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Green Building Bible, Fourth Edition
Green Building Bible, fourth edition (both books)
These two books are the perfect starting place to help you get to grips with one of the most vitally important aspects of our society - our homes and living environment.

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    • CommentAuthorRex
    • CommentTimeMay 13th 2018
    Following my question Circuit Tripping (http://www.greenbuildingforum.co.uk/newforum/comments.php?DiscussionID=15724&page=1#Item_0) I have removed the pump. Don't know if I have found the problem or solution (yet) but the pump is covered in sludge.

    More than I have seen in a long time. Given that the bottom of the tank will have a depth of sludge, and the tank is 6000 liters, in the ground, apart from obviously draining it, what is the best way to clean the sludge?

    Ideally, I would like to get inside but given the pipework, that is not really possible. What next?

    • CommentAuthorRex
    • CommentTimeMay 13th 2018
    I should have added that I have Googled and there are lots of ideas from Australia where the average tank is above ground.
    • CommentTimeMay 13th 2018
    Posted By: Rexwhat is the best way to clean the sludge?

    Wet or dry vacuum cleaner might get most of it out? Leaving it to dry out for a while might make it easier to get out or might turn it into rock; dunno! I'd be tempted to flush the tank with a bleach solution.

    If the pipework is making access difficult, is it possible to dismantle parts and remove it? If not, maybe it's worth replumbing so it is possible?
    A pump buried in sludge in itself should not trip the RCD. If the pump is trying to pump the sludge and can't then it will draw more current and eventually burn out. If however water/damp has got into the pump then this will trip the RCD but IMO will have nothing to do with the sludge.

    How to get rid of the sludge? Do you have any idea of the approximate volume of sludge? Get in there with a bucket and bail it out or get a pump that can cope with the soup and pump it out. You might have to dilute it a bit depending upon how thick it is for a pump to manage. If you decide to get in and bail it make sure you have a lit candle with you near the water level (lowered in first) and if the candle goes out (= gas present) then leave the tank.

    Do you have any farms (cattle) near you? Cattle farms often have slurry pits which farmers have to empty so they may be able to help, also if there are any properties in the area still on cess pits then there will be a service to empty these and I would expect the same cess pit emptying lorry to be able to remove the sludge. (Cess pits are emptied by suction not pumping)

    An alternative, depending upon how much of the tank volume you use, would be to raise the level of the pump and sort the sludge problem later (some years later?)
    • CommentAuthorRex
    • CommentTimeMay 13th 2018

    Thanks. Don't know what the pump issue was, but having removed the rear cover, there was a bit of water inside. However, two years ago, the capacitor burnt out and when I removed the cover, there was also water. It is only a bit and I think it is condensation rather than a leak. If a leak, the entire chamber would be full of water.

    The inlet filter was somewhat blocked with sludge, so that may have been contributing to the problem. And the pump had a nice sludgy cover all over it, which I have not seen before. I guess after 7 years of water washing the roof, it is to be expected. The inlet filter is around 30cms above the base when the pump is on the bottom so not exactly sitting in the sludge.

    When we have used most of the rain water, I will see if I can remove the piping which would allow access with a ladder.

    Don't actually feel there is a major problem, just a bit of maintenance required. Pumping would certainly be better than bailing and wiping.
    • CommentAuthorCerisy
    • CommentTimeMay 14th 2018
    We have our septic tank pumped out every five years to get rid of the sludge. More dramatic but similar issue. There are companies around with the equipment and they will flush it out as part of the process.
    • CommentAuthorRex
    • CommentTimeMay 14th 2018
    I'll Google for someone around Surrey and check it out. Seems like the easiest way to go.

    • CommentAuthortony
    • CommentTimeMay 14th 2018
    My guy wanted £240 to do that, I hired a sludge pump, recirculated it with tank full then pumped the whole thing dry, added 120l of clean rainwater and repeated, not fully clean but good enough, took a while to fill again with rain.
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