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The glamping waste sanitation evolution

We, at Glampsan, recently exhibited our range of waste sanitation solutions at the Farming Business Innovation Show at the NEC in Birmingham and it was clear that a top issue for glamping businesses is what to do with effluent waste from toilets and washing facilities etc. We also predict that 2020 will be a big growth year for glamping.

Therefore, this blog discusses the top solutions options of dealing with sewage treatment for glamping sites. We will briefly review each of these. However, at the show many of our customers were very curious and asked a lot of questions about Packaged Sewage Treatment Plants and so, by popular demand, at the end of this blog we focus on this product solution.

Basic principles of Sewage Treatment

But, let's start with some basic principles of sewage treatment and various pros and cons of each...

Building Regulations require effluent to drain to a public sewer. Alternatively, where this is not practicable, waste needs to be dealt with by either:

  • Composting Toilets
  • Chemi-Loos
  • Collection Tanks
  • A Septic Tank
  • A Packaged Sewage Treatment Plant
Various sewage treatment options (and supplied by Glampsan)

These all come with advantages and disadvantages. So to help you understand the most suitable option to meet your requirements, you may find  the following information helpful:

Composting Toilets

A compost toilet is a part of a whole waterless and eco-friendly system. The toilet is essentially the collection unit for the raw ingredients that will be completely broken down in time and made safe by the whole composting process. The other essential part being a compost unit. Keeping the collection and composting separate means that the compost toilet is an eco-friendly simple solution - and for many of our customers eco-friendly and simple is good!

Want more details? Then head over to our Composting Toilet products and check them out.


A chemi-loo is a plastic flushable toilet that is often enclosed in a plastic constructed WC. You often seen these on construction sites and events - they are a standard hire item or can be purchased and owned outright. In terms of how they work, a small quantity of water is mixed with a fragrant and anti bacteria chemical (typically called Elsan Blu). This mixture is then recirculated for a period of time before it then needs servicing (ie regular refilling with water and emptying of waste) by a removal tanker contractor who disposes of the waste into a municipal main sewer. Service charges will apply.

Chemi-loos can be a popular choice for start up glamping sites where there is no mains water, sewage connection, or electricity.

Collection tanks

Collection tanks are commonly known as a cesspool. It is merely a holding tank in which effluent waste collects. Sewage flows in and is stored. These tanks are either buried or above ground. When the tank is full, the waste is tankered away by a waste service contractor incurring an emptying charge.

Want more details? Then head over to our Flat Tank and other tanks products and check them out.

Collection tanks are ideal for sites where the ground is unsuitable for the waste to soakaway to the ground - i.e. Sensitive sites, e.g.SSSI's and sites close to drinking water supplies or watercourses. Their advantage is that they are a low cost and low maintenance option. They also allow the use of a flushing toilet and for glamping businesses this can be an advantage as everyone is familiar with this.

At Glampsan, we supply different types of these. Our above-ground low profile plastic Flat Tank range is popular with customers because they are low cost, they require minimum planning and ideal for start-up glamping businesses.For example, they can neatly fit under a shepherd hut or glamping pod.

Septic Tanks

Many rural houses, small developments and some glamping businesses use septic tanks.

A septic tank is a multi-chambered (primary and secondary) tank that uses gravity to separate solid from liquid effluent without treating the sewage. It works by solid matter, called 'sludge', sinking to the bottom of the primary tank. In time some sludge does naturally degrade. Grease and oil, called 'scum' float to the top of the primary tank. Liquid waste separates into the secondary tank. This untreated sewage then flows under gravity to a land soakaway. In the past, this untreated waste was allowed to discharge into a soakaway or to a natural watercourse. However, from January 2020, new regulations (*****) require liquid waste from septic tanks to discharge to an underground 'herringbone' network of pipes that soakaway the waste into the ground. While a septic tank is a simple and relatively low-cost installation, not all ground conditions make it viable to allow for a natural soakaway discharge to ground.

Like collection tanks, septic tanks also require emptying, albeit typically every 12 months or so, to remove sludge and scum that eventually fills the primary tank.

At Glampsan, we think that Packaged sewage treatment plants will eventually replace or bolt-on to many existing septic tanks. We think that the market trends will move on from septic tanks.

Packaged Sewage Treatment Plants

This is one of our latest products - a Packaged Sewage Treatment Plant.

The above is a MONOBLOCK packaged Sewage Treatment Plant that we will be offering our customers in the new year. It is so new that we are still writing the product sheets on our website (watch this space). However, we are so excited about adding this new product to our range that we couldn't wait to show it to you in advance. In fact we are already dealing with enquiries about his right now! We think our customers will love these new products.

What is it?

A packaged sewage treatment plant is a compact all-in-one solution.They are the ‘ultimate’ sewage treatment solution and we think our customers will be heading this way. It’s a more sophisticated unit than a septic tank.While there are different types of package sewage treatment plant, they all generally follow the same principles.

How do they work?

Package sewage treatment plants create an environment which facilitates the growth of bacteria which break down sewage into non- polluting end products. Like septic tanks, packaged sewage treatment plants have the same primary treatment process that separates sludge, scum and liquid. But the secondary treatment is very different. Sewage treatment plants are designed to transfer oxygen through the sewage, enabling aerobic bacteria to break down sewage the effluent matter. Sewage treatment plants have the advantage of being far more effective than the natural bacteria breakdown occurring in a septic tank. So much so that the quality of the treated liquid is so good, it can discharge directly to a watercourse*.

What are the advantages and disadvantages?

Packaged sewage treatment plants are ideal where septic tank effluent discharge to the ground is a problem or where it fails to meet current watercourse discharge regulations. Installation of a package sewage treatment plant has cost implications too (but they are not prohibitively expensive relatively speaking). Sewage Treatment plants ideally suite larger glamping businesses or developments. Some package sewage treatment plants require an electrical supply to drive the oxygenating process. However, others do not.

They do require some (but not extensive) maintenance and also need emptying every 12-18 months by the local tanker service contractor.

(*Subject to Environment Agency or SEPA consent to discharge to land or watercourse licence).

Here is a great slide share that summarises all the above for you...

Ultimately, different solutions will fit different needs as there is no one solution that fits all circumstances. So we encourage you to get in touch with us and please chat through your glamping business pain points and issues with you. We will be happy to help advise you.

Social Media

One of our passions is that we love using social media like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram in quirky, fun and useful ways to inform you. For example we have an awesome blog site aimed specifically as glamping businesses to help to inform you of waste sanitation solutions. So, head over to our blog website We do regular videos too to help get useful messages across to our customers, and we'd love you to tell us, in the comments, what you think too people.

Sincerely, JT

0800 999 6010‍ (Part of Plastic Solutions based in Aldridge)

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