Septic Tank Options and Alternatives: Review by Seán Conlan

Septic Tank Options & Alternatives: Your guide to conventional, natural and eco-friendly methods & technologies by Feidlhim Hardy. Permanent publications, 2014

The publication of this book is indeed timely not just in Ireland, but perhaps in any region with geography and climate like the Irish one. Apart from those who are sensitive to their personal impact on the environment, the wider Irish population has become more sensitised to the issues relating to eco-friendly sewage treatment, due particularly to inspection regimes for septic tanks and also to the installation of water meters for the consumption of drinking water. This book is therefore intended to serve the many that are endeavouring to seek a solution to one of our most basic needs. The author has set an objective to guide the reader through the options available in a clear, logical manner. He has managed to do this and indeed more, for he has added a strong personal bias towards ‘natural and sustainable’ approaches, and a refreshing sense of humour to what could be a dreary subject. The book is a follow-on from the author’s previous publication (Get rid of your bin and save money).

A clear process-flow approach is used as the book’s structure– initial assessment, site characteristics and personal preferences, through to options and implementation. This approach manages to steer the reader through a vast range of options, some of which may be used in complementary fashion, with a strong emphasis of enabling the ‘owner’ to make decisions based on knowledge and personal values. A set of rich appendices adds to the process, so that the reader can both get a solid foundation on the topics covered and indeed go further if wished. These include a glossary, further references and resources, and excellent sketches of typical arrangements and options.

The overall objective of the book as an ‘unapproved’ pathway and guide is admirably achieved and offers unique insights for those who are struggling with sewage systems which are either poorly installed, or who are burdened with soils which are unsuitable for percolation.

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