Are you compliant with the 2020 septic tank regulations?

The Law is changing, are you prepared?

If you have a septic tank that discharges directly to a surface water you will need to replace or upgrade your system by 1st January 2020.

After January 2020 anyone with a septic tank has new obligations under UK Law.

Discharging effluent from a septic tank into any type
of watercourse becomes illegal!

Enforcement will come from the Environment Agency and unlimited fines can be issued for non-compliance.

You must use a small sewage treatment plant to treat the sewage if you’re discharging to a watercourse such as a river or stream. A sewage treatment plant treats sewage to a higher standard than a septic tank.

Discharges from septic tanks directly to watercourses are not allowed under the general binding rules.

If your septic tank discharges directly to a watercourse, you will need to do one of the following: replace your septic tank with a small sewage treatment plant, connect to mains sewer or install a drainage field (also known as an infiltration system) so the septic tank can discharge to ground instead. You must have plans in place to carry out this work within a reasonable timescale, typically 12 months.

If you are buying or selling a property with a septic tank that discharges directly to a watercourse, you should agree with the buyer or seller who will be responsible for the replacement or upgrade of the existing treatment system. You should agree this as a condition of sale.

Your treatment system must meet the British Standard that was in force at the time of installation. The standards currently for new systems are:

  • BS EN 12566 for small sewage treatment plants
  • BS 6297:2007 for drainage fields

A drainage field, also known as an infiltration system, is a series of pipes with holes placed in trenches and arranged so that the effluent can trickle through the ground for further treatment. You cannot use a soakaway (designed for draining rainwater), well or borehole for discharging effluent to ground. Instead you must either upgrade to a drainage field.

Please visit https://www.gov.uk/guidance/general-binding-rules-small-sewage-discharge-to-a-surface-water  for more information.

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