Managing your Septic Tank in cold weather

Over the festive period and through-out the winter months it is easy to forget that your sewage treatment system is working harder than usual. The system works on the principle of live healthy bacteria breaking down raw sewage leaving a sludge that needs to be emptied from the tank every 3 to 5 years and an effluent which is discharged to your percolation area.

The system starts to fail when increased amounts of detergents (bleaches, anti-bacterial sprays, dishwasher tablets etc) are discharged into the system, killing the bacteria you rely on. The first indication of an unhealthy system is smell. If you find your system smelling then cutting back on detergents or using non-biological substitutes will be the answer especially when you have guests staying.

The system may need to be topped up with healthy live bacteria – often purchased online – and poured down the toilet NOT thrown into your tank.

Avoid Exposed pipework

If you have exposed pipework from unfinished groundworks, the systems fault alarms can be triggered due to frozen pipework. This is very costly as the pump is running to try to empty your tank but can’t pump the water to the percolation area. The pump will eventually fail leading to an unnecessary expense. Avoid this by lagging or bury any exposed pipework.

All domestic BAF systems should be serviced once per year. Commercial systems should be serviced either quarterly or every six months depending on their size and we offer a range of service contract options to suit individual requirements and budget.

Filters on components should be changed every year and effluent should be monitored so that corrective action can be taken quickly, avoiding breaches of local discharge regulations and possible fines.

3 steps you can take

If you do have an emergency – there are some simple steps that can be taken to reduce the bill:

  1. Note the level of wastewater in your tank by lifting one of the lids in your garden. If it is above the inlet of tank, organise for the tank to be emptied as quickly as possible. Depending on how many use the system you may have 2 or 3 days grace before you flood the internal components.
  2. If it is an electrical fault ie electrical circuit breakers have tripped. Check that the system is on it’s own circuit, if it is not then another appliance like a washing machine, outside lights or electric gates may be the problem.
  3. Check the system fault panel regularly – as soon as you get a warning alarm call our office during normal hours on 046 9431389 . Do not wait to see if it goes away. We will be able to give you advice over the phone and if needed, schedule a timely service call to prevent further damage to the system and cost to yourself.

Minimise the risk of cold weather problems

Finally, less than 1% of our customers will have an issue with an O’Reilly Oakstown BAF Waste Treatment system over the holiday period. Which is why planning ahead and investing in a reliable sewage treatment system is an excellent investment.

We would all like to thank you for choosing O’Reilly Oakstown and we wish you all the very best for 2023.

If you have any queries please contact our office on 046 9431389 or email to have a chat with one of our team.

Prevent Oil Theft

Oil tank theft has risen approximately 153% since 2011, with more than 1,200 thefts in heating oil nationwide. As the black market for oil increases, the rewards for offenders do also. The incidents have not been confined to residential oil tanks, with schools, businesses, play groups and churches also being targeted. According to the Irish Times even an army barracks has been targeted with a tanker containing 20,000 litres of seized fuel being stolen from Aiken Military Barracks in Co. Louth in May 2013.

OFTEC represents the domestic oil heating and cooking industry in Ireland and David Blevings, OFTEC Ireland Manager said “ Houses, farms, business premises, transport depots and holiday homes can all be affected- especially within rural areas or on quiet residential streets. Usually it’s only when people run out of oil and their heating stops working that theft becomes apparent. However, taking a few simple precautions such as making a regular note of your oil levels will help to ensure you are not the victim of oil theft”.


Police and insurers advise customers to prevent oil theft in the following ways:

  • check oil levels frequently
  • try to arrange smaller but more frequent oil deliveries;
  • install automatic movement sensor security lighting around the tank
  • plant shrubs or erect fencing to screen tanks from view from the road
  • install and use lockable access gates, and erect lockable fencing around your tank, including over the top
  • consider fitting an alarm system which warns if the oil level drops suddenly
  • be vigilant following a delivery
  • be aware thieves may return to steal replacement oil following an initial theft
  • note suspicious vehicles’ registration numbers and report them to police.


Prevent Oil Theft with O’Reilly Oakstown Diesel Defence System

Protect your fuel tanks from theft, damage and the risk of ground contamination caused by fuel theft. If your oil tanks are at risk we can install secure concrete enclosures to stop opportunistic thieves. All our units come with lockable filling points on top and lockable fuelling points on front if required.

Diesel Defence Tanks can also be used to build fuel tanks where necessary. Read more here

If you would like to know more Contact Us Here Today


Inspection of Septic Tanks

THE EPA has drawn up a seven-page checklist for inspection of septic tanks and treatment systems by trained local authority staff. It spells out what an inspector will look for during inspections and the information entered will determine whether or not the septic tank is deemed compliant with standards or is in breach.

The checklist is in three sections.

Section one identifies the property and whether or not the septic tank is registered with the local authority.
Section two looks at site characteristics and the design of the septic tank.
Section three is the biggest and most important section and focuses on whether the septic tank is operating to standard; specifically, is it complying with the Water Services Acts and Domestic Waste Water Treatment Systems Regulations 2012? It asks if there are:

  • Unintended leaks from the system including from the tank, inlet and outlet pipes, distribution box or manholes.
  • Unlicensed or untreated discharge of effluent or greywater to surface waters or ground waters, including via sub-surface conduit, i.e., an underground pipe.
  • Discharge causing wet areas or ponding.
  • Clean water from roofs, etc, entering the septic tank.
  • Lack of maintenance as indicated by odour or noise.
  • Components not operating properly, including tank, pipes, distribution box, manholes and covers.
  • Components of secondary systems, where present, not operating properly, including pumps, float switches and alarms.
  • On desludging (emptying), it asks is there evidence that the tank or unit has not been desludged, if it needs desludging and who has carried out desludging? If desludging was carried out by a third party, it asks for name and contact details, for a receipt and whether or not the contractor was authorised.
  • Where the tank was emptied by the owner, i.e. the farmer, it asks if there is evidence the sludge was not used for agriculture and spread in a way that contravenes regulations.
  • Finally, the checklist asks if there is evidence that the system constitutes a risk to human health or to the environment.

Article written by Paul Mooney,
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Do I need to Replace my Septic Tank?

The good news is you may not need to! Some tanks will perform to the required standard with some adjustments. If you are unsure about whether you need to replace your tank or not, then call us today on Lo-Call 1850 200 702 and we will assist you.

We offer a free site visit and assessment and will provide you with the best advice, taking into account your needs and budget. Whether you need some minor adjustments, or an updated system, we can provide the best solution for you.

We operate through Ireland, both north and south. All our systems come with a warranty and the reliability and customer care we offer all our customers.

Rest assured if it’s an O’Reilly Oakstown Tank you know you have the best.

Contact us here and we will get back to you asap