution flows into a heat-transfer unit where it warms the cool water heading into a conventional hot water tank. The antifreeze solution then returns to the pump and again flows into the solar collector without ever mixing with the building’s water. Indirect systems are encouraged in climates with extended periods of below-freezing temperatures. We primarily install these types of systems. We find they produce the greatest amount of energy, more consistently, with a greater service life than other types of systems.

Direct system

A direct system, also known as “open loop,” is a little simpler. There is no antifreeze solution; the water heated directly by the sun is the same water used by building occupants. A thermometer and controller sense when the solar collector is warm and ready to heat water. The controller starts a pump that moves cold water into the solar collector, where it is heated. The solar heated water is then stored in a conventional hot water tank. It is typical, especially during high use or periods of little sun for the water to be kept warm through supplemental gas or electricity. This type of system, because it circulates pure, potable water through an outdoor collector, is susceptible to freezing in many climates, unless safeguards are added.

Applications of Solar Thermal

  • Solar Thermal Under floor heating

  • Solar Thermal Heating of domestic water

  • Solar Thermal Heating of the pool

  • Combination of the above

Contact Us If You Have Any Questions

We can provide you solutions for an integrated solar thermal system and we can advice you how you can minimize your energy costs by utilizing the sun as a source of renewable energy.


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mechanical installations

Geothermal Energy

Geothermal energy is heat derived within the sub-surface of the earth. Water and/or steam carry the geothermal energy to the Earth’s surface. Depending on its characteristics, geothermal energy can be used for heating and cooling purposes or be harnessed to generate clean electricity. A geothermal energy cooling / heating system is based on using the full potential of the constant temperature and thermal conductivity of the earths substructure.

We can see this phenomenon in basement areas where during the summer the area is cool and during the winter warm without the use of air conditioning.

Geothermal energy can be broken down into two categories: open loop systems and closed loop systems.

Open loop geothermal energy for cooling / heating is the pumping of under ground water source through a heat pump (or VRV) and the return of the water after the energy transfer. This method needs a constant water supply.

mechanical installations

Closed loop Geothermal energy systems can be divide into two categories.

Horizontal closed loop Geothermal energy system is installed at least 1.5 meters below the ground with pipe spacing of at least 1.8 – 2.2  Rm per m². Output is 20 – 35W/m². This system has the disadvantage of requiring a large area to be installed.

mechanical installations

Vertical closed loop Geothermal energy system where the loop is installed in a vertical bore well (6” – 8” diameter) and 60 – 120 deep. The minimum distance between the wells is 5 meters and the output is 40-70W/meter of depth, and depending on the soil structure. This system is more popular as you need less space and have a higher output.

mechanical installations

The heat which is collected from the earth is transferred to the  system (heat pump, chiller, VRV, etc.) and the exchange is made via heat exchangers and transferred to the cooling circuit of the unit as in a normal system. Due to the fact that the temperature is constant in the earth (±18.5°C) the energy required for this  this process is much less than in a normal system where the  air temperature is 40°C in summer and 5-10°C in winter.

Geothermal  energy can be used for under floor heating, fan coils, or for VRV systems, and the savings in comparison to a normal Air to water system can be up to 50-60% depending on the application and use of system.     

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Photo Credits: Shutterstock

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Mechanical installations Cyprus

Indoor Air Quality Solutions

Why Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) is Important

Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) is the air quality in a building or structure, the air that the occupants of the building breathe every day.

When planning new resiednetial buildings, schools, offices or light commercial buildings, many factors need to be considered. Apart from the construction factors, there are also issues of heating, cooling and something that is often neglected: indoor air quality.

Did you know that the indoor air we breathe, at home, in the office or even in a hotel room, can actually be much more poluted than the air outside?

  • The 90% of our lives is spent indoors
  • The indoor air quality can be 2-5 times worse than outdoor air quality because of pollutants, such as pollen, bacteria etc.

Pollutants And Indoor Air Particles

With the right system (air conditioner, ventilation, air purification equipment), contaminants such as pollen, spores, concrete dust, bacteria, viruses or germs can be removed from the air by filtration. The smaller these particles are, the more dangerous they are to our health, so particulate matter is categorized according to its size.

Particles And Storage Areas

The thinner and smaller a particle is, the longer it stays in the air.

• PM 10: all particles up to 10 µm (0.01 mm)

Deposition in the nose and pharynx of the human respiratory system

• PM 2.5: all particles up to 2.5 (m (0.0025 mm)

They are so small that they reach the human lung

• PM 1: all particles up to 1 µm (0.001 mm = 1 micron)

They are so small that they pass through the cell membrane of alveoli into the human circulatory system and cause life-threatening diseases.

Due to their harmful properties (high risk of cardiovascular disease), their permanence and frequency, particles smaller than 2.5 μm (ie PM 2.5 and PM 1 ) require the most attention .

Elements of indoor quality

Mechanical installations Cyprus

Aeration

Ventilation systems ensure optimal air conditioning conditions by providing a fresh, healthy and comfortable environment for buildings of all dimentions and different applications. In a completely enclosed space in a bulding, air cannot enter/leave easly, leaving air pollutants remaining and accumulating in the room. This can effect the health of the people in the room. Ventilation is essential for diluting and removing these air pollutants. A well-maintained ventilation system and and adequate air exchange rate have proven to be an effective solution to protect people from contaminants, incluidng visruses.

Daikin ventilation products are perfectly combined in a total heat pump solution, so that it is possible to reduce the number of individual systems and independent suppliers for your HVAC-R system

To achieve optimal ventilation, Daikin maintains the highest standards of energy efficiency and has a wide range of options to achieve the filtration and level of hygiene required for your project.

Filtering

Filter efficiency classification

ISO 16890

With the introduction of the new ISO 16890 standard, the classification of filters is based on the ability to filter specific particles according to particle size.

A filter is classified in the ISO ePM 1 Filter Group if the minimum filter efficiency is at least 50% (the filter removes at least 50% or more particles ≤1 μm in size) as shown in the table.

The average filter performance is also indicated . If the average yield for ISO PM 1 particles is 68%, then the classification becomes PM 1 65% as the average yield is rounded down to the nearest 5% increase.

HEPA filters

HEPA filters provide extremely high particle filtration and must filter at least 99.95% of particulate matter with a diameter of 0.3 μm!

As such a HEPA filter is more efficient than an ePM 1 filter .

Air disinfection additives for filtration

With a good filtration system you can collect very small particulate matter from the air stream but the viruses, bacteria and fungal organisms that accumulate are not inactivated. They can continue to reproduce and possibly cause disease. To prevent this from happening, air disinfection is required.

Flash Streamer

Superior air treatment through the unique Flash Streamer technology

Daikin’s patented Flash streamer technology disables more than 99.9% of the new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2).

The huge streamer discharge hits allergens and hazardous chemicals, breaking down and breaking down surface proteins, which are then destroyed by oxidation.

During the test, allergens are placed on the electrode of the streamer discharge unit and then photographed with the electron microscope after being irradiated.

UV-C lamp

UV energy inactivates viral, bacterial and fungal organisms so that they can not reproduce and possibly cause disease.

The entire UV spectrum has the ability to inactivate microorganisms, but UV-C energy (wavelengths 200 – 280 nm) provides the greatest microbicidal effect.

UV-C disinfection and sterilization is widely used in hospitals.

However, the UV-C lamp is a danger to the health of the human body.

By treating the fresh recirculation air with a UV-C lamp directly inside the air management units, pure germ-free air can be achieved without exposing the human body to the harmful UV lamp.

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Via Cyprus Daikin Europe

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paphos air conditioning

8 Big Mistakes You’re Making With Your Air Conditioner

All-time summer heat records keep buckling under the weight of rising global temps—a trend that hits home, literally and figuratively, when you receive your monthly air conditioning bill. Unfortunately, mistakes you’re making with your home A/C may be undercutting its efficiency, effectiveness, and safety, experts say.

“If you have a badly maintained system, it can become contaminated with microorganisms that may be harmful if inhaled,” says Mark Mendell, a staff scientist with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s Indoor Environment Group. Mendell mentions asthma problems and allergies as some of those possible harms.

Here are eight of the most common mistakes people make when it comes to home A/C, and some simple adjustments that can save your lungs and wallet.

You Aren’t Changing or Cleaning Your A/C Filters

At a minimum, you should be changing the filter on your central A/C unit once every three months—and as often as once a month if your system is running all the time.

Neglect this chore, and a dirty filter can lead to poor air flow or freezing up of your unit’s evaporator coil. A filthy filter could add 5% to 15% to your A/C bill, and will shorten the lifespan of your whole system. Fortunately, replacement filters are not expensive! 

If you have ductless “split” A/C units, there should be a removable panel on your unit that will allow you to wipe off the filter with a rag—no replacement necessary.

air condition service paphos

You’re Not Having Your System Serviced Annually

An air conditioner’s filters, coils, and fins require regular maintenance for the unit to function effectively and efficiently throughout its years of service. Neglecting necessary maintenance ensures a steady decline in air conditioning performance while energy use steadily increases. 

You Don’t Have a Programmable Thermostat

Maybe you’re one of those superhumans who always remembers to adjust the thermostat before leaving the house. But if you’re like the rest of us, a programmable thermostat can save you hundreds on your annual A/C bill by automatically raising the temp at those times of day when you’re at work or away from home.

You’re Setting Your Thermostat Too Low

Research shows the human body is capable of adapting to hot or cool temperatures pretty quickly—like within a week or two. When you consider you’ll cut up to 3% off your A/C bill for every degree you raise the temperature—not to mention the potential environmental benefits of lowering your A/C use—it’s worth sweating through that adjustment period and setting your thermostat somewhere in the high 20s (or higher if you can handle it).

paphos air conditioning

You’re Not Taking Full Advantage of Fans

Any type of fan, but especially ceiling fans, can help keep cool air circulating throughout your home. That removes some of the burden from your AC system. Just be sure your ceiling fans are turning counterclockwise during the summer, which promotes greater air flow.

paphos air conditioning

Your Thermostat and/or Vents Are Poorly Positioned

If the sun or a nearby lamp blasts your thermostat for big chunks of the day, that could throw off its readings and cause it to crank your A/C even though your place is pleasantly cool. Especially if you’re away during the day, you may not realise your system is working overtime due to a misplaced thermostat.

Blocking AC vents with furniture or curtains can also limit air circulation. Unless you spend a lot of time huddled under your sofa, you’ll want to be sure your A/C vents are unobstructed.

You’re Cooling Empty Rooms

If A/C vents are open in every room of your house, you’re chilling a lot of real estate that may not be in use on a day-to-day basis. Walk around and close those A/C vents that open onto unoccupied rooms. Also, closing closet doors ensures those spaces aren’t swallowing your cold air.

paphos air conditioning

You Don’t Have Blinds Or Curtains

Bright sunlight is your A/C system’s nemesis. By closing blinds and sliding curtains to block the sun’s rays, you’ll also shield your space from the sun’s heat.

paphos air conditioning

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Вакансия водопроводчика

Вакансия водопроводчика

Z&X механические установки на Кипре, одна из крупнейших местных инженерных компаний в Пафосе, которая занимается всеми аспектами механических установок, нуждается в опытных сантехниках.

Необходимые навыки: – Степень / диплом сантехника из колледжа – Предыдущий опыт строительства механических объектов для гостиниц – Предыдущий опыт сварки и монтажа P. P. R труб

Предлагаемый пакет: – Зарплата € 800

– Жилье

Рабочие дни: 6 дней в неделю

Заинтересованные кандидаты могут прислать свое резюме в электронном виде по электронной почте на sales@zandxgroup.com

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Вакансия водопроводчика

Вакансия водопроводчика

Z&X механические установки на Кипре, одна из крупнейших местных инженерных компаний в Пафосе, которая занимается всеми аспектами механических установок, нуждается в опытных сантехниках.

Необходимые навыки: – Степень / диплом сантехника из колледжа – Предыдущий опыт строительства механических объектов для гостиниц – Предыдущий опыт сварки и монтажа P. P. R труб

Предлагаемый пакет: – Зарплата € 800

– Жилье

Рабочие дни: 6 дней в неделю

Заинтересованные кандидаты могут прислать свое резюме в электронном виде по электронной почте на sales@zandxgroup.com

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mechanical installations cyprus

WASTE WATER TREATMENT FOR DOMESTIC USE

SCOPE

The information below outlines the options available for disposal of domestic wastewater in lieu of a sewer connection and looks briefly at the management implications.

In absence on any specific data on the house, its occupancy and use, site, soil conditions, adjacent water features, adjacent boreholes, local environmental authority requirements; the information below provides only basic details to identify the potential options for wastewater disposal and is not intended to be definitive.

All dimensions, volumes and distances are those that would be required in the UK, local requirements may be different, and should be determined by an appointed MEP engineer.

 

1.   WASTE WATER TREATMENT OPTIONS

1.1.  Septic tank

A septic tank is typically a two chambered, buried tank with an effluent outlet to a drainage field. The septic tank, usually made of concrete, is designed to be watertight. The principle of operation of a septic tank is that wastewater enters the tank first, where heavy solids sink to the bottom and grease and oils float to the top. The effluent passes from the first chamber to a second chamber, by gravity, where further settlement occurs. Most solids entering the septic tank settle to the bottom and are partially decomposed by anaerobic bacteria to form sludge. The effluent then passes in to a soakaway or a drainage field, where the majority of the treatment occurs. There should be no direct effluent discharge to watercourses.

A properly maintained septic tank keeps solids and grease from entering and clogging the drainfield, the land into which the tank overflows drain. To be effective, the soil must be suitable and undergo permeability tests, the result of which may be required to be submitted to the local environmental authority as part of the consent to discharge application. If the soil is not suitable, then the ground can become waterlogged and give rise to issues of odour.

Generally for a four person dwelling the septic tank would be of a minimum 2.7 m3 litres capacity, additional occupants would require the tank capacity to be increased by 180 litres per person. They need to be emptied on a regular basis, at least once per year. American case studies show tank capacity ranges from 4 m3 for a three bedroom single-family house, up to 15 m3.

 

1.2.  Packaged Treatment Tank

Typically these are off the shelf plant, sized to match the expected effluent load and simply require installation and commissioning. Typical examples of packaged treatment plant are defined below.

Rotating Biological Contactor (RBC)

These are usually a single unit comprising of 3 chambers, the first stage being the primary settlement tank where the solids are settled out and retained as sludge.  The partially treated effluent passes first to the anoxic and then the aerobic stage, where the secondary treatment occurs.

RBC’s generally protrude above ground and are therefore, visually intrusive. They require a power supply, although the motor is generally small as the speed required is between 2 and 4 rpm (revolutions per minute).

An RBC can tolerate some fluctuations in hydraulic and organic load but can suffer if there is a shock load. RBCs have no scope for adaption should the building change, i.e. if the wastewater flows are increased. The increase in flow will have to be accommodated within the plant or a new plant will be needed.

Overall, RBC’s are a simple and stable treatment process that has been proven over the years but are not ideally suited for single dwellings due to the relatively low flows they may receive.

Activated Sludge

An activated sludge plant uses the injection of air in to the wastewater to breakdown the organic load. The plant can be either two or three chambered units and with the air being bubbled up through the effluent from an aerator in the base. The process generates slurry which settles in the based and sludge is formed containing active microbes. Some of the sludge is re-circulated back in to the unit and retreated, keeping the units biomass active. The quality of the effluent can be very high and can provide some nutrient removal, such as nitrates. Similar to RBC’s, they can accept some load variations but not sudden shock loads.

Generally activated sludge plants are wholly buried and only the top is visible, so are therefore, visually unobtrusive. However, the air blower does need a surface mounted fan, which can give rise to aesthetic and noise issues. They do use more power than an RBC.

A variation of the activated sludge treatment is the sequencing batch reactor (SBR). The treatment occurs in a single chamber, where the blower is alternates between on and off, to allow the settling out of the sludge.

Packaged treatment plant general comments

There are many types of packaged treatment plant available, all of which perform better with a constant flow of effluent, ensuring that the final effluent is treated to the correct standard. The local environmental authority may require the effluent quality to be monitored, to ensure the consent standard is not contravened.

In general, packaged plant are reliable and will, if maintained, provide years of service. They work best when there is a constant flow. If large variations in flow are expected, then precautionary measures, such as an additional balancing tank are required, to ensure the flow is kept at a constant rate.

Most types of packaged treatment plant hare the same following features:

  • Off the shelf products but need careful selection to ensure the discharge consent will be met.
  • Relatively compact and easy quick to install
  • Easily maintained, by reputable manufacturers/installers who can offer maintenance contracts
  • Relatively unobtrusive, as they are predominantly installed below ground
  • Can achieve good quality effluent discharge and the effluent can be discharged direct in to a watercourse, if the correct discharge standard is met
  • Relatively inexpensive.

However, they do have some disadvantages:

  • They are not a do it yourself (DIY) item and do need specialist maintenance
  • As they have mechanical and electrical components, they do wear out in time and will need replacement
  • They do need de-sludging which, depending on the plant can be between 6 months and 2 years, depending on the plant and usage
  • They require a power supply
  • Will not provide any treatment in the event of a power outage or mechanical breakdown
  • Can generate noise and occasionally odour problems.

1.3.  Reed Beds

Vertical Flow Reed Beds

These work on a similar principal to traditional filter beds, where the effluent is spread over the top of the reed bed and allowed to pass vertically down through the filter media, generally gravel and sand as well as the rhizomes of the planting, to the outfall point. Organic matter can settle on the surface, which can give rise to some odour issues.

High levels of treatment are possible and so can be used to for secondary treatment, following a primary settlement tank such as a septic tank, but are generally used as tertiary treatment.

The effluent flow in to the reed bed can occur under gravity, providing there is sufficient hydraulic head, generally around 1.5 m from inlet to outlet, hence they do not necessarily require power.

They are easy to maintain as failure tends to be gradual and as such, preventative and remedial action can be carried out well in advance of total failure.

Visually, they can be very attractive and can provide a wildlife habitat.

Generally they require between 2 and 5 m² of land per person and can be quite expensive to install and can be sensitive to shock loads.

A        Existing septic tank

B        Pumping station (if required)

C       Vertical reed-bed

D       Pumping station

E        Vertical flow reed-bed

F        Humus Tank

G       Balancing tank

H       Horizontal reed-bed

J        Flow control chamber

Horizontal Flow Reed Beds

Unlike the vertical flow reed bed, the flow occurs horizontally through the filter media. The air flow through the filter media is limited and so strong effluent can be poorly treated and potentially aerobic conditions can occur, giving rise to odour issues.

Similar to vertical flow reed beds, they are generally seen as a tertiary form of treatment but can be used for secondary treatment, following a septic tank. They require more land take than a vertical flow reed bed, between 5 and 10 m² per person, secondary treatment.

Although many consider that they are suitable for secondary treatment, there some who would suggest that they are really only suitable for tertiary treatment. Therefore, there is some confusion on their suitability.

Visually, they can be attractive and natural looking, be able to accommodate a wide range of plants. They can be cost effective, if installed as a DIY item, but again, the design needs to be considered very carefully.

As the flow is horizontal through the media, the media can become blocked and therefore needs careful maintenance. Normally, with good pre-treatment, the bed can be used for up to 10 years before the media and planting requires replacing and replanting.

General comment about reed beds

The main consideration for reed beds is the land available to accommodate them and do need regular maintenance, i.e. the reeds need to be harvested regularly and the waste material needs to be disposed of carefully, as the reeds accumulate toxins.

Also, the local MEP planners should consider the risk of freezing of the reed beds in case of very low temperatures.

1.4.  Cess Pools

Cess pools are large sealed underground tanks where sewage is stored. The capacity of the cess pool below the inlet drain must be a minimum of 18,000 litres for 2 persons and must be increased by 6,800 litres for each additional user.

They need emptying on a regular basis, as they cannot be allowed to exceed their capacity. Generally, cess pools should be avoided, except where no other option is viable.

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