Frequently Asked Questions
Can all the maintenace be done by the home owner?
We are happy to train you or a local electrician when we attend site to commission the plant. We have trained owners and local electricians before for some of the very remote plants we have installed, they are then able to attend to any issues that may arise.
What kind of support is available to anyone who installs a Bio-Bubble System and runs into problems with it?
For those areas with a GSM/mobile network available, even if a fairly week signal, we can remotely monitor and interrogate the system for support, if there is no GSM network but broadband is available at the property we can also connect to this. With these aids we can pretty much advise on any element remotely and guide the customer through.
As well as us monitoring remotely, all text messages and emails can go direct to you so you can monitor and control your own plant if you so wished.
How difficult is it to access the sludge? Must it be pumped? How often would I have to clear out the treated sludge?
Unlike other treatment plants, the sludge that is removed from our tanks is not primary sludge, it is Humus sludge. Having been treated, its Kg mass is low, however it is in suspension in the water and is removed by pump when the system is in settlement from the bottom of the tank. Example: if you had 6 people using the system 365 days a year on a 6 person plant then it would require annual removal, with less usage this would be proportional.
Our engineers are always happy to de-humus a plant during an annual service.
The removal of the humus sludge, what can we do with it? Can we compost it in with straw and then put in an orchard? Do you know of other customers who use the humus sludge?
There would be no need to compost the humus, it has no smell and it can be pumped and used straight from the plant, when dried it resembles snuff and providing the humus sludge is put on the orchard some three to four months before windfall apples fall on to the ground, which may be used for eating, any residual bugs that might be present would have died off so I would probably undertake the service after the crop is finished, then one would likely have a cold spell. We do know of people who use the humus on their allotments due to it being so rich in Phosphate and Nitrate.
Defra say that no sludges from human effluant should be used, and certainly supermarkets would not have anything to do with farm land where this took place. However, when it is your own sludge and used sensibly it can be a valuable bi-product. It is a matter of personal choice, and in some circumstances one cannot easily get a tanker to the remote treatment plants.
What's the energy requirement for both the 6 person and 6-8 person Bio-Bubble? Is it a constant draw of power or does it use more at peak times?
Although the plant will be sized according to the property we can set it to run on the number of occupants living permanantly at the property so the kWh/d could be much less. A standard 6 person plant with 6 people permanently resident will be around 2.8 kWh/d and for an 8 person it will be 2.9 kWh/d. Another thing to take into consideration is that there will be a 75% energy saving during low flow conditions with our patented 'sleep mode' function, so it depends on how much the plant treats in any given day.
One more point to consider is that for the power used, our plants treat the liquids AND the Solids/Sludge and gives you a much, much higher quality effluent than any other system.
Has the Bio-Bubble passed the standards tests for the EN 12566-3 2005?
With regards to the EN 12566 standard; although most systems can treat to EN 12566 standard (which isnt really that good - only requiring 20:30:20) most are only treating the liquids and the sludge will need tankering away at an extra cost. Our system treats solids and liquids and easily surpasses the standard at 10:15:1 regardless of the size of the plant. It is usually very easy for us to obtain the Consent when we install a plant, we apply for the bespoke consent to discharge through the Environment Agency.
What happens to the system with a power outage?
The PLC will start the plant up again. If the plant has been out for about a week, the plant will restart and turnaround should take a few days whilst it catches up on the solid matter that has not been treated, it would small a bit, which would only be noticed because normally there is no odour. During the storm of 1987 we had some plants without power for 3 weeks and more, a couple of these went septic and needed tankering and restarting.
Would a fat, oil and grease trap be recommended for treating kitchen water before the Bio-Bubble, or does it handle that well?
No problem for normal domestic kitchen use, a grease trap is not needed. As long as it is not bottles and bottles of oil being poured down the sink. Some restaurants have them put in but never domestic plants.
Is there a minimum amount of water required in order for the Bio-Bubble to work? If we later treat our grey water separately and have very low flush toilets, do we run into potential issues?
Not a problem at all if the grey water is treated separately, in effect; organically the waste would be far stronger but of course much less waste, this would not be a problem for the plant provided we are aware prior to commissioning. For the bulk of its life the reactor is nearly full, we discharge what we treat daily and refill, so lack of water would not be an issue, however, the Bio-Bubble would treat the grey water and some of our clients discharge to a storage tank so they have a supply of water ready for use in the garden. Some clients discharge to a pond or lake for the storage and draw water from there.