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Sinking Driveway

Discussion in 'Building' started by diynoob, 17 May 2021.

  1. diynoob

    diynoob

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    My driveway is sinking, it's worse than it looks on the photo. The hatch in the photo provides access to my sewage system. I don't think there's a modern septic tank under there because the property was built in 1880. I think it's just a hole in the ground. Also the situation is complicated by the fact the the driveway is owned by one neighbour but the sewage system below is owned by another neighbour. Whilst I don't own any of it, the consequences are on me because if the drive caves in I won't be able to access my house, whereas the neighbours have other entrances they can use.

    IMG_0859.jpeg

    Not sure where to start. Call a builder? A septic tank company? A driveway company? The neighbour who owns the sewage system is reluctant to do anything because it's not compliant with current regs so doesn't want to stir up trouble because they are totally skint!
     
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  3. blup

    blup

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    A driveway company will probably diagnose the need for a new driveway and not address the underlying problem.

    So a sewage/water engineer with a cctv service.

    Check your title deeds so you are clear as to the true ownership and what rights and obligations you and your neighbours have, including as to maintenance and repair.

    Could it be a leaking water main or damaged drain that has weakened or washed away the ground?

    Blup
     
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  4. HERTS P&D

    HERTS P&D

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    Can you lift up the manhole cover and post a picture.

    Andy
     
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  5. diynoob

    diynoob

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    The deeds say (I think) that I have to pay half and the neighbour has to pay half of repairs to the driveway and the septic tank. The neighbour is skint though and not affected by problems with the drive. I would be housebound without the driveway because there's no public transport here and I need to drive to the doctors regularly for my wife's meds.

    deed1.PNG deed2.PNG
     
  6. diynoob

    diynoob

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    One of the neighbours has been complaining about the smell from the drain cover and thinks the septic tank needs emptying. I lifted the drain cover, it does indeed stink down there. It looks full and there are floaters in there. Do they always look full though? Like a bath, the water will stay at the level of the overflow won't it?


    IMG_0861.jpeg IMG_0863.jpeg
     
  7. HERTS P&D

    HERTS P&D

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    Put the cover back on and wait for Hugh.

    Andy
     
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  8. diynoob

    diynoob

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    OK I've put the cover back on and emailed a septic tank company for a quote. The neighbour I share with doesn't want it emptying though, I think they are worried that the company will grass us up and we'll be forced to upgrade to a sewage treatment plant which costs thousands. The rules, even for existing systems say:

    Use the correct treatment system (rule 6)
    You must use a small sewage treatment plant to treat the sewage if you’re discharging to a watercourse such as a river or stream. A sewage treatment plant, also known as a package treatment plant, treats sewage to a higher standard than a septic tank.

    If your septic tank discharges directly to a watercourse, as soon as possible you must either:
    • connect to a public foul sewer
    • replace your septic tank with a small sewage treatment plant
    • install a drainage field (also known as an infiltration system) – a series of pipes with holes placed in trenches and arranged so that the waste water can trickle through the ground for further treatment – and check if you meet the general binding rules for discharges to ground
    You must have plans in place to do this work within a reasonable timescale, typically 12 months.
     
  9. blup

    blup

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    Your neighbour must pay the appropriate contribution, maybe it can go on their mortgage, including, if necessary, more fundamental works to bring the system up to current standards.

    Blup
     
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  11. diynoob

    diynoob

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    Got a price back from the septic tank company, waiting for a reply from the neighbours before I can give them the go ahead. I'll just pay for it if needs be. However the neighbour might not want anyone to come out due to the rule changes above in 2020. Are the septic tank company legally obliged to inform the authorities that my setup is no longer compliant? Or will the just empty it?
     
  12. scbk

    scbk

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    So do you share a septic tank with the neighbours?
    Normally with a septic tank it is only full (and needing emptied) when it is full of solids, you poke it with a long stick and it feels like very thick porridge all the way top to bottom. Thick enough for the stick to stand upright. All the liquid goes into the soakaway.


    'Cess pits' are different, and I don't know much about them.


    Underneath a driveway seems like a poor place to have a tank, I would be worried about it caving in with a heavy vehicle :censored:
     
  13. blup

    blup

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    I doubt it, it's a job for them, why would they. The new rules are there to protect sewage discharging into the environment and finding its way to watercourses where it will cause unacceptable or even illegal pollution, so you and your neighbour bear responsibility ultimately..

    Blup
     
  14. phatboy

    phatboy

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    You are fine for getting it empty, ' as soon as possible' is when you can both afford it, and if they cannot afford it, that's a reason to delay.
     
  15. diynoob

    diynoob

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    The septic tank company are coming today to empty it so I'll see what they say about the sinking driveway.
     
  16. diynoob

    diynoob

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    They emptied it and said that the septic tank is not below the sunken part of the driveway so panic over I guess.
     
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