Municipal wastewater treatment and drainage or the emptying of a septic tank by a sewage truck are not the only options for managing the wastewater treatment of a property. A considerably smaller carbon footprint can be achieved by building a treatment plant on the site with an operating life of up to a hundred years.
Jari Mäkynen acquired the RAITA BioKem plant in 2010.
– We have a house on a hillside and a clean water well of our own. That’s why we wanted the treatment plant on the opposite side of the hillside, as far away from the well as possible. The treatment plant was installed 1.5 meters below ground level. We wanted one with as few moving parts as possible and no pumping station in between, says Mäkynen.
– In 2010, Raita’s sewage treatment plant was the only one marketed with the promise of not having to order a sewage truck to come and empty it. We took a larger system that collects the excess sludge in a tank. Very little extra sludge has accumulated in the past ten years, and I have always taken it to the same place in the field to improve the structure of the clay soil. When I checked out the different options in 2010, one had a basket that seemed impractical to empty. Raita promised that the treatment plant works by itself, and one does not need to monitor it except for the monthly standard check. It’s true, the system has worked perfectly. Only wearing parts have been replaced. Raita systems sound almost too good to be true. But at least so far they have worked really well, without any problems. It is, in fact, the human being himself who is the weakest link, an engineer from Ostrobothnia is not famous for reading manuals, laughs Mäkynen.
Mäkynen’s parents live in the farm’s main building on the other side of the forest grove. In 2021, they had a RAITA BioKem treatment plant with sludge drying and composting installed. Thanks to the composting, no separate sludge emptying is needed.
– Last summer we noted that the septic tank built in the 1970s had seen its best days. I emailed Raita and asked how much it would cost and when it would be ready. We chose Raita this time as well, because we have such positive experiences with our own treatment plant. We had a bit of a problem getting the compost bin started: it filled too quickly as I used the wrong kind of dry material, Mäkynen explains.
Service agreement provide security
Mäkynen signed an annual service agreement for the treatment plant right from the start.
– I could manage the maintenance myself, but I don’t want to. The service man has all the necessary spare parts, he knows what is needed. And when the required chemical arrives at the same time, the shipping cost is saved. The service agreement costs the same as it would cost to empty a septic tank. I am happy to pay for that, says Mäkynen.
Raita is a Finnish environmental technology company that has developed efficient, small and easy-to-use modules for wastewater treatment plants that can be customized based on the user’s needs. The lifetime of a treatment plants is estimated to be 50–100 years.