Septic Tank Legislation Changes

Uk LegislationSeptic tanks legislation changes that became enforceable form 01st January 2020 affects properties not connected to mains sewage. If the discharge from a septic tank causes pollution it may be considered an offence and can result in the Environment Agency taking enforcement action.

The regulations are designed to reduce the level of pollution from sewage in the nations watercourses. The government has put in place legislation to stop septic tanks discharging directly into watercourses. A watercourse can be a river, ditch, brook, beck or stream.

General Binding Rules

Under the General Binding Rules, anyone with a septic tank discharging into a watercourse has one of three options:

  1. replace with Package Sewage Treatment Plant – this will require building regulations approval and sometimes planning permission
  2. install a drainage field which allows waste water to be safely dispersed into the ground – you must ensure the system conforms to the British Standard : BS 6297:2007 and the General Binding Rules for Discharging to Ground
  3. if feasible connect to the mains sewer – check with your local water company (United Utilities, Yorkshire Water, Severn Trent Water, Map of Water companies in England and Wales)

Selling or Buying a property 

It is the operator or owners responsibility of a sewage treatment system to ensure it complies with the General Binding Rules. Being non-compliant could put off potential buyers and may subject the operator or owner to enforcement by the Environment Agency.

If a property has a non-compliant sewage treatment system, then it is the sellers responsibility to replace or upgrade the system before the sale is complete. The seller should provide information on how the system works, who empties the sludge and how frequently.

Permit to discharge

Usually for a domestic property that conforms to the General Binding Rules a permit is not necessary. If for some reason the General Binding Rules can’t be met then a permit to discharge will need to be applied for.

How we can help

We can provide a site inspection and independent report that describes the wastewater treatment system and whether it meets the regulations. If the General Binding Rules are not met then we can provide the viable options and costings. If this something you would like to discuss or arrange then please contact us on  01772 846193 / 07968 143756 or fill in the contact form