Sewage Systems


Let's Talk Toilets

One of the biggest sources of pollution to our lakes, surprisingly, is poorly maintained sewage systems.

It may not be glamorous, but if we don’t look after our septic tanks, cesspits and package sewage treatment plants, they’ll start to fail. This means they’ll smell, spread disease to humans and animals, and pollute our local rivers and seas. And nobody wants that. 

Whether you live here, work here or are just visiting this beautiful place, please do the right thing when you need to answer the call of nature. 

Top tips for maintaining your sewage treatment system 


  • Check all parts of your system regularly and keep any lids and air vents clear and secure.   
  • Use ‘environmentally friendly’ and ‘low phosphate’ products. Or try using natural cleaning products such as bicarbonate of soda, vinegar and lemon juice.   
  • Use a sink strainer so stray bits of food don’t end up going down the drain.   
  • Space out laundry and dishwasher loads to prevent too much water entering your system at once. 
  • Maintain your system regularly, getting any faults or problems fixed immediately.
  • Have your system emptied by a registered waste carrier regularly (at least once a year unless the manufacturer says otherwise). See below for information about group emptying schemes..


  • Flush anything down the toilet that doesn’t belong there –it’s a sure-fire way to break any system. 
  • Pour grease or cooking oil down any drain. 
  • Pour paint, solvents or chemicals down any drain. 


Group Emptying Schemes

In some parts of Cumbria, groups of neighbours get together and co-ordinate the emptying of their septic tanks, and negotiate a reduction in costs from the licensed waste carrier for each of the householders involved. Usually four or five tanks can be emptied in one visit, resulting in savings between £20 and £50 per household. So, talk to your neighbours or get in touch with the Lake District Foundation to see if there is a group in your area. We can also help set one up.

For more information about maintaining your sewage system visit:


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