Imagine you’ve bought a property knowing that there was no main drainage connection to the existing sewer system, and you were now the ‘proud’ owner of your own pumping system, in charge of removal of your grey water and effluent waste.
Assuming, like most of the general public, you’ve not had the ‘pleasure’ of dealing with an asset like this before, what exactly are your liabilities regarding servicing and maintaining the equipment to keep it in good working order. More importantly, are there any specific requirements that need to be complied with and upheld?
Firstly, dependent upon where the pumping station is located is of prime importance, particularly if things should go wrong.
Most people may experience some issues with toilets and waste becoming blocked or ‘backing up’ but if the pumping station chamber itself were to overflow then some costly and pretty unpleasant cleanup operations maybe required. In addition to this, if your pumping station asset is located near an adjoining property or more onerously, a water course, then other specific environmental concerns and issues may come into play in the event of a breakdown of the equipment.
Apart from the obvious benefits of having all the mechanical equipment such as the pumps, valves and chamber itself, regularly inspected and serviced by a reputable company or ideally the original equipment manufacturer, to protect against failure, what about the electrical requirements for the asset?
What is BS761:2018?
BS761:2018 is the British Standard covering the Requirements for Electrical Installations, more often referred to as the 18th Edition Wiring Regulations.
It applies to the design, erection and verification of electrical installations, also additions and alterations to any existing installations.
It covers residential, commercial, public and industrial premises, plus a whole host of other ‘special locations’ such as mobile low voltage generating sets, swimming pools, caravan parks, marinas and similar locations, medical locations, amusement parks etc.
The document, also covers specifically the requirements for testing before any equipment is put into service, ‘Initial Verification’, and ‘Periodic Inspection and Testing’
Chapter 135 of the 18th Edition Wiring Regulations, states it is recommended that every electrical installation is subjected to periodic inspection and testing, and more detail is given in Chapter 65, which confirms that periodic inspection and testing of every electrical installation shall be carried out in order to determine whether the installation is in a satisfactory condition for continued service and use.
The frequency of periodic inspection and testing, being determined by the type of installation and equipment, its frequency of use, and the quality of any maintenance carried out.
Only if the asset is under an effective management system for preventative maintenance in normal use, can periodic inspection and testing be replaced by a regime of continuous monitoring and maintenance by one or more skilled persons competent in such work with all appropriate records being kept.
So, having been informed of the requirements as set out in the British Standard BS7671 as above, and given that most people are not skilled or equipped to carry out a continuous monitoring regime as above, where do you go from here?
By enlisting the original equipment manufacturer or the installer of the equipment, they can carry out a periodic inspection and testing of the pumping station and record all results on a ‘Electrical Installation Condition Report’.
This a specific document found in the Wiring Regulations, detailing a thorough and comprehensive assessment, to ensure the installation is both fit for purpose, and more importantly, safe for continued use.
The inspection will also highlight any items which require remedial works or attention due to degradation, and any items which may not now conform to the latest version of the wiring regulations which may not necessarily require any action but need to be noted as ‘departures’ or non conformances to the latest version of the standards.
Once completed by the skilled competent engineer, you will have a record copy to retain for your records and can then set about conducting any repairs if required, which once completed and verified, will again be noted on the inspection report.
All of this gives peace of mind, increases the life expectancy of the equipment and gives a trouble-free pumping station asset, with confidence and assurance that all hand over documentation is in place should you ever need it.