New Regulations For Septic Tanks
These Regulations came into force on the
1st January 2015. They ban the direct discharge to watercourses from
a septic tank. They also limit the amount of water that can be discharged; so for a discharge to ground the limit is 2000 litres per day. If you have a treatment plant it can discharge up to 5000 litres per day to a watercourse.If you need to discharge more than these numbers then you will need to apply for a permit from the Environment Agency.
The Regulations include a set of General Binding Rules that apply to these small sewage discharges. There are 14 of these rules that apply to existing systems and a further 7 that apply to new systems installed after 1st January 2015. These Rules are legally binding requirements. You can see them by searching binding rules on gov.uk.
So, what do they mean? Well, if you have a septic tank that directly discharges to a watercourse (stream, ditch, river etc) then you need to plan to upgrade the tank to a treatment plant. This is to be done by Jan 1st 2020 or if you sell the property (whichever is the earlier.)
If you have a very large house or there are several houses using the same septic tank and it is discharging to ground then you need to consider whether to apply for a permit to discharge.
If you have a property built before 1983 with a septic tank that discharges to ground then it is very likely that you will need to do nothing more than keep a record of the maintenance of the unit. If the house was built after 1983 then the septic tank needs to comply with the standards that were in place at the time it was built.
It's all a bit confusing and to be honest, the regulations could have been better drafted so if you want some honest advice about whether your tank meets the regulations then call us on 01900870140 and we'll be pleased to help.